Sunday, 19 March 2017

A visit to Touchstones, by Bryony Bainbridge

We were invited to Touchstones in Rochdale where we are first showing the Doc Rowe archive project. What an amazing vibrant space! Downstairs is an incredible interactive museum full to the brim of local history which you are invited to touch and smell and experience on every sensory level possible.

I could have spent hours just in that first space exploring all the stories and weird facts from in and around Rochdale. One particular weird medical tradition we were presented with was a bright red candle in the exact shape and size of a baby. This fascinated Anna in particular! This Baby candle was used to ward off illness in newborn babies. It was very creepy looking!

Anna taking a look at some of the artefacts on show

We headed onwards and upwards to the Contemporary Art gallery, a beautiful bright open collection of rooms perfectly presented for the display of contemporary artwork. The space allocated for us is Gallery 3, a brilliant room right in the centre of the gallery which filled all three of us with so much excitement and really helped develop our ideas.

We were then taken up to the archive, which should be renamed Aladdin's Cave! Woah nelly, what an incredible place. So many precious, beautifully stored items. Every single item could have its very own project. To see so many pieces ranging from Egyptian beads to Grandfather clocks, it was like being a child presented with a room full to the ceiling with sweeties! Everything laid out before uw, centuries old and enticing uw to form stories and tall tales. Both Nat and I were fully immersed our eyes drinking in what our hands could not touch. Such a tangible environment for artists to be in. We were very well behaved though and it just made us even more excited to get back to Doc Rowe's archive and talk and explore with him.

All images courtesy of Bryony Bainbridge