As spring looks like it is finally rolling in, I’m reminded that I’ve now been here for a whole year. This got me thinking to last year’s programme, and my first few days at the Trust. When I arrived, Rook Lane Arts was hosting the Secret Staircase exhibition, a collaboration between writer Michele Roberts and artists Caroline Isgar which had been commissioned for the Museum of Childhood in London. This project is an interesting cross-disciplinary exploration into childhood, memory and the talisman- like effect of treasured objects. The show felt like not like a joint exhibition, but a true collaboration; an artist and writer entwining their work.
Collaborative working between writers and artists is something which seems to capture the imagination like nothing else – our treasured stories are embroidered with images and illustrations from the story books we read a children. This is something which we are exploring more and more here at the chapel – the idea of a woven story, part visual and part written. In March, we hosted ABC Day, the brainchild of Hunting Raven Bookshop. This event brought together children from a range of local schools, to hear talks from authors of children’s books. These talks were anything but dull and very visual- Gill Lewis showed off her homemade wings, Sam Gayton entertained and amused in a one-man show of many characters, and Jackie Morris brought along an enormous tiger. We also launched the Young Illustrators Competition with the school groups, who are now busily creating covers for real or imagined books, which will be displayed in the chapel during the Frome festival.
The exhibition of competition entries will run alongside “Out of the Silence” a collaborative exhibition project from Rook Lane Arts and Hunting Raven Books. We are curating works from children’s book illustrators and graphic artists, all with a common theme: Journey’s and Quests. The exhibition will provide the backdrop to this year’s Frome Festival programme at the chapel. Including (and this brings us full-circle on my year-long journey at Rook Lane) Writers and Publisher’s day, where Michele Roberts will return to speak about her work.