Visitors to the Lake District’s most unusual art exhibition are being invited to share their own photos of the events and installations on social media.
Reflective Moments opens this weekend and runs for a week at a number of venues from Dunmail Raise and Allan Bank in the north of the Windermere catchment to Fell Foot Park. It is organised by environmental campaigners Windermere Reflections.
Visitors will be invited to peer through a viewing tunnel, step inside a giant kaleidoscope, and experience the landscape through a camera obscura. On the Windermere ferry they will be encouraged to create poetry on giant “fridge magnet” boards.
And at each site they will find details of how they can upload their own photos to share their creative moments.
Reflective Moments sets out to show not just the grandeur of the landscape but how it has been viewed through history, particularly at the time of the picturesque and Romantic eras.
The viewing tunnel is at Allan Bank near Grasmere, once the home of William Wordsworth. The kaleidoscope is at the head of Windermere near Ambleside, and the camera obscura at a wartime pillbox on Dunmail Raise.
Visitors will also experience sensory exhibits at Claife on the west shore of Windermere, try Chinese landscape painting, and create poetry on the cross-lake ferry.
The events mark the final months the Windermere Reflections programme, which was tasked with informing and educating residents, businesses, landowners and visitors of the need for diligence to maintain good water quality in the lake.
Alongside the workshops, the temporary art installations created by Cumbria-based artist Steve Messam celebrate the work of Windermere Reflections while highlighting the significant contribution of the Lakeland fells to international culture and heritage.
“The fells have influenced the way we perceive and appreciate landscape,” said Windermere Reflections’ programme manager Liz Davey. “Windermere’s water flows from Dunmail down through the catchment past historic landscape vantage points of Roman and modern British warfare, to those of the picturesque and Romanticism movements.”
Visitors’ photographs can be uploaded to the Windermere Reflections’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WindermereReflections, and also shared via Flickr.
Lead artist Steve Messam said: “We are encouraging people to look at the landscape in a different way and to share their own creative moments. It’s going to be one big photo opportunity.”
Reflective Moments will comprise the following:
- Dunmail Raise viewing box – the WW2 pillbox beside the Grasmere to Keswick Road will be transformed into a Camera Obscura – a fitted lens in one of the windows projects the view over Grasmere on to the opposite wall, while the outside will be clad in 2,000 silver balls, reflecting the surrounding landscape and making it shimmer in sunlight. From May 23.
- At Allan Bank in Grasmere, once home of William Wordsworth and a key location in the development of the Romantic movement, visitors will be able to send their cameras 1,000ft into the air beneath weather balloons to take stunning aerial photographs in a drop-in workshop with artist Bryony Purvis. They can also visit the Victorian viewing tunnel in the grounds. May 24/25
- Rydal Hall: Cumbrian artist Irene Sanderson will host free workshops in Chinese landscape painting in the viewing “grotto”. The oldest purpose-built viewing station in the UK, it was refurbished in 2005 and overlooks a waterfall.(Rydal Hall is one mile north of Ambleside.) May 24/25
- Borrans Park at Waterhead will see the installation of a giant kaleidoscope, three metres high and five metres long, which will look out down Windermere and fragment the view while people silhouetted on the lakeshore become moving patterns.
- Windermere car ferry – Foot passenger can create their own Lakeland verse with giant magnetic poetry. From May 24 for a week.
- Claife viewing station: the ‘Sound Mirror’ is a collection of unheard sounds of water and the lake emanating from the rocks and trees. The sounds of trees drinking and crayfish walking are part of the audible treasure hunt. May 30/31 and June 1.
- Fell Foot park will host ‘Drop’, Messam’s giant reflective installation based on a raindrop – the building blocks of the Lakes – and standing the height of a three-storey building. There will be another chance to take aerial photos with Bryony Purvis. From May 30.
The project is part of Heritage Lottery funded Windermere Reflections to mark three years of campaigning to improve the water quality in the Windermere catchment area. Liz Davey said: “As with all our work this has been a true partnership initiative from start to finish and in selecting the sites for this work we are grateful for the support of the National Trust and their tenant farmers, South Lakes District Council, Cumbria County Council and Windermere Ferry, and Rydal Hall.”
She added: “Through our work we’ve enjoyed using art as a way of introducing environmental issues and connecting people to their landscape.”
Artist Steve Messam added: “This is a way to facilitate opportunities for people to share what they see, and to share their understanding of the landscape. The way that the project finishes at the foot of Windermere, with the possibility of following the water’s onward journey out to sea with aerial photos, truly connects key areas through the catchment and th