'Without libraries what are we? We have no past and no future.' Ray Bradbury.
I'm passionate about libraries, what they have given (and continue to give) to generations of readers, writers, kids, students, researchers, local history searchers... the list goes on and on.
My local library Hayfield, in the High Peak, has just given me a little more, I've had 5 sessions there as artist in residence for the project Stitching the Wars.
Stitching the Wars always had an exhibition tour of Libraries in Derbyshire planned, but not workshops whilst the project was in full flow. However plans have to change sometimes, I've never had any problem gathering wonderful, electric, eclectic, reminiscence- the groups are always happy to talk and talk- but the stitching of the quilt was getting behind schedule, there is no way round it, hand stitching is time consuming! I needed some more concentrated 'making' time for the quilt, time to take stock of the work so far and gather together some volunteers to help stitch. This came with abundance at the library. In addition it gave me an opportunity to exhibit the artwork (in progress) to an audience who might not normally venture into an art gallery, or come along to one of arthur+martha sessions.
Hayfield Library is a warm and welcoming place, thanks largely to friendly, relaxed and helpful staff and a light an airy space. Most days there was a fairly constant stream of people visiting my sewing/art table, some after seeing the posters, some making a repeat visit, some happening on the event by chance. It was a much needed productive and relaxed time.
Whilst I was undertaking my artist residency, there was also an informative exhibition to mark the Centenary of the First World War, wonderful to see all of the historic documents, a useful and moving addition to 'Stitching the Wars'.
I'm off to take back that overdue book first thing tomorrow....
Thanks again to Christine and all the wonderful staff at Hayfield Library.