The end of the bones

Bone Detectives

for British Science Week

12th – 20th March 2016

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There were bones, and teeth, there were skulls and even the fragmented paw of a cave lion. And there was time to look, to handle , turn over, touch, test a fingertip against a crocodile’s tooth.

the buffalo skull was very popular

the buffalo skull was very popular

Time to talk, wonder, ask and ask again and say, “No!” and “What’s a hyrax?” and

“This is a porpoise?”

“Where is the elephant’s trunk?”

“Can I pick this up? Oh. Can I pick that up? Good”

 

There were beautiful replica skulls for the slightly squeamish and gloves for the bolder – or for anyone who just wanted to look sort-of-scientific like they were on some police procedural drama

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For British Science Week, in a collaboration between Stone and Water, Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project and Creeping Toad, we ran a series of “Bone Detectives” workshops. These set out to introduce people to some basic skull features to look for and understand the clues they can give us about the original animal. The thought was that this would encourage people to look – to really open their eyes when they are out or maybe even to set off and do the hopeful walk they wouldn’t have done before

 

Skulls, skeletons or bits often turn up on walks over the moors of the Peak District, or perhaps are found by someone strolling in a casually acquisitive manner along a beach. We were looking for the questions (and their answers) that would set some inspired investigation in motion. We concentrated mostly on British mammal skulls – given time and the scope of vertebrate anatomy we had to draw some lines somewhere. But there were extension opportunities and as confidence grew, participants could move onto British bird skulls, a few exotic extras – a crocodile, assorted horns, replica hyrax, lynx and wallaby and a wide selection of shells including a spread of annoying cone shells (this one? That one? No, the other one? Why would you call something a geographical cone, for goodness sake”. There was even a d-i-y snake spine

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The workshops were a delight: from keenly questioning WATCH members to the surprise of casual visitors, workshops invite participation and challenged preconceptions. “But it’s so small! “ (same comment applied to rabbit, rat and squirrel skulls). People brought their own puzzles with them: beautfully delicate mouse and hedgehog skulls, a mysterious jaw bone (probably sheep), the museum added some mind-boggling teeth: woolly rhino and hyena.

 

The very bold in the museum went off to find the cave bear skull

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We were pleased: these were sessions that maybe didn’t get quite the quiet, dedicated concentration we had imagined but they were sessions that got people handling material, talking, asking questions, feeling more confident.

 

Sources:

Just to be clear, the skulls and shells we sued were all found materials or were already in established collections. Nothing was killed for the sake of this project

 

Reproduction skulls came from a wonderful online shop: CrimsonRichDesire

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Bone detectives!

BONE DETECTIVES

Discovering the secrets of the skulls

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We are very excited to announce some delightfully bony workshops happening in March. As part of British Science Week, we are working with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Creeping Toad to offer a series of events and workshops exploring skulls. Stone and Water was awarded a BSW grant to support these workshops.

BSW2016RGBMID_BBLUEHere are the clues that will help you identify the mysterious skull you found on the beach or the bones on the moor, or perhaps here is simply the skills to exercise a fascination with ancient remains, old bones and hidden histories. We will guide visitors through the wonders of animal teeth, and horn cores, the marvels of eye sockets and tympanic bullae. We’ll even introduce you to scroll bones and senses of smells

“There are so many bones in so many animals,” said Gordon from Creeping Toad, “that we had to focus on something. So we are starting with skulls, especially mammal skulls. We’d like to invite people to look more closely at the skulls of Peak District mammals ( I suspect some birds might sneak in as well, and possibly a selection of sea shells…) and understanding the signs to look for and the questions to ask that will help you find out what the animal is and something about its life”

For the Museum, this is part of the Collections in the Landscape project, aiming to both remind people about the museum and its collections but also to get people out there in the Peaks, looking, thinking and wondering about the history of the places we visit. There will be skulls to handle (we’ll supply gloves if you’d rather) and quality replicas if you really don’t want to touch the actual bone (it will all be clean!), other bones to look at, some shells for a bit of the exotic. We’ll hold and think, question, count and scribble. There will be useful guide sheets to take away and drawings to do to build up your own forensic notes. And we’ll do a mystery quiz at the end….

 

Events

Public event: Saturday  12th March 2016, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery : free public sessions: no booking needed just drop by and join in but give yourself 45 minutes for a good skeletal experience. Sessions 10 – 12 and 1 – 3

Youth group: we have one free workshop on offer for a group of young people in or around Buxton in the week of 12 – 20th March. Activity best suited for 8 – 12 year olds

A workshop introducing young people to exciting natural history forensics. If you are interested, please contact us at stoneandwater@btinternet.com

Venue and time: to suit you

Older group workshop: we will also be running a workshop with a limited number of places during the week. Date and time to follow. This will be a more formal session than the Saturday events, aimed at  young people and adults. Details to follow

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Peak District creatures? or not?

 

Summer events and other excitements!

Leek: once again
New display and event moments

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Our Leek: once, now and next project has been a great success. From a “Birthday Party for a Lost Abbey” to far more sensible history talks, embroidery and appliqué sessions and a pop-up street from the lost years of Leek, project ideas and activities have engaged and excited visitors

Now we have a few last sessions and a few opportunities for some more….

Come and join us!

eventful times in Leek: once

eventful times in Leek: once

May 2015:
all month the spectacular Cope for a Lost Abbot will be on display in the foyer of The Green Man Gallery in Buxton (check out the Gallery’s website for opening times)*

23, 24, 25th May: our exhibition of work and activities from the project will join the Cope on display in the The Green Man Gallery. Beautiful photos reaching from Leek, once (ruins, memories, dreams) to Leek, now (visitors capturing their own ideas, participants working on projects) with opportunities for you to add your thoughts of Leek: next

Sunday 24th May: Princely Pennants and Princess Flags: 1 – 4pm, The Green Man Gallery: join us to design your own summer flag. Invent a Coat of Arms. Create monsters for brave knights and bold heroines. Add an image to our Wild Pennant. Free event: just drop by and join in but allow 30 minutes for your flagging. Children under 7, need to bring a grown-up with them. Materials provided. The mess you make yourself

once upon a time in the High Peak

once upon a time in the High Peak

Wednesday 27th May: The Lost Castles of Buxton; 10 -12, 1- 3, Buxton Museum. The Display will be up again in the museum and we’ll be inviting you to step back in time and make the house you think, hope, or worry, that you might have lived in when Dieulacres Abbey was at its height and Leek was the focal point for trade, travel and villainy across the Moorlands. Free event. No booking needed. Children under 7, need to bring a grown-up with them. Materials provided.

June 2015
Sunday 7th June: The Big Bird, Beast and Botany Hunt, Dove Valley Centre, 12 – 4 pm. Our display and our artists head back into the Staffordshire Moorlands for an afternoon at the delicious Dove Valley Centre. Tucked into the Upper Dove Valley, the Centre welcomes visitors to the start of summer with wildflower meadows, an orchard, explorations of river wildlife and a generally lovely afternoon. We’ll be there with summer flags and stories, encouraging you to capture summer on a fluttering pennant or brand a story-hero or adventure-horror on a flag for yourself

Would you like a session?
We have a bit of water here at the bottom of the well to offer other groups. If you  are interested in a session for your local group (Staffordshire Moorlands, High Peak, Derbyshire Dales), get in touch! We could come and do a lively “making” workshop, a careful sewing/applique/fabric painting session, tell stories or just talk to your group about what we have been doing.

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Email Gordon at creepingtoad@btinternet.com or call on 07791 096857

* The display (and especially the Cope) features work by groups from our project partners Borderland Voices so if you would like to see some BV achievements, here is another reason to come and visit us!

Leek: once, now and next is supported by:

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Owls, flowers and waterfalls

Owls, flowers and waterfalls

a relief-printing workshop in Dovedale

with Maria Strutz

Sunday 17th May 2015

10am – 4pm

Maria's owl  

drawing inspiration from the beautiful Upper Dove Valley,

spend a day experimenting with techniques,

and take home your own finished prints

  • Free, materials provided
  • Provided as training for adults looking to extend their own skills
  • Venue: Dove Valley Centre
  • please bring food to share for lunch
  • no experience needed!

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Spaces are limited, booking is needed, so grab your place: stoneandwater@btinternet.com

or call 07791 096857

 

More details sent with confirmation

sketch, scribble, draw, lino-cut, easi-print,

paint, stamp and mess!

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Well-wooded words: a Buxton poetry trail

Well-wooded Words

Grinlow Woods, a place for inspiration

Grinlow Woods, a place for inspiration

18th 19th July 2015

a poetry trail through Grinlow Woods 

during Buxton Arts Festival

an exquisite moment from last year's Art Trail

an exquisite moment from last year’s Art Trail

weaving words through trees and bushes,

poems through the flowers,

inviting visitors to wonder as they wander

to enjoy the richness of the woods

and the beauty of stone

and to touch the emotional heart of their summer

Grinlow 1In a companion trail to this year’s Grinlow Art And Storytelling Trail, we are inviting poets, scribblers, scrawlers and storywriters to submit pieces for a trail of words and wonders through Grinlow Woods
The Art Trail and its attendant activities were a great success last year, so we thought it would be good to add another strand to that creative woodland experience.
“We” are Stone and Water, the Buxton-based community group who celebrate the richness and creativity of the Peaks through projects like Exploring With Stories and Ancient Landscapes.
We are looking for pieces (poems or prose) that might

  • draw their inspiration from Buxton and the Peak District
  • provoke reflection about the area
  • use these landscapes to challenge reader’s own perceptions of themselves
  • or something like that

So we invite you to share your enjoyment, your passions, your delights and your despairs of, from or about the Peaks and send us your words for the Grinlow Poetry Trail

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our Trail won’t venture into the caves but your poetry might

FINE DETAILS (and some small print)

What will be happening

On the weekend of the Art Trail (18, 19 July 2015), our poems and stories will be laminated and presented through Grinlow Woods in Buxton Country Park. The Poetry Trail will follow a similar route to the Art Trail (see below). There will also, hopefully, be storytellers performing, poetry/writing workshops, make your own woodland book activities and perhaps some poetry readings (let us know if you’d like to be involved in that)
Our trail will have its own map and possibly a booklet (available to buy) of all our juicy poems and stories

How long a piece can you submit?

We are allocating each writer the equivalent of 2 sides of A4 (so please, no monstrous tomes or Homeric epics!) and in a largish font, maybe 20pt, for ease of reading. If you’re not sure, just send your piece in and we’ll advise. Of course you don’t need to send in that much: if you compose precise and elegant single haiku or tanka, maybe just one will say exactly what you want. At the moment, we will only accept one submission (ie one longer piece or several short poems) from each poet. If space arises we might invite more contributions from existing Trailers

Where will the poems be?

The Trail will wend its way up through Grinlow Woods from the Visitor Centre car park towards Solomon Temple (but will probably stop just short of the upper edge of the woods)

Until we see what is coming in, we can’t say where pieces will go. if you have a piece that definitely needs to be displayed by rocks, or a park bench or an oak tree, say, let us know

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Complementing the Art Trail

Our poetry trail will run along a similar route to the Art Trail. Poems do not need to associate with artworks unless you want them to. We don’t really know what other art is going up until the last minute so we cannot advise you of what’s going to be around. If you know an exhibiting artist, why not scheme wildly with them, keep us in the loop, and it might all be wonderful when we display words and visuals together

Filthy Lucre

We are not planning this as a money-making activity but we would like to generate enough cash to design and print Poetry Trail maps and maybe produce that booklet of poems for sale. We are asking for a contribution of £10 for each submission (ie for each poet’s contribution not for each individual poem). Don’t send any money with your submission. We’ll contact you about money and other fine tuning when your contribution is accepted

Being organised and officious

And we’re sorry to say this but there will need to be a bit of editorial control here: please don’t send in anything offensive, or discriminatory. Our boundaries are very flexible but there are limits and we will reserve the right to simply say “no”. We’ll try not to, but that reservation needs to be there

First deadline: we need to have a working set of poems by 31st March 2015: enough for us to know the plan is viable

Second deadline: assuming we get enough poems to make the Poetry Trail viable, we’ll go on taking new submissions until the end of May

Submissions:

email your work to

Gordon MacLellan: stoneandwater@btinternet.com

Please send it as an attachment in Word or Text

Make sure: your name and contact details are also on the attachment

By post: to  Creeping Toad, 51-d West Road, Buxton, SK17 6HQ
and we’ll be in touch!

So! flex those fingers, ink up those quills, charge up your keyboards,

knot your strings and carve your runes

invite an adventure into the green

invite an adventure into the green

Fragments for a new Cope

Feedback from Silverdale

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the Roaches: a panel for our Cope

on Friday 17th October we had a lovely day of workshops in Silverdale Library that we featured in the previous post. We’ve just received these lovely pictures from one of the friends who was helping us on the day so thought we’d just post these comments and pictures together, offering a view of a workshop from someone else’s perspective!

a busy room, an exciting table!

a busy room, an exciting table!

I’d like to echo Gordon’s thanks to St Luke’s school and the library staff for the wonderful day at Silverdale Library last Friday!
Huge thanks to the Stone and Water arts team for coming to Silverdale and to the library staff Berni, Farida and Terry for arranging that the library would open especially for the school session and for providing all the refreshments. 
Cope -fuller viewThe Y6 group were full of ideas during the story-telling and before we knew it pop-up cards had popped up everywhere! It was great to see the students listening so intently and inventing recipes for the giant with Gordon. Then they spread out and worked throughout the library on their pop-up cards. I was amazed by how quickly they were starting to tell their own stories about their cards — and several students began to have clever ideas for making the paper articulate further. The cards were becoming little theatres really. Gordon’s work with schools is legendary but well done to everyone at St Luke’s – wow! 
Then we had the afternoon with the talented knitters and lace-makers of Silverdale who added textile motifs to the cope or community cloak. Again, people were full of brilliant ideas. What a friendly relaxed time. 
The library is the perfect setting for all this creativity!
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Thank you, Caroline!