I have to admit I’d never heard of Sophie Ryder before but I am on the mailing list for Lakeside Arts which covers Djanogly Gallery (based on the University of Nottingham campus) and I was intrigued by the photos of her work so I made a mental note to go visit and as is often the case with these things didn’t actually get around to it until it was in its last week (it closed on 12 March).
Ryder is known for her large scale sculptures of animals including her own invention called the Ladyhare and the classic minotaur future. This exhibition focused on some of her smaller pieces, which gives you an idea of just how large her bigger sculptures must be! They are stunning and one of the things I was most intrigued by was the inclusion of extra details in the sculptures like cassettes and smaller sculptures within bigger ones.
I didn’t take any photos of the drawings on display, mostly of her own dogs which were incredibly lifelike, but what I did photograph were her wire drawings – these were created by manipulating a mesh of twisted wires to create flattened images on the wall. They were brilliant and I was able to get very close up to them to admire the skill involved in creating such a large piece of art.
Some of my other favourites included this minotaur seeing itself in a mirror and this minotaur with the Ladyhare.
A bit odd yes, but lovely and I’m glad I made the time to visit. You can find some more photos here.
Nottingham has a great deal of green spaces many of which I’ve never actually visited, so this year I’ve decided to try and visit more of them. Arnot Hill Park was the first of these, which I picked solely because I happened to be roughly in the area on the day. It was easy to get to by bus – there’s a stop right outside the entrance on Nottingham Road.
On this trip I entered the reserve via the Beeston Canal towpath which I haven’t done before. It was foggy to start off with though not actually all that cold, even though large parts of the lakes and ponds were frozen. You can’t get lost on this route (or really any of the different routes around the nature reserve) so we just followed it until we decided we needed a cup of tea (first time I’ve used a flask in ages!) and then headed back the way we’d come to where we’d parked the car.
A few weekends back I decided to go for a walk around Attenborough Nature Reserve. I was planning on getting the train there (a quick 10 minutes or so from Nottingham Railway Station) but my dad asked if he could tag along so he drove us there. However the car park was the busiest I have ever seen it, we couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere, so instead we drove to near the Beeston Lock/Beeston Marina section of the canal where you can park on the street for free and walked along the canal and into the Nature Reserve from there. It was very sunny if a bit cold near my house but once we reached the canal we were surprised to see a great deal of fog, though it made for some very atmospheric photos.
Light Night is always a highlight of Nottingham’s cultural calendar and this, its 15th year, showcased a lot of new attractions to visit and photograph. It takes part over two days and most things (though not all) are available on both days so usually we just go on the Friday evening. There is a quite handy official app that I use to plan the route around the city (there’s so much going on its impossible to do everything). Our first stop was at Sneinton Market Square where they had these giant bubbles called Evanescent created by Australian artists Atelier Sisu that is I believe touring the country (they were in London last month). They’re quite fun and the changing colours were very pretty.
The Exchange building in Nottingham was the city’s first shopping centre, opened in 1929. Found next to the Council House the Christmas decorations and tree have been of the same pretty design for around five years now but it’s worth a quick walk through if you’re visiting the nearby Winter Wonderland.
Tis the season for a lot of Christmas themed activities on the blog. Nottingham Winter Wonderland is back after a slightly disastrous attempt to return during the height of COVID. Lots of the familiar stalls have returned including delicious looking food offerings, several bars and the ice rink, though this year this has been expanded to include The Sky Skate, a covered terrace and ice path above the market, the only one of its kind in the UK, and which was proving very popular. [The official website linked above has better pics than I’d manage]. Winter Wonderland opened on November 15 and runs until December 31.
On Monday I had a lovely lunch with a friend at The Cosy Club, Nottingham. She’d asked me to pick the venue and I chose here because I’ve always been fascinated by this building which is just around the corner from the Market Square in the centre of Nottingham. The Cosy Club, a chain of restaurants, moved in at the beginning of 2020, and then promptly had to close because of COVID. However they’ve now reopened and seem to be doing very well judging by how busy it was (we managed to get a table in the bar area without booking, but absolutely book in advance if there’s a larger group and at dinner time). Prior to this the building had been vacant for nearly 20 years and as you’ll see they’ve done a great job of restoring it to its former glory.
On my most recent visit to Woodthorpe Grange Park I went to have a look around the Plant Shop and saw that the Tropical House was open. I haven’t been inside for probably at least a decade because it has had some very odd opening hours, but now I see they are keeping it open at the same time as the shop, so Monday-Sunday 10-4. There’s been a nursery (in the flower sense!) at Woodthorpe since the 1920s and the flower displays that adorn the city during the spring and summer and for the Britain in Bloom and other competitions in Nottingham are grown here; the shop sells off excess stock as well as locally produced gifts.
On 27 November 1982 Elton John performed the inaugural concert at the Royal Concert Hall and to celebrate its 40th anniversary they opened up their doors today (12 November 2022) for a free open day which included backstage tours, music performances and an exhibition on the construction of the building and past performers. It proved very popular, more so than I think the venue was expecting. I got there at just after 10am and joined an already long queue and it took about 40 minutes or so to snake through the building to the start of the tour but it was very good natured, I got chatting to strangers as we waited and the staff were lovely and very organised.