Our lonely pig Octavia has found herself suddenly kicked out of her palatial home and grounds, and into a smaller field with makeshift arc, to make way for a herd of 8 new pigs. They're a very rowdy bunch and full of lice and worms (and God knows what else) and are very malnourished. The renegade 8 were found abandoned in a nearby car park last week by our neighbour farmer John,but with no ear tags, it was impossible to trace where they came from. John had no room on his farm so we decided to home them. Judging by the state of them (I've never seen protruding spines, ribs and hip bones on pigs) I guess whoever had them didn't know what was involved in keeping them or just didn't care. I think they are actually mico-pigs. Not the cute ones everyone imagines mico-pigs to be, but the things they grow into. They are smaller than most pigs but still above knee high and pretty ugly! They are 'micro-pigs' because they breed runts with runts, ie. the unhealthiest in the litter of any breed. You can see in these ones bits of Tamworth, Saddleback and maybe a bit of Berkshire or Large Black. It could be that someone stole a couple, thinking they could breed them and make a ton of money. A rare breed pig like our British Lop, bought as a weaner, costs about £60. Mico-pigs cost about £600! However, unless you have registered the pigs and have them ear tagged, you can't sell them on or take them to slaughter. You can't even legally move them without the right paper work. The animal welfare people at DEFRA have let us register these pigs with our own herd mark so we can legally move them and take them to slaughter when the time comes (if I can get them healthy enough).
In the mean time, the BBC are coming up to Lawson Park with their cameras, so who knows, maybe someone watching will identify the rogue owner!
A recent dinner in Norwich with my favourite nature guru Richard Mabey brought to my attention a utopian cricket ground that could influence our own endeavours to revision the home of cricket in our local village of Coniston: Sir Paul Getty's 'cottage ornee' cricket pavilion set in the heart of the woods of the Chilterns (that's the bit soon to be changed by high-speed rail).
We won't quite have Getty's budget but we may well have his gumption.
Last week we hosted the directors of the Plus Tate group - a network of the UK’s 18 most dynamic art organisations that includes Tate, the Hepworth Wakefield, Turner Contemporary, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Whitworth Art Gallery, Baltic and Grizedale Arts itself.
The annual seminar organised by Tate was hosted by Grizedale Arts throughout Coniston using the Coniston Institute, St Andrews Church, Brantwood, the Waterhead Hotel, Coniston launch and our headquarters at Lawson Park farm.
On the Wednesday evening the main hall of the Coniston Institute provided the backdrop for a grand dinner of 34 people comprising the directors of the Plus Tate group and the local “villager elders” who have been consistently volunteering over the last year towards the restoration of the historic Institute.
The dispersed nature of the seminar, was used to demonstrate the concept of the Village as Institution using what might be termed the Civic Framework, people and all, as the site for the conference. This is turn works to build a collective, social resource rather than a simple venue hire or site visit – using the village like one might use a work of art.
Throughout the three days the delegates ate menus that were made entirely from local produce and artists projects including local venison, Lawson Park pork, St James’ and Ruskin Blue cheese, wild grouse, Kathrin Bohm’s sauerkraut and Lawson Park grown vegetables and so on. Particularly popular were the dessert contributions of trifle, chocolate cake and lemon meringue pie created especially for the Tate by the village.
This project is about bringing coppice workers and contemporary designers together to develop a series of new products for local production and distribution.
The workshop programme offers coppice workers the opportunity to works with contemporary designers to develop affordable and locally produced furniture.
If you are a coppice worker or designer, please get in touch for more information on taking part in the 5 day design workshops. They run from Friday 17th – Tuesday 21st February 2012.
SATURDAY 18th February
Join us for a full day of demonstrations, discussions and a conference on craft, design and the Utility Scheme.
10am – 2.30pm
A morning of demonstrations and talks at Witherslack Studios, led by Charlie Whinney. You will meet the coppice workers and designers working collaboratively on New Green Wood Work designs.
3pm – 7pm
Conference at Blackwell, Arts and Crafts house in Windermere.
With talks from:
Dr Kathy Haslam (Blackwell’s Curator) - The philosophy and politics of the Arts & Crafts Movement and its contemporary relevance.
Ray Leigh (chairman of the Gordon Russell Trust, and former Design Director and Managing Director of Gordon Russell Ltd) – Gordon Russell and the Utility Scheme.
Keynote speech by product designer, Michael Marriott.
Questions and panel led open forum
Saturday 25th – Sunday 26th February
Green Wood Working Weekend - follow up production workshops
10am – 5pm
Weekend workshop in collaboration with Brantwood Estate where we will be making from scratch, items designed in the Witherslack workshops.
For more information of to book a place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 015394 41050
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