Introduced by Marilyn Comparetto FRSA and Marysia Zipser
I first met Helen at ART @ MG, Mardlebury Gallery, in Datchworth four years ago when she presented me with her large abstract pieces. It was clear to see that she had unleashed her passion, emotions and vibrant energy on to the canvases using a kaleidoscope of luscious, thickly laid colours for all to see.
Since then I have been following Helen’s incredible artistic journey and I have seen her soar to new heights. More recently Helen has been revealing her story around her own personal battle with cancer. Through this difficult journey Helen has given strength and encouragement to everyone around her…what an inspiration!
I have known and collaborated with Marilyn Comparetto at Datchworth and Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and here in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, for several years, and it was through our mutual social media that I connected with Helen Lack in January this year.
The colourful vibrancy and dynamism of Helen’s artworks immediately grabbed me and pulled me in, making me keen to learn more about her as a person and her motivation.
So this has become a collaborative blog opportunity to showcase the impressive growth and range of Helen’s artistic development. Our six questions and her answers are below accompanied by photo images for you to understand and appreciate the positive and inspirational journey she has taken and is taking.
Please Click on the images to enlarge and hover over to read the Captions.
*All artworks and photographs subject to copyright Helen Lack*
Q1. Your journey as a contemporary artist has an interesting beginning. Can you explain about it?
I started out many years ago in a different medium, as a fashion photographer, working in London and Australia.
As a photographer I was always fascinated by detail, styling, creating a theme and storyline behind the photographic shoots. For many years, I worked with the top model agencies in London and Sydney creating test shots, casting models for model portfolios and doing editorial work for magazines.
In Australia I worked as a photographer in advertising agencies undertaking commercial and corporate work. One of my highlights was working as a photographic assistant for one of the top fashion photographers in Australia, Graham Shearer, so I had the opportunity to work with both Elle and Vogue magazine. Graham Shearer
After some time, raising a family, I decided to have a break from fashion photography and explore different mediums.
One day I happened to be in a cafe in Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire, when a leaflet caught my attention. It was about art lessons to be held in a small hall at Sandy, by an artist called Jean Picton.
Jean comes from a theatre background and as soon as we met, I felt an instant connection. She would for a year, whilst I attended art classes, become my mentor. She inspired me in so many ways. Jean Picton
Jean encouraged me “ to express my thoughts in an individual way”. Meanwhile, I just became determined to develop and try new techniques.
A whole new world had opened for me and it was Art.
After spending time having art lessons, I made the decision to go alone; solo and group exhibitions quickly followed and then Art Fairs in London and Galleries.
Q2. Your bravery, honesty, passion and resilience have shone through this year. Can you highlight this to our readers?
2020 has had a huge impact on myself, family and people around me.
January began with the dream holiday, I returned back to Australia after 25 years; I used to live in Darwin and Sydney for ten years.
It was an amazing experience to enjoy this wonderful country that means so much to me and share so many precious moments and memories with my dear family.
Our trip was to take us through China, seeing many amazing sights in Beijing and visiting The Great Wall of China. Then we flew to Sydney and spent time enjoying the coastal walks, beaches, botanical gardens and Sydney Opera House. Our journey then took us to Port Douglas, north of Cairns which was immensely tropical and a beautiful place to visit.
Upon return to the UK, my life was to change dramatically!
One day in January, I discovered a lump in my breast, many tests and scans followed. Within four weeks I was given the diagnosis that I had Triple Negative Cancer.
This was one of the hardest moments in my life. This is a rare and aggressive form of cancer which does not respond to hormone receptors. It can spread easily and has a high recurrence rate within the first five years.
Suddenly, the weeks and months that passed were spent in hospitals, attending meetings with my medical team, tests and creating a medical plan for the future.
Alongside this anxious time, Covid 19 was on a global scale and the UK was in Lockdown.
Attending hospitals meant wearing masks, gloves and taking every safety precaution necessary to prevent coronavirus. Schools shut and Universities closed which meant all my family were with me, which helped in many ways. Having my family and friends around me, during this difficult and challenging time has been an enormous support.
Chemo treatment commenced and I became determined and focused to battle each day with what was put in front of me.
Days were mixed, good and bad with many side effects, but I had many plans ahead.
These Artworks will be exhibited in Paris in September, through Blossom Fighting Cancer who discovered my work and loved them. Currently they are in Paris now.
In March when I started chemo treatment I decided to tell my personal story through art and photography. I opened up to all media, going to the BBC Three Counties Radio station, newspapers to discuss my tremendous effort to raise £150,000 for the Triple Negative Cancer Foundation for Cancer Awareness Day. I worked round the clock for a week raising money through social media and selling my contemporary artworks, where I donated the funds to this charity which I felt so strong about.
I felt pleased to have helped, and it really stays with me as one of the greatest achievements in my career.
March was a month of bad news. It came flooding in that I had a difficult year ahead but each time I thought, “I must use this time wisely and share my thoughts through art”. Art and Nature became my therapy.
Nothing would stop me and then the fear of coronavirus began to loom, having an underlying medical condition meant I had to shield during lockdown.
Tough months were to follow. I painted Believe in Me, Lifted, an artwork to lift the spirits of the NHS, Over the Rainbow and Documenting Covid19. Most of these artworks have now sold.
At the same time I worked harder and reached out to a greater audience with more online platforms both in the UK and internationally.
Having a rare and aggressive cancer has meant I have a different outlook. Now I take each day by day. I enjoy the simple things in life which I discovered during lockdown, taking walks alone, family and friend moments, photographing when inspired and both painting and illustrating.
My objective during lockdown was to see my artworks in public places, an important legacy.
The contemporary artworks can be viewed at North Middlesex University Hospital, Watford ICU Ward, Edgware Community Hospital and North London Breast Screening Service, all of which have plaques on them and are displayed to staff, patients and the public. I’m honoured about this!
Q3. Your transition to an influential artist exhibiting in the UK and overseas. What is the drive that powers you and what are your key influences?
Having started working in the UK many years ago as an artist, I’m now in a position to choose where I exhibit, whether it be in London, Europe or America.
Getting established as an international artist takes time, determination and hard work. Initially I would showcase my artwork at London Art Fairs and Galleries to put my work in front of influential Art collectors, buyers and galleries. This was exciting and an essential process of being an artist. Networking and marketing are an important exercise, whilst being an artist.
In the past few years, I have developed my work on an international basis, winning several awards - The Botticelli International Art Award for artistic merit in Italy and artwork published in International Contemporary Artists 2019. Also my work has features on the front cover of Aesthetics and Fine Art.
There is an inner drive within me to show my artwork on a global scale, I feel it is significant that the public view it and I create an audience.
One of my artworks titled Candy was on a huge digital screen in the Philippines, it was an exciting project.
In a few months, four selected artworks will be displayed at a prestigious gallery in Paris, which I’m privileged by, especially as this is through a non-profit organisation. In the past month I have been signed with an international art agency working in both Italy and America.
The key influences come from myself, especially as I go through this cancer journey. It's important to me that I keep motivated and I thrive on new projects.
Q4. Which artists and what are you most influenced by?
As an artist in 2020 I find that I am influenced by many art movements and contemporary artists.
The abstract expressionism movement in the 1950s with artists like Jackson Pollock always inspires me; Frank Kline with his feature, fluid brushstrokes that intersect, overlap and interact with one another are appealing, especially his colourful compositions that are full of energy and illustrate evolving aesthetic beauty.
I’m drawn to artists who expel energy into their work, I relate to this as my contemporary artworks are individual, energetic and expressive.
Another artist I admire is Paul Klee, especially his works titled Red Balloon and Highways and Byways, they have a unique style that resonates with me.
Often my work is described to be similar to Monet, mainly characterised by quick brushstrokes, unique use of colour and light, plus “ fleeting impressions of everyday life”. It is these everyday scenes, location, messages, nature and people that influence what I create in my paintings.
Monet, Renoir and Degas are masters that never cease to amaze me. Impressionism has to be one of my favourite avant garde art movements.
In our current era, two street / graffiti artists that I respect are Socrate, a French street artist whose work is raw, bright, brash and has a sense of realism and photo real imagery. https://socrate-art.com/
BASM is the mononym for a British street artist called George Cosmin; he uses stencils, spray paint and has an awareness for political happenings. His work has a strong style and aesthetic.
Generally my artwork is affected by mood, emotion, current situations, society issues and messages which I incorporate into my art to evoke a greater sense of being.
Q5. Your creative process is fascinating. How has this developed and what springboards it?
I find different days bring various ideas, concepts and techniques to my art journey. In moments of energy I write or paint colour boards, moods and palettes, this helps to process the initial preparation, before an artwork. However, sometimes they just have to be spontaneous moments and I go into the studio with an idea and the canvas is created. It gives me pleasure when the latter happens. Often when the creativity flows, I will paint several pieces so there is a continuous feeling.
Presently I get tired easily due to chemo treatment so I do not work for hours on end. Illustrations develop when I feel weak and lack strength.
My work has matured and developed from years ago, though it is a journey which takes me into the unknown. Art has saved me through the cancer journey which I find myself on. Without it, there “would be a huge void”.
Motivation and focus drive me each day. I write a journal that helps throughout these journeys of mine, it is a poignant time and remains special.
Q6. Finally, Helen, given your current health situation, what are you really looking forward to in your art direction and development?
Given my current health situation I have a long way still to fight. Each day is a battle and requires more strength than the last. It is both hard, mentally and physically, there are times when you feel helpless. I try to keep active as much as I can and create art regularly, as this helps to calm the mind and my art is my therapy.
Future plans that I look forward to are raising more public awareness about my specific breast cancer and other types. In the art direction I wish to express the science of cells in future works, more exhibitions displaying work focused on Breast Cancer and the moods which go with it, from an artist’s perspective.
I wish to campaign, fund-raise and do more charity work when my health is better, probably next year. Also I plan to continue with my journey, documenting events, moods, artworks and photography - it will be called ‘My Post Journey’.
I wish to become a survivor of breast cancer, and be able to look back on this year and remember each and every day, each artwork and how I keep developing, as time goes by. I will evolve through my art. I have so much more to achieve and so many more artworks to produce, I will embark on many new facets of life and keep giving to my viewers and ever growing audience.
HELEN LACK - Contemporary Artist
"An Artist of our Time"
All artworks and photographs subject to copyright Helen Lack
Helen wishes to express her sincere thanks to her family, friends, galleries and community who support her every day.
Art Gallery & GIFTS | ART at MG - Mardleybury Gallery | Datchworth
BLOSSOM – The Pink Ribbon Foundation – Breast Cancer Charity
London Art Fair, Manchester Art Fair | Art Exhibition 8-11 October 2020
Talented Art Fair - Talented Art Fair London
Chelsea Arts Gallery Contemporary Fine Arts | Original Abstract Paintings
Helen Lack Artists The Local Arts Scene
Helen Lack – Art Contact artist producing large format statement paintings
Artist profile: HELEN LACK | MonShareArt
We hope you’ve been inspired by Helen’s journey. If you have any comments to relay about this blog, we would love to hear from you in the Comments box (at the end of the photo galleries), Liking it, or/and via our contact links.
Helen Lack with Marilyn Comparetto FRSA and Marysia Zipser
Facebook Helen Lack
Instagram Helen Lack-Contemporary Artist (@helenlackart)
Website Art Gallery & GIFTS | ART at MG - Mardleybury Gallery | Datchworth
Twitter ART @ MG (@ART_at_MG)
Website ART - CULTURE - TOURISM - Home
Facebook Art Culture Tourism - International - Home
Twitter Art-Culture-Tourism (@MarysiaZipser)
Below Artworks for Sale. *All artworks subject to copyright Helen Lack*
Roses, Lavenders and Scents of Life
Discovering an English country garden… A video by Roberto Alborghetti and Photos by Inna Schutts lead us through roses, lavenders and scents of life. A real Kingdom of Green, governed and managed with passion and great competence by Marysia Zipser, Founder of ACT (Art - Culture - Tourism) in Beeston (Nottingham, UK), public speaker, feature writer, reviewer and blogger. So, welcome to the Land of Robin Hood, where legend and myth have the scent and colour of flowers. An initiative for The Year of the Roses 2020-2021. Soundtrack: English Country Garden, by Aaron Kenny.
Art Culture Tourism founded by Marysia Zipser (“Promoting People & Places”) is a promotions agency whose mission is to recognise, bring together and fuse the multi-cultural creatives in its network, promote Beeston, Nottinghamshire and ACT’s artists, photographers, authors and performers on an international stage.
ACT founder Marysia Zipser hosts inward and outbound tourism opportunities encouraging local business investment, strengthening development and stimulating employment.
Marysia Zipser and ACT on web:
Inna Schutts on social networks:
Alla scoperta di un guardino della campagna inglese. Un video di Roberto Alborghetti con le foto di Inna Schutts. Un vero e proprio viaggio nel Regno del Verde, governato e gestito con tanta passione e grande competenza da Marysia Zipser, Fondatrice di ACT Group (Art, Culture, Tourism) in Beeston (Nottingham, UK), presenter and blogger. Dunque, benvenuti nella Terra di Robin Hood, dove la leggenda ed il mito hanno il profumo ed il colore dei fiori. Colonna Sonora: English Country Garden, by Aaron Kenny. Una iniziativa per l’Anno delle Rose 2020-2021.
Guest Blogspot by Patrizia Poggi - Wines of the Romagna
After savouring Part One of this journey - Zuppa Inglese - English Trifle https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/blog/imaginary-culinary-journey-through-romagna-part-one, we now welcome you to experience Part Two - Wines of the Romagna - and in doing so continuing our mutual passions for art, culture and tourism intertwined with our love of history, literature, music, food and drink.
Patrizia currently manages a historical residence immersed in the Romagna countryside, the Relais Villa Roncuzzi, https://www.villaroncuzzi.it/, once owned by the Poor Clares of Ravenna. A welcoming environment, an intimate atmosphere, rich in art and culture for a pleasant stay in the cradle of Byzantine Art of Ravenna, UNESCO heritage and from the Po Delta Park.
This oasis of peace is full of charm and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful art towns of the Emilia-Romagna region: Ravenna, ancient capital of the Byzantine Empire, Faenza, famous worldwide for its ceramics, Bologna, home to the oldest university in Europe, and Ferrara, cradle of the noble House of Este. Thanks to its favourable position, from here it is easy and quick to get to the vibrant Adriatic Coast of Romagna, which is, so to speak, "behind the corner".
Patrizia relates her story here...
The pleasures of the table for Romagna come first. You wish for an ancient hunger experience, you wish for the joy of life to have always accompanied them and that finds one of the greatest satisfaction on the table; you wish them because they consider eating in its primordial essence - that is the basis of life and every human action, so much so as to put eating on top of all thoughts.
The poet Tonino Guerra (1920-2012), returning from his captivity in Germany at the end of the Second War, met his father at the front door and did not ask him how he was and what had happened to him, but "Did you eat?".
Tonino Guerra, favorite screenwriter of Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni and of the main directors of the twentieth century, in front of the painting “The angel with the mustache” by the artist Luigi Poiaghi in the Museum with only one painting, "the most unguarded and poetic museum in the world", born from a poem that welcomes the visitor [foto © VITTORIO GIANNELLA]
The wine has accompanied the life of the people of Romagna for several millennia, as evidenced by the writings of Latin authors, which underline the great productivity of Romagna. This element has slowed down the drive towards quality. Between 1700 and mid-1900 the interest of the people of Romagna was in fact mainly aimed at producing as much wine as possible.
Drinking in Romagna also identifies wine tout court. And wine was of such importance in peasant culture and civilization that we find it in many ways of saying and traditions. In the last forty years there has been a profound renewal also favored by a generational change of producers and with the introduction of new and modern techniques of vine cultivation and wine-making that have led to the production of high quality wines.
The most appreciated wines are however those related to the territory and its people, namely the wines with the denomination of controlled origin (DOC) label that reflect the environment, climate and history.
The most representative wines are:
Albana denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin (DOCG); Sangiovese DOC; Trebbiano DOC a white with a pleasant freshness and fragrance; and Pagadebit DOC, another white wine with a floral and fruity aroma of great versatility.
Wines offer to our guests:
Sangiovese di Romagna superiore Riserva “Le Iadi” | Francesconi Paolo Viticoltore Faenza (on the left) ■
Romagna Albana DOCG Progetto 1 Leone Conti Viticoltore Faenza (on the right)
The Albana is the wine of celebration and joyful moments and of rites. It is the wine that is still offered to the guest and of which, until a few decades ago, when a girl was born, six bottles were prepared for opening on her wedding day. They are all "gentle" customs born perhaps from that golden blonde colour that refers to lightness.
It is a wine with a two-thousand-year history, produced only in Romagna in the dry, sweet, passito and passito reserve types.
Truth or legend, it was told that the Ravenna princess Galla Placidia (392 AD- 450 AD), daughter of the Emperor Theodosius I, stayed with her retinue on the Bertinoro hill. The inhabitants offered her a blond terracotta wine, the Albana. Galla Placidia was delighted and raised the bowl exclaiming: "Not so humbly you should drink, but drink it in gold, to pay homage to your sweetness", hence the toponym Bertinoro, today the symbolic city of hospitality in Romagna. On that occasion, the princess wore a priestly garment called alba, a name that recalls the rising of the sun whose rays helped to ripen the bunches of a luxuriant vine fruit of mother earth. The vine was thus baptized Albana in one day with a special sunrise with a female name.
Left: A detail of the Cross of Galla Placidia preserved in the Museum of Santa Giulia in Brescia. Centre: Portrait of Galla Placidia on a fifth century gold coin. Right: Cross of Galla Placidia (called of Desiderio) - detail. Museo Santa Giulia Brescia. Credits: Photo Scala.
The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, where cobalt blue mosaics embrace a dome of golden stars. When you enter in the Mausoleum is tantamount to entering the gate of the afterlife, it’s almost a prelude to paradise. Mausoleum was built in the first half of the 5th century as an oratory at the southern end of an entrance portico. Mausoleum should have contained the remains of Galla Placidia, the daughter of Teodosius the Great, the sister of Honorius and the mother of Valentinian III. Because her son was just six years old, she became regent of the Western Roman Empire. Placidia died in Rome in 450 and was buried in the family vault. The Mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The dome is decorated with a mosaic (the oldest in the city) which depicts a night sky in which 900 stars shine. It is said that Cole Porter, in Ravenna on his honeymoon, wrote “Night and Day” because he was inspired by the mosaic of the dome.
Albana wine in Bertinoro, a medieval village located on a hill from which you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the sea and the Romagna plain. For this reason it is known as "The Balcony of Romagna" as well as being the "City of Wine" and the "City of Hospitality". It dates to a time before the 10th century and was the residence of Emperor Federico Barbarossa in 1177, and his court and militia, and then the bishop’s seat since 1584. Today, the defensive structure still preserves its medieval appearance. Photo credit: Elio Zammarchi
Both Albana mild and sweet are drinkable wines, often and willingly sparkling, very suitable for dry pastries, such as the Romagna donut and the delicious English soup, which have already been the protagonist of ACT Part One blog dated 15.5.20.
But the Romagna wine par excellence is Sangiovese Doc, which reflects the strength and warmth of the people of Romagna and also, in certain notes of softness and in the subtle perfume of violets, ruby color, the tenderness of his feelings.
The origin is uncertain, controversial and disputed between Romagna and Tuscany - the Romagnoli make a hypothesis as suggestive as it is cloaked in legend, even if it was proposed by an Austrian glottologist, Friedrich Schürr (1888 - 1980), who studied for a long time the Romagna dialect. According to Schürr, the denomination of the Sangiovese grape derives from Monte Giove or Collis Jovis, a hill located near Santarcangelo, in the province of Rimini, on which there was an ancient convent of monks who also cultivated the vine.
During a banquet, the most distinguished guest, to whom the monks had served their best red wine, asked what that delicious nectar was called. Nobody knew, but a friar had a flicker of mind and instantly coined the name of Sanguis Jovis who, by contraction, later became Sangiovese. And then to solemnize this birth, in 1976, the Romagna Tribunate, the Romagna Wine Protection Authority, the Passatore Company and the Italian Sommelier Association placed a plaque on Monte Giove to remember the birthright. And through the occupation of sub-Apennine Romagna by the Medici, the Sangiovese grape would also have spread to Tuscany.
The alleys of Santarcangelo di Romagna |
Photo © sendggioconmonica.it
It rises on a little hill behind Rimini that has the high-flown name of Monte Giove (Mount Jupiter). A few people suggest that this name comes from the famous Sangiovese wine. Climbs and descents, stairs and inset houses: Santarcangelo is indisputably one of the most suggestive hamlets in Romagna. it’s a highly marked lls, its castles, its palaces, that managed to reserve a rural atmosphere, remaining a friendly city where people can meet, especially in the area around the medieval hamlet.
On the contrary, most ampelographers are quite in agreement in stating that Sangiovese originated in Tuscany and between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries making its appearance in Romagna following the expansion of Florence on this side of the Apennines. A conquest that for a few centuries influenced all human activities including agriculture in the area known as Romagna Toscana. It is a triangular-shaped territory with the base formed by the Apennine ridge and the sides that start from Firenzuola and Verghereto to meet a few kilometers from Forlì, in Terra del Sole, built upon request by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I De' Medici. It is one of the very few towns that has a precise foundation date: December 8, 1564, the ideal city created "to measure of man "with a skilful relationship between spaces and volumes based on Leonardo's principles that established" both the width of the streets equal to the universal height of the houses ".
Terra del Sole conceived as a “town-fortress” and not only as a fortress, this beautiful Renaissance citadel amazes visitors at any time of the year and represents the fusion of the Florentine Renaissance culture with that of Romagna, between the kindness and art of Florence and the harshness of the places of the Romagna Apennines and the roughness of the character of its inhabitants.
Whatever the origin of Sangiovese, it is in Romagna that has found an ideal development terrain and then spread to the whole area of the Romagna hill, becoming increasingly linked to the territory.
All the wines of the Emilia-Romagna Region are displayed and on sale in the Emilia-Romagna Regional Enoteca in the medieval fortress of Dozza, a hilltop village on the border between Emilia and Romagna, known for the paintings on the external walls of the houses - created by internationally renowned artists over the course of a 40-year Biennial of the Painted Wall.
Dozza: the medieval village - one of the most beautiful in Italy - is a maze of colorful streets, which leads to the Rocca Sforzesca, the heart of the village and home to the Study and Documentation Center of the Painted Wall.
The Enoteca Regionale (below) contains a 1000 square meter cellar where the 870 labels are exhibited and that the Institution represents all over the world The wines, sparkling wines and raisin wines are also accompanied by balsamic vinegar, spirits and extra virgin olive oil rigorously produced in Emilia-Romagna.
Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna holds over 870 selected labels, proposed in tastings combined with food.
Credits: Photo Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna
In 2017, the first Embassy of the Cities of Wine of Europe was born in Rimini, a place that promotes the civilization of wine and the productive wealth of the territory not far from the University Citadel of Rimini so as to maintain constant contact with the students of the Economics of Tourism. A real "District" for the "storytelling" of Romagna wine.
On 20th June 2020, we officially re-opened Relais Villa La Roncuzzi to guests... These past few months have changed our daily lives and we sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are well. The arrival of the sunny days makes us finally want to leave to take the air at sea, in the mountains or in the countryside. The Hotel Relais Villa Roncuzzi is ready to welcome you!
Some of our guest comments are written below...
We look forward to welcoming you to ingest, savour and experience our culinary and wine delicacies while at the same time, learning and appreciating the beautiful art, history and culture of the Romagna region.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this and savoured our shared experience. Because you will be invited to travel again with Patrizia on Part Three of her “Imaginary Culinary Journey through Romagna”.
If you have any comments to relay about this blog and about the wines of Romagna, we would love to hear from you, either in the Comments box (at the end of the photo galleries) or/and via email.
Many thanks - molto grazie.
Patrizia Poggi & Marysia Zipser
Romagna landscape with vineyards. Giovanni Bassi, details of “vine with bunches of grapes” Giovanni Bassi, “Vine with bunches of grapes”, 2009,cm 2000 x 3500, copper, exhibited in "Artigianato e Palazzo", 2017 edition, Florence, in the seventeenth-century Corsini Garden created by Gherardo Silvani.
ACT proudly presents our e-book Creatives Lockdown 2020 published via ISSUU (non-commercial) which you can now experience and share.
There are 33 pages including covers, inside publishing details page, Title, Contents, Acknowledgements, my Introduction & linocut print artwork pages, and one page each from the 24 Creatives. Please turn the pages and press the + button to magnify and zoom into each.
Update 4.7.20. Our ACT last in the series of 'What'sOnDigital' took place last Tuesday 30th June. It was a fabulous show! Marcus Gilmore reported on ACT ebook ‘Creatives Lockdown 2020’. If you missed it, just click on the link below and enjoy! You can also add any comments you wish.
Here's a screenshot of us all at the end of the show. Caron Lyon of PCM creative our producer, myself, my interview guests - Writer & Journalist Matt Turpin & Actor Melvyn Rawlinson - Santa Jolly - together with ACT reporters Inna Schutts on English Heritage https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/ & home teaching and Marcus Gilmore talking about about the published ACT ebook "Creatives Lockdown 2020".
My INTRODUCTION page is repeated below.
Here is my summary from 24 Creatives Lockdown comments from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, UK, USA & Netherlands which have been collated from my mid-April Facebook Call-Out.
The overall consensus is that the majority of creatives are loving and embracing their lockdown time, which started in the UK 23rd March. It has given them quiet, the focus to work and complete those projects they started some years beforehand and to start new ones. For writers, poets, musical composers and performers, the words and notes are streaming out in steady flow and inspiring us all on YouTube, Watch Parties and LIVE digital on-line shows. For artists of all kinds, from visual to textile, lock down life has been welcome and given them more clarity.
Storytellers have never been so busy recording their acting and voices to a wide and enthralled audience. Authors are busy doing voice-overs to their books or doing LIVE reading parties internationally to children via Facebook.
The facilities of ZOOM and Drop Box are spreading like wildfire. Home chorus choirs have been springing up and tuning up to rapt response, as well as virtual busking. Art and musical collaborations are flourishing; poets with musicians, musicians with visual artists, dancers with composers as well as weekly Virtual Cuppa meetings.
These lockdown comments, together with creation photos and business links, are now presented to you in this valuable PDF e-book which can be shared and resourced by many people, fellow creatives and industry professionals. Please do start or continue collaborating with each other...you never know what masterpieces will transpire!
Digital Art and Culture is widely accessible to everyone and even more so during the last two months. Creatives are not only helping themselves but so many people and children out there. Art is therapy and always has been, for our (mental) health and well-being.
Everyone’s thinking and planning have changed for the better. Nature and wildlife are flourishing so our inspirations are following suit. Our senses have sharpened, for young and old, so it has been good to get together with our families, via FaceTime, or just being on our own, to create and enjoy these precious moments. We now look forward to Lifting Lockdown.
To find out more about Art Culture Tourism, our What’sOnDigital Podcasts, LIVE video streaming, virtual resourcing links and Blog, please go onto our website and social media.
LinkedIn: @Marysia Zipser
Art - Culture - Tourism
Design and Layout by Marcus Gilmore http://www.marcusgilmoreart.com/
I am delighted to publish here contributions from fifteen of my Facebook and Twitter network friends from my Call-Out 26th May - Nottingham UK, Italy and USA. I asked them for their favourite 1-2 roses from their gardens and the reasons why they selected them. In addition, there are several I’ve popped in from my own Beeston-Nottingham garden.
It is a record and legacy of how important our Roses are during this period of time. To me, my garden determines what matters most in life and provides me with daily inspiration to focus, to action important tasks and complete them. Roses and their perfumes always bring back memories of childhood, our loved ones, and of places visited. And every picture tells a story...!
Kate Foale, Tollerton, Nottingham.
My favourite rose is Biddulph Grange. Bought on our wedding anniversary at that very National Trust property several years ago. Married 44 years on 26 June!
Thank you Kate, and Congratulations to you both!
Patricia Garlick, Beeston, Nottingham
Gorgeous! I love traditional, heavily scented roses! I have Rhapsody in Blue which smells amazing! 🌹 My Rhapsody in Blue rose was a birthday gift from my partner, so I simply had to bring it with me when I moved house the week before we went into lockdown! It's a floribunda & was purchased from The Fragrant Rose Company. https://www.thefragrantrosecompany.co.uk/
Oksana Holbrook, Sherwood, Nottingham
Unfortunately I do not have any roses in my garden. I do remember my late grandfather who died in 1969 who loved them and had a garden full of them in every colour you could think of.
Thank you Oksana for your precious memory.
Jeanie O'Shea - Jeanie Barton, Nottingham
This climbing rose is my Dad's. It's been there all my life and comes back strong every year - really cheers me, like it’s him looking down on me.
Maeve Wright, Nottingham
This is Iceberg, I'm not sure if it is actually a climbing rose, but it certainly loves to climb all over the obelisk it sits on, accompanied by a dark purple clematis that blooms later in the year. It's always prolific but is more so this year, my husband John didn't get round to pruning it, and when it produced buds he didn't want to cut them off. So it's gone crazy, lots of flowers appearing at once, and lots more buds. It's never been as full and lovely before, and would probably be the first plant you'd notice if you walked into our garden. It has a wonderful scent too, it's like having a drink of fruit juice. We've had it for about four years. John bought it at Brookfields Garden Centre, Plains Road, Mapperley, Nottingham, and we love it. https://www.brookfieldsgardencentre.co.uk/
We do have another fabulous rose, name unknown, a very voluptuous, many-folded pink one, but John did prune that, so it's growing back again, and no buds yet.
Here's another photo of my Iceberg rose. As you can see it's grown sideways both ways from the obelisk, I think it wants to take over the garden! (The photo angle doesn't do it justice, it has way more flowers than it looks as if it has).
Here is my Graham Thomas rose, very soft perfume.
Yellow roses mean Welcome and Friendship!
I received this photo from Fiona Greenslade, Nottingham.
Perfection, like a sugared rose atop a confectionery delight being presented to a Queen at a state banquet!
Fiona says, “It was presented to me as a celebration for finishing my house!”
I found out this rose is called Pink Celebration Hybrid Tea - it has a fruity flavour!
My Augustine rose. It’s very rambling and thorny so I have to regularly train it with green wire to the trellis (wearing thick gardeners gloves!).
Cathy Hurt Henson, Tennessee, USA
This is my rose here in the USA, N/W part of Tennessee. I love planting a well known variety of rose called Knockout. They are very hardy and do not require dusting or spraying...they are continual bloomers and if our weather stays warm they will bloom up into November.
Christoper Frost, Nottingham
I bought this rose bush in memory of my late mum Connie, who died some 20 years ago now. I think the bush’s flowering season is coming to an end, as this is about the last decent flower left.
My Hanky Panky rose.
This rose has special memories for me of my mum, Sonia Zipser. It was originally planted in her front garden and whenever I visited her, we would mention how's Hanky Panky today, go and check on it together and have a giggle and smile. After she died in 2011, I removed the rose and re-planted it in my garden where it has amazingly grown and flourished ever since. She's with me all the time I'm in my garden, either telling me what to tender first or winking at me sitting on her bench, now painted cornflower blue in my garden,
while sipping tea from her china mug.
Tracey Dineen of No 31 Belper, Derbyshire, https://www.homeaway.co.uk/p8249391 - Twitter @No31belper
Both David Austin Roses Gertrude Jekyll and Winchester Cathedral are my favourites because they look and smell divine. And because my OH was born in Winchester.
Gertrude Jekyll (Ausbord) - English shrub rose bred by David Austin. Twice voted the Nation’s Favourite. https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/
“Always one of the first English Roses to start flowering, its perfect scrolled buds open to large, rosette-shaped flowers of bright glowing pink. The beautiful, perfectly balanced Old Rose scent is often described as being the quintessential Old Rose fragrance. A vigorous rose; it will form a medium-sized, upright shrub. Named for the famous garden designer and author. David Austin, 1986.”
Patrizia Poggi, Relais Villa Roncuzzi hotel https://www.villaroncuzzi.it/en/ nr Ravenna, Italy.
In the Villa garden there is a flowerbed of damask roses, progenitors of current hybrids.
In fact, when systemic botany was born in 1700, the five founding roses were described:
Rosa Gallica, Rosa Centifolia, Rosa Alba, Rosa Moscata and Rosa Damascena.
Damask rose, more commonly known as the Damask rose, or sometimes as the rose of Castile, is very robust, taller than Gallic, it emits, in bloom, a very intense perfume that distinguishes it from the others. It blooms once a year in April.
Maria Velardi, teacher, Bergamo, Italy
Maria calls it The Rose of St Anthony Day, because it blooms around June 13.
Johnny Kim, Los Angeles, California
"Basically every year they have this flower field event and people from all over the world visit it. They let the public choose the flowers and the workers will cut it for you for a small charge. Love them flowers... It is in the North part of San Diego, about 90 miles south of the Los Angeles Area." The photo above by Johnny is taken of the Tecolote Giant Ranunculus field. The famous fields also boast roses, orchids, sweet pea blossoms, petunias and poinsettias.
The Flower Fields is a flower garden found on the Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California. It is open once a year in spring from March 1 through May 10. The fields experience attendance of anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors every year from all over the world. The fields were given positive press from outlets such as CBS News Los Angeles, NBC News 4 Southern California, and The Huffington Post Travel, which praised the quality of the flora and recommended that people visit the area to check it out.
Roberto Alborghetti, Bergamo, Italy
This is from my garden, I think next week another will pop out. It was given to us by friends. They said it is a wonderful kind of rose, but I don’t know the name. So we are curious to see more.
Update 28.6.20 - Here are 3 more contributions received since 17.6.20
From Steve H from Nottingham.
These Roses were given to my mum by the Gregory family when I was born 54 years ago.
It's taken a while for them to come into bloom as I had pruned them hard due to the condition and age of them. So they were 54 years in the making!
From Theresa Moynes in Dublin.
My favourite Rose has to be the Dublin Bay Rose as a cutting was given to my son and daughter in law, Keith and Denise, on the birth of their baby girl Eloise and it is now thriving in their garden.
Another cutting was given to my other son, Graham and his girlfriend Caoimhe, on the purchase of their first home together and is also thriving in their new garden. Beneath is a picture of said rose (credit of Farmleigh Estate) which is where the cuttings came from so that makes them special also.
From Anna Abatecola, teacher at Frosinone (Lazio), Italy.
Her rose is called Mister Lincoln. It has a wonderful perfume and is like velvet to touch.
Thank you so much Steve, Theresa and Anna, I can smell their perfume from here!
To conclude, I found two links which are fascinating to read...have a look!
June 24, 2018
June 4, 2020
My grateful thanks extend to Inna Schutts, ACT Photographer, Beeston-Nottingham. Published here is a small collection of her photographs taken recently in my garden - main heading photo and after my writing.
My enduring thanks also to my garden plant suppliers since 2012 -
David Austin Roses (Wolverhampton) https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/;
Ashridge Nurseries (Somerset) https://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/;
Fred Hallam Ltd, Beeston, Nottinghamshire https://fredhallam.shop/; and
Lavender World (Yorkshire) https://www.yorkshirelavender.com/.
My sincere gratitude to my social network contributor friends in Nottingham UK, Italy and the USA. I’ve really enjoyed the experience of gathering all your rose photographs with stories, and I hope all of my blog readers here have enjoyed this blog collection too. I would welcome any comments below you may wish to add to “Our ROSES and what they mean to us”.
Thank you for reading!
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All photographs below are from a collection by Inna Schutts of Beeston.
Since Roberto’s first visit to Beeston six years ago, he has immersed himself, as a visual artist, into the storytelling worlds of our famous outlaw and into our historical town of Beeston and Nottingham ‘Red City’ environments.
"The Ghost Bus ‘Roads’ Project exhibits the power of combining visual and musical arts; the wonder of family history (the Barton family firm was for a time the largest independent bus operator in the world) and the beauty of what human beings can do through creativity and mutual cooperation. It encourages us to take the time to look more closely at our surroundings and discover the stories our environment can tell us."
Roberto adds his Thoughts for Today…
“Re-birth, Re-new and a sane Re-bellion is what we need today to make this world a better place! In every field and activity. And mainly in the world of Art!”
When I told Roberto that my second recording of ‘Letter from Beeston’, telling the story of his first visit to Barton’s with Robin Hood Tim, was broadcast on BBC Radio Nottingham on 20th May, he immediately sprang into action and said, “I know what I’m going to do Marysia! I will put the photo images of that memorable evening of The Ghost Bus Show 27 March 2015 at Barton’s garage and turn your story into a RadioVision production!” After forty-five minutes he presented it on his blog site for all to experience - a speedy visual art transformation creating such impact!
So I wish to record here on my blog, for posterity sake, his 4 minute photo montage film synchronised to my voice recording of Letter from Beeston (2). Experience all on Roberto’s link below.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…
In October 2014, Roberto Alborghetti came to Beeston for the first time.
We had ‘met’ on LinkedIn earlier that year - the world’s business networking platform.
I loved his posts and, in particular, his visual art project called Laser/Actions.
He transforms and turns pictures of ripped and decomposed publicity posters, natural cracks, scratches, and deteriorations, into “art subjects”. His whole concept is “making art” from industrial de-construction-ism, caught by camera, macro scale. He captures the randomness, letting the picture tell the story, and documents the reality. He doesn’t change what he sees. Nothing is manipulated.
I asked Roberto that I would like to feature him and his work at my second Art-Culture-Tourism networking evening in March called “Cultures Crossing”, by showing his artworks on screen. He was delighted, and my event at The Lace Mill certainly was Vay-Nee Vee-Dee Vee-Chee “Veni, Vidi, Vici”. It brought European press coverage all thanks to Roberto’s journalist efforts.
A few months later, Roberto contacted me to say he was visiting London friends and could he come to Beeston to see me for several hours before he went back to Italy. I said yes, of course.
Prior to his proposed visit, I had researched further into his background, and found out that, besides being an Italian ‘Pulitzer’ award-winning journalist and best selling author, he was also the official biographer to Pope Francis. And, he had just published his second volume on him, called “My Life is an Arrow”. So, I thought, I wonder if Nottingham’s official Robin Hood, Tim Pollard, who happens to live in Beeston, would be free for a photo shoot with Roberto. Tim gladly accepted.
So the day came when I met Roberto from Beeston railway station and brought him to Chilwell High Road. He and Tim got on famously and I photographed them together at Chilwell Creative Corner and then walked them up to Barton’s head office.
Simon Barton greeted us and steered us into the old garage walking through his office, as though left in a time warp. I have always loved the Barton’s historic building and the events Simon and his sons have staged there. I knew Roberto would be hooked.
I was not mistaken. In fact, he disappeared totally among the old Barton buses, vintage cars, vans and bicycles arrayed over the large expanse of the docking sheds. It is a transport enthusiast’s Valhalla.
While Simon, Tim and I chatted, Roberto was taking his macro photos of the old vehicles cocooning him. He was transported back in time. The Robin Hood marque on the side chasses of the red buses proved excellent photo backdrops for them all together.
Then, he chanced upon the Ghost Bus, a 1956 URR Reliance, which had been rescued from a Suffolk field...after 20 years of slumber.
When it was time to go, I called out to Roberto. He excitedly walked back to us with a smile. We said our grateful goodbyes and entered into the street’s bright daylight.
Roberto followed and called out,
“Marisha, I know what I am going to dooo!”
“I’m going to make a film about The Ghost Bus!”
And so in March 2015, Roberto returned to Bartons to premiere his short film at The Ghost Bus Show. The journey and Ghost Bus Saga had begun. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, nearly a week later, on 26th May, Roberto was my interview guest at ACT ‘What’sOnDigital’ podcast and Facebook LIVE streaming show. He was speaking LIVE from his home at Bergamo, Italy. The city, you will remember, was one of the first Italian high casualty areas of COVID19.
I first questioned him about The Ghost Bus and what had been happening recently, namely my Letter from Beeston and his RadioVision production. So much history about Barton’s...and also about Jeanie Barton, Beeston’s singer-songwriter and Roberto’s musical arts collaborator. Roberto had first met Jeanie on that historic night. Now she was playing out our storytelling spot with her aptly composed Lockdown Lift lyrics to Glen Miller’s melody “In the Mood”. It was like sequence after sequence, stepping back in time but also keeping a sense of reality in our Covid19 times.
Watch the Facebook LIVE streamed show here incorporated into Roberto's blog - Art-Books-Music... https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2020/05/27/art-books-and-music-here-the-live-facebook-video-streaming-from-uk-and-italy/
Or you can just listen to the podcast on Home Page https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/
To give you further background about the Ghost Bus Saga, please read my and Roberto’s blogs covering 2019 and backwards to 2015. See and click below.
Roberto’s 4-8 June 2019 visit including Barton’s Garage “In Conversation with…” as YouTube film.
Here is The Ghost Bus ‘Roads’ Project - Introduction - The Ghost Bus is travelling!
We look forward to Lifting Lockdown. Our next What’sOnDigital show, before our summer break, will be on Tuesday 30th June, 16.30-17.00 hrs GMT. I hope you will be joining us and maybe participate live by commenting in the Chat Box. Here is the link below, so please do register your interest now.
We hope you will follow ACT and Roberto Alborghetti in our Adventures in the Land of Robin Hood both in the real and digital worlds.
Thank you for reading, listening and watching.
Andiamo! Let’s Go!
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This is a story about a story...and which includes many stories...
I had written a shorter version of my ‘Letter from Beeston’ on 14th May entitled ‘How my garden is helping me at the moment’ because it became my entry to BBC TV The One Show - RHS - My Chelsea Garden competition with ONE photograph of my garden.
On Friday 22nd May, the four category winners were announced and interviewed on The One Show by Alex Jones, Rylan Clark-Neal and guest Monty Don. Alex reported that the competition had received 7,500 entries so final selection was VERY difficult! I can well imagine Alex and Monty!
When the four category winners were declared I was NOT surprised I hadn’t won! They were amazing and very worthy indeed of their prize winning tickets to The Chelsea Flower Show 2021. Here they are:
Back Garden Winner. Terry Winters from Salisbury. Terry said: “I'm lucky to have a garden, many don't...
Indoor Garden Winner. Corinne Tokley-Packer from Tilbury. ...
Kids Corner Garden Winner. Clare and Henry Shepherd from Barnsley. ...
Front Garden Winner. Rosemary Fletcher from Dunstable.
You can watch the programme here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000jbtz/the-one-show-22052020
So, I wondered, why not now extend my original entry and write more about why my garden has helped me at the moment? This time, it includes personal characters I always remember when looking at my garden, namely, my Mum and Dad, and my dog TAG. So ‘My Letter from Beeston’ 3 evolved. Here it is with photograph and my story told in word and voice. Enjoy!
‘Letter from Beeston’ by Marysia Zipser
My garden is an inspiration for my visioning and planning. Nature, spatial awareness, Colours, Composition, Balance, Harmony, Solitude, Sanctuary. It becomes a canvas and palette on which my life conjures up and mixes natural lights, tints and shading. My garden becomes my journey.
During the present time, my garden has helped me focus on what matters most in life and what I wish to activate. From my writing and crafting to friendly everyday thoughts. Who, what and which to dismiss or weed out to make the pathway clearer and grabbing opportunities as they fall in front of me.
I have flowery reminders of my parents. My mum’s Hanky Panky rose has been flourishing and always brings big smiles. Her garden bench is now cornflower blue so I visualise her sitting and winking at me while sipping from her china mug of English tea. Dad was an engineer so he was the master landscaper and builder. He could build anything...from the large garage, the tall welded driveway gates, the apple and plum orchard, to the tennis court at our Gamston ‘Green Acres’ home. I can see him now smiling, mowing the vast expanse of lawn in between, before we held a fun garden or tennis party.
My own garden gate leads out to a park so my ‘garden room’ becomes an extension; enabling me to follow green pathways and a twitchell to our canal and river sides.
Memories too, of Gentleman Tag, my English wire-haired fox terrier, with sticky up ears, just like Herge drew Snowy’s Tin Tin. He would look up at me from a sunny spot cocooned among the lavenders, questioning, “So when are we going into the park Miss Zippy? I so want to meet my friends there, run and jump about with them...and play tag games.”
He would spark up and ask, “And... when are we going on our adventures again to historic places and parklands, and us prospecting and peering over the castle turrets??”
Adventures indeed, dear Tag.
For now, I just can't wait to see my Triffid-like Cardinal clematis unlock and open as well as the rambling Augustine roses, geraniums and smiling, uplifting Margaritas. Heavenly perfumes await me from lavenders Little Lady, Hidcote, Rosea and Grosso, mingled with Gertrude Jekyll roses and summer jasmine; all wafting around and enticing me to stroll among my garden’s camaraderie.
From dawn till dusk, my garden wildlife visitors nod their heads and sounds in harmony.
- Ends -
So now you understand WHY my Beeston garden has helped me through the years and why I have written my small illustrated book series “The Adventures of Tag and Miss Zippy” (to be published) because these books are also tourism aids about each region in England and Wales Tag and I explored together 2006-2017.
...and WHY every garden tells a story and, to me, WHY every plant in my garden tells a story.
Mum and Dad - Sonia and Mietek Zipser - and TAG, this story and my ‘Letter from Beeston’ is dedicated to YOU.
If you wish to read my further stories about my parents, Tag, my garden, my art, and my previous Letters from Beeston (and listen to), please go to this website BLOG. Additionally, if you wish to watch and listen to Art-Culture-Tourism’s Facebook LIVE video streaming recordings and hear our podcasts, please go on https://www.facebook.com/pg/artculturetourism/videos/?ref=page_internal of https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/ and PODCASTS.
My Art-Culture-Tourism GARDEN ART section is https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/garden-art.html
Thank you for reading and listening.
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At 16.30-17.00 hrs GMT https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/
ACT welcomes you this Tuesday 26th for our What’sOnDigital #Ep.3 LIVE Facebook streaming and podcast at 16.30-17.00 hrs GMT for our next episode with our team, Inna Schutts, Dawn Lindson and Marcus Gilmore, with Caron Lyon of PCM creative producing.
To those in Beeston-Nottingham, Roberto needs little introduction as he has been our Guest Artist annual visitor for the past five years. Our Ghost Bus website blogs illuminate his story and Visual Adventures in the Land of Robin Hood, and his last visit in 2019. https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/blog/category/ghost-bus-project
“Can you believe that this Art is from an old bus?” his 2015 film trailer asks. No, we couldn’t believe it Roberto, until you showed us! Go onto his blog site to find out more about him. https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/
I will be interviewing Roberto, live from Bergamo, not only about The Ghost Bus, but also about his online Vorticism: Lockdown exhibition and his active Italian educational and editorial program with schools.
We also welcome singer-songwriter Jeanie Barton https://jeaniebarton.com/ who began her collaborative musical arts journey with Roberto, when introduced to him, at the Ghost Bus Show on 27th March 2015 at its film premiere at Barton’s garage. Her recent experiences have been active composing and performing music with her Lockdown Lifts on YouTube and social networks.
You can also experience Roberto’s RadioVision production with my voice recording of “Letter from Beeston” broadcast on BBC Radio Nottingham last week.
All in all, it will be a very informative and entertaining show. Here are the links. Please go onto https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/ , Like the page, if you haven’t already, and scroll down Upcoming Events and click on May 26.
We hope to see you there. If you are unable to, you can easily watch this afterwards at your leisure, or listen to the podcast after its release later this week.
Andiamo! Let’s Go!
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Letter from Beeston
Here is my recording of my first Letter from Beeston which was submitted to BBC Local Radio Upload community project and broadcast on 4th May BBC Radio Nottingham on Arun Verma’s evening show. For those who wish to read my script it's published below the audio Download File.
I’ve been living and working in Beeston for the past eight years. Being born and educated in West Bridgford, I moved, in my early 20s, to London, then Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, including a few European stints, and returned, after 23 years, to the bosom of my family with my two young sons in 1997.
Beeston is a special place for me and where I’ll stay. It has a strong identity and sense of place with a community like no other place I’ve lived. From the start, I gravitated towards meeting local artists, writers, poets, musicians and photographers and couldn’t believe such wealth of creativity existed. The town, and Rylands area by the river and canal, are full of heritage buildings denoting its vibrant industrial past and entrepreneurial spirit. In my first few weeks of settlement in 2012, I ventured with Tag my dog, to Beeston canalside and riverside and imagined its heyday in Edwardian times with passing leisure boats and people relaxing on the grassy banks, like a scene from an Impressionist painting by George Seurat or Claude Monet.
We then found ourselves in front of the Boathouse Cafe by the marina. I tied up Tag outside and entered, looking, to my amazement, at the facing wall full of old photographs from Plessey and Boots’ days mounted like a mini-museum. I peered closely at the characters and sitting groups and they proudly looked back at me. Then I stood back in disbelief and called out to the manager,
“Is that really Mahatma Gandhi in this photograph?! It shows him visiting a Beeston house in October 1931.”
“Yes”, he said, “He visited his nephew Joshi who was doing student experience at Ericssons.”
“Do the people of Beeston know this?” I questioned him.
“Well, just a few I should imagine,” he replied back.
So that propelled me into my mission to find out more about the history of Beeston. You can imagine my delight when a few months later I found out that Beeston & Chilwell together had 24 Blue Plaques erected on buildings and planned to erect. And in 1918 a Blue Plaque was rightfully erected on the house in Linden Grove, Beeston Rylands, where Gandhi stepped into to visit Joshi for welcome tea and catch up chat.
My passion for art, heritage and heritage tourism has been flourishing ever since, so you can imagine the true stories I have discovered...and there’s still so much more to uncover.
For the update on this story please read my blog of 17 October 2018. Here is the link
Talking about letters and stories...have a read about this Nottstopping Festival happening this weekend... and its "Write Up My Street" project which is for your own community to get involved in.
Nottstopping Festival multi-arts online event 23-24 May :
A Bank Holiday Extravaganza Celebrating and Connecting Nottinghamshire whilst fundraising to provide gifts, treats and experiences for Frontline Workers. https://nottstoppingfestival.com/
This sounds really exciting with some wonderful local Notts projects all for a good cause to treat our Frontline Workers. I am promoting their Community Connect Project - ‘Write Up My Street’ stories, in partnership with the University of Nottingham.
Connect with people on your street and unleash your imagination to create a child friendly story. Write a paragraph (about anything) and then pass it onto your neighbour…and so on until…THE END. Find out what to do on this link below.
Here's the latest line-up news!
Many thanks for listening and reading this blog. Look forward to receiving any likes and comments below.
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Guest Blogspot by Patricia Poggi - Zuppa Inglese - English Trifle
This Guest Blogspot unfolds from when Patrizia Poggi and I first ‘met’ each other in 2018 via social media and discovered our mutual passions for art, culture and tourism intertwining with our love of history, literature, music, food and drink.
Patrizia currently manages a historical residence immersed in the Romagna countryside, the Relais Villa Roncuzzi, once owned by the Poor Clares of Ravenna. A welcoming environment, an intimate atmosphere, rich in art and culture for a pleasant stay in the cradle of Byzantine Art of Ravenna, UNESCO heritage and from the Po Delta Park.
In Ravenna rest the mortal remains of Dante Alighieri, the universal poet of the Divine Comedy, whose 700 years of his death will be celebrated throughout Italy in 2021.
Dante Alighieri & Ghino di Tacco (from the Divine Comedy), by Joe Ganech. Commissioned by Marysia Zipser for ACT ‘Italy Art and Photography’ Exhibition, 9-31 March, 2018, at Beeston, Nottingham.
Villa Roncuzzi is a small charming hotel in the heart of Romagna, halfway between Bologna, Florence and Venice. But also a perfect place for those who want to discover Emilia-Romagna.
Her tourism project is to get familiar with the nature, traditions and culture of Romagna. There
have been many cultural events at the Relais Villa Roncuzzi, including the launch of the book "Dining with Pope Francis | Food in the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio” by Roberto Alborghetti.
Patrizia reveals her journey in a personal way to share her experience with us. The backdrop of photographs taken during one May day is dedicated with her family to making English soup. She says about the day, “It was a creative moment full of family and sweet affections.” These photos were taken by her 17 year-old art student granddaughter Carlotta Armiento.
So our own friendship has blossomed, just like her villa garden roses, exploring together her stories about this region of Italy. I am sure you will savour her first part of Imaginary Culinary Journey through Romagna.
Patrizia relates her story here...
I would like to begin our imaginary journey through Romagna food. I thought about the bond with your Land and today I propose the legendary Zuppa Inglese (English soup). A typical Romagna dessert, which you can enjoy with your family or at the restaurant. It is a combination of layers of donut soaked in Alchermes that alternate with two types of custard, one classic yellow and one with cocoa.
The recipe codified by Pellegrino Artusi is the first written recipe of the Zuppa Inglese, but its origin is still shrouded in mystery. If you ask some Romagnolo he will tell you that it has been made in Romagna for centuries, the party dessert that all grandmothers prepare for their grandchildren. Its origins are mysterious. But why is it called Zuppa Inglese (English soup)? Does England have anything to do with this? But is this the case?
Marysia asks, “Maybe someone out there can answer Patrizia’s questions…?
The first written recipe can be found in "The science of cooking and the art of eating well" by Pellegrino Artusi, published in 1891. By the way, this year is the bicentenary of the birth of Pellegrino Artusi!
The photo is taken by Casa Artusi of Forlimpopoli (Forlì) . Casa Artusi was founded in the name of cultured gastronomist from Forlimpopoli Pellegrino Artusi, who can be found in many homes, both in Italy and abroad, through his manual (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well). Casa Artusi is at the same time Library, Museum, cookery school, restaurant, wine cellar and location for events. Casa Artusi is the first living Museum of domestic cuisine!
At the end of the 19th century, English soup was widespread in at least three Italian regions:
Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Marche and each of them declared their authorship, but only in Emilia and Romagna was Zuppa Inglese (English soup) already known in the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth century, in England, trifle was widespread, which seems to be the forerunner, a dessert with a base of cake (or biscuits), soaked in sweet wine with pieces of fruit and covered with cream. Trifle in English has meant trifle and in French with deception while in Italian soup, figuratively, it is said to be a ‘hodgepodge’. The trifle was widespread in England in the 1700s.
Can someone explain how and why it arrived in Romagna in the 1700s?
At the end of the seventeenth century, James II of England married a fifteen-year-old Catholic princess, Maria Beatrice d'Este of the Dukes of Modena and Reggio (known as Mary of Modena in England). The two first married with a Catholic rite then with a short ceremony with Anglican rite to make the wedding official.
The history of this king is intertwined with France, Holland, Spain and Rome in a dynastic soup with wars, assassins, legitimate invented children, escapes, coups, supremacy between Protestants and Catholics, papal plots in one general confusion due to the alternation of the supremacy of the Anglican Church over the Catholic one and vice versa.
Thus James himself, a fervent Catholic, endorsed a law with which all people who held a public, civil or military office, were obliged to take the oath of supremacy and loyalty to the Anglican Church, including the king. At the same time he signed another similar law, but contrary, in which those who refused to take an oath and remained firm in the Protestant faith were persecuted with cruelty.
James II Stuart was king of England, Scotland, Ireland and titular king of France from 1685 to 1688;
he was the last ruler of the Stuart dynasty and the last Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland; his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance.
During the civil war that led to the proclamation of the republic of Cromwell, James managed to escape first to Holland, then to France and then to Spain.
In 1672 he officially converted to Catholicism, attracting the hostility of the Anglican Church, wandering between his Catholic and Protestant faiths in England, in an infinite series of quibbles
In 1673, when he married Maria Beatrice, discontent in Parliament was such that news spread that Maria was a papal spy. James ascended the throne, launching a series of reforms in favor of Catholicism, supported by the Pope and France, stifling a revolt led by his nephew in his blood. In 1688, the birth of a male heir, (precluded the rise to the throne of James's first bed daughter, Maria Stuarda of Protestant faith), increased general discontent, insinuated that the child was born dead and had been replaced by another.
The leaders of the parliamentary opposition began to secretly with the son-in-law of the king, husband of Maria Stuart, William of Orange, to facilitate his ascent to the English throne. The so-called Glorious Revolution broke out in 1688 and ended with the establishment of a constitutional monarchy of parliamentary appointment and with the recognition of the two new rules, William and Maria Stuart.
James took refuge in France, from where he made a vain attempt to reconquer the throne.
So? It is probable that the dessert arrived through Maria Beatrice d'Este on the table of the dukes of Modena and Reggio, then spreading in the Romandiola, the Romagna estense (Lugo, Bagnacavallo, Cotignola, Conselice, Massa Lombarda, Sant'Agata sul Santerno and Fusignano), keeping the name English soup because it metaphorically recalled the tragic English events.
Here's the recipe...
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and the flour until everything becomes a white foam, then, a little at a time, add the milk previously heated and flavored with the 1/2 lemon peel. Stir continuously to avoid forming lumps. If lumps are formed, simply pass the cream with the immersion blender and it will return smooth and homogeneous. Let it cool to room temperature.
Prepare the chocolate cream, let the chopped chocolate melt in a water bath. Separately we mix flour, sugar, add a little milk to mix, then the melted chocolate and continue to add milk until completely dissolved. We put on the fire and let it thicken.
Then prepare the bagna of Alchermes, mixing liqueur, water and icing sugar.
Soak the donut for a few seconds in the alchermes bagna. Arrange the English soup in the serving dish and decorate the dish by placing the donut soaked in alchermes around it and pouring a few drops of the remaining liquid on the cream. Place in the fridge for 6 hours and then serve on the table.
Then enjoy Zuppa Inglese!
We hope you have enjoyed reading this and savoured our shared experience. Because you will be invited to travel again with Patrizia on Part Two of her “Imaginary Culinary Journey through Romagna”.
If you have any comments, or can answer any of the questions Patrizia and I ask about Zuppe Inglese - English soup - we would love to hear from you, either in the Comment box below or via email.
Many thanks - molto grazie.
Marysia Zipser & Patrizia Poggi
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