Wednesday 11 December 2013

Whalley Pilgrimage

I set off before 6.30 am on my walk to Whalley.  It was beautiful both in the dark and later by daylight.  The half moon reflected off the canal; no need for a torch.

The church at Whalley was open when I arrived soon after 2pm and after borrowing a match I lit a candle in the Lady Chapel.

Monday 9 December 2013

'. . . the soule of Margaret Nowell. . .'

Tomorrow I am setting out to walk, in a spirit of pilgrimage, the sixteen or so miles to Whalley.  The church there having been a place of prayer for the Nowell family at least since 1500.

There is an obit in the Cuerden Psalter's kalendar for December 10th; "Praye for the soule of Margaret Nowell whose body departyd the secunde sondaye of advent in the XXVIII yere of Henry VIII" (10th Dec 1536).

Sadly church records of deaths began two years later.  However there is mention of a Margaret Nowell, daughter of John Nowell of Read, marrying in 1530.  She was sister to Alexander Nowell (Dean of St Paul's), Laurence Nowell - and at least ten other siblings.

Saturday 30 November 2013

November - Remembrance Day

The Cuerden Psalter's 'labour of the month' shows a figure knocking down acorns, from an oak tree to feed his three pigs.  This year there has been a particularly heavy crop of acorns and other mast so the sixty days of 'pannage', when foresters let their pigs out to forage on the New Forest, has been extended.

However free-range pigs are not a part of rural Lancashire life today - but Remembrance Day is.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Hidden Hart Colloquium

Yesterday I was in London at the Hidden Hart colloquium; Blackburn's "Worthy Citizen", listening to some fascinating papers and giving a talk myself.

The programme and abstracts can be read via

Debs Thorpe, who presented a paper 'Northern Soul: An Eight Hundred Year-Old Collection in a Yorkshire Sixth-Form College', has since posted a blog reflecting on aspects of the colloquium;

Sunday 17 November 2013

The Cuerden Psalter

The Cuerden Psalter now belongs to the Pierpoint Morgan Library in New York, where it has been since they purchased it in 1929, three years after the death of Reginald Arthur Tatton.

Images and information about the Psalter can be found by searching the catalogue on the Corsair Morgan website

The book long belonged with Lancashire families; Nowell (1536), Peter Brooke of Astley, Robert Townley Parker and  Reginald Tatton.  It is the very here and now of rural Lancashire communities that I am endeavouring to 'connect' with the vellum pages of the psalter.

Monday 23 September 2013

Un-pickling Aspic; Video on LEP website

A brief article and video posted on LEP website on 17th September

Leading councillor Tom Burns from Preston City Council said: “On the whole the Harris Flights were a great success.
“I went every weekend and there was always something really interesting going on.
“This is the first time we have done anything like this and we plan to do more cultural programmes such as this in the future.
“The flights really drew people into the museum and it was so good to see so many families going into see the exhibits at the Harris and getting involved with the interactive displays.
“There are things that we can take from the success of the flights. Things we can use in the near future to enhance the city centre even further
for visitors coming into Preston.”

Tuesday 17 September 2013

A Perfumed Performance

Saturday 14th September was a beautiful day on the Harris Flights. . . . . William de Hamel, Laura Brewer and I presented our piece - Unpickling Aspic. . . . Tim Emmerton kindly took the photographs.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Un-pickling Aspic on the Harris Flights

We will be taking jelly to the Harris Museum, Preston, on Saturday 14th September at 3.00pm.
The performance, inspired by working with the residents at Cuerden Hall and referencing the Harris Museum's collection of scent bottles, is part of the Harris Flights programme.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Where to now?

We all learnt a lot about jelly through making them for the Jelly Jamboree. . . .
. . . . even with a support it is impossible to build high. . . .
. . . . unless inside the support! 

Friday 17 May 2013

The Jelly Jamboree marquee is up!

The Jelly Jamboree Marquee is up - in the walled orchard of Cuerden Valley Park - awaiting you and your jellies.

Today's Lancashire Evening Post - 'Olivia is throwing a wobbler for art'

Artist Olivia Keith is preparing to put on Preston’s first Jelly Jamboree.
On Saturday, during the Cuerden Valley Fair in Cuerden Valley Park, she will be hosting a marquee, filled with wobbly wonders of all sizes and shapes.
During the day there will be a competition for the best-looking jelly, a jelly throwing game, a jelly lucky dip and an exploding volcano jelly.
The UCLAN student of Marsh Lane, Brindle, came up with the idea after volunteering her art sessions at the Sue Ryder Care Home in Cuerden Hall, beside the country park.
She said: “Jelly is incredibly flexible - you can change its shape and colour, it’s not particularly messy, and it’s easy to work with.
“The folks at Cuerden Hall are profoundly affected by neurological conditions, but with jelly, they have been able to explore artistic experiences.
“They may be physically limited, but the sky is the limit with their ideas.
“One lady wanted to make a jelly that looked like a golden labrador, and was amazed when she was able to use real gold leaf in the design.
“Jelly is something fun, but it also can have a serious side to it, if it helps someone to express themselves.
“It will be great if some of them are able to come along to the fair and join in the fun.”
Members of the public are also urged to join in the activites, which run from 10am to 4pm.
Olivia added: “I’m hoping to put on a jelly-throwing competition, similar to the traditional country game of throwing an egg.
“Two people will be asked to throw jelly back and forth, moving further and further apart. The winning pair will be the ones who get furthest apart before it goes splat.
“We’ll also have a traditional lucky dip, but instead of having sand, we’ll have jelly.
“It will be quite an experience putting your hands through all of the jelly.”
The main spectacle will be at 1.30pm when a volcano-shaped jelly will erupt, using a secret method.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Categories in the Jelly Competition

Just as any work of art can be appreciated for a wide range of reasons, at the Jelly Jamboree your jellies will be judged for a number of qualities. . . . There will awards for the most colourful, wobbly, funny, extraordinary. . . . . And many, many other categories.

Members of the public will also be invited to become art critics by judging the entries. 

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Some inspirational jelly stories . . . . .


In recent years there has been a considerable revival of interest in jelly.  Here are links to just a few amazing web pages. . . . .

Sunday 28 April 2013

JELLY JAMBOREE at Cuerden Valley Park Fair on Saturday 18th May

Sue Ryder Cuerden Hall and I are to hold a JELLY JAMBOREE as part of the Cuerden Valley Park Fair on Saturday 18th May.  We will be based in our own marquee.  There will be activities and displays of jellies. . . . . .including a free-to-enter jelly competition. . . .

Thursday 25 April 2013

HELLO Cuerden


I'm Olivia Keith, an artist, and I'm also studying for an MA at the university in Preston.

Jelly has a long and fascinating story.  Used for preservation and celebration, jelly is now the inspiration for my work at Cuerden.

I will be working on the project during the next few months and everyone at Cuerden is invited to be involved in some way. . . . sharing memories, experimenting with materials, watching processes and celebrating outcomes!

If you see me around please do introduce yourself - I'd be glad to meet you.  You are also welcome to email me your thoughts.

Thank you.