This is my first journal post since the Beneath the Beacon exhibition and trail drew to a close in September. After the busyness of the summer spent checking on the figures and mechanisms, hosting visitors and working with local folk musicians on a related song project, the aftermath was something of an anti-climax.
Since being collected from their temporary homes the characters have taken up residence in my studio. There they jostle and clamour to catch my eye everytime I cross the threshold, clearly impatient to get back in the public gaze.
After the exhibition and trail I’m struggling to know where the characters should go next. I want the whole alphabet to be on display rather than individual figures being shown piecemeal. But this means finding a venue large enough to host all 26 figures or several new locations across Penrith.
I took Colonel Rutherford and Lady Gillford along to the Penrith Remembrance celebrations where they showed off their wartime credentials, the Colonel’s automaton writing home from the North African campaign and the Lady’s knitting socks in response to Kitchener’s Call.
The next outing is planned for Saturday 1 December when Sarah Losh (A is for Architect) will visit the stunning church she designed at Wreay, just south of Carlisle. Along with a few other characters she will feature as part of a performance of songs and poetry inspired by the Beneath the Beacon characters. Tickets are £5 and available from Bookends, 19 Castle Street, Carlisle, or Ad lib, 9b King Street, Penrith, or Wreay Syke Fold, Wreay or call 016974 73744 or 016974 73687.
Sarah’s is the first of the static retablos to be re-worked as a hand-cranked automaton - a process I’ll be undertaking with all of the figures in the coming months. My next journal post will show how she, and her flying dragon, have been animated.