Working with two young fathers from Torquay we visited Torquay Museum to look at their extraordinary bronze figurines that were found in a ditch near Newton Abbot and are one of a kind in England. These small bronze figures, including a duck with a fish in it’s beak and a deer, inspired us to think about creating one bronze talisman that would ‘hold’ qualities that the father’s would like to pass onto their sons and one bronze talisman that would ‘hold’ the quality they most treasured in themselves. Choosing an animal to model based on the cave bones of huge beasts found in the caves in Torquay, they made wax figures of a cave wolf, bear, cave tiger and woolly rhino. We inserted small rolls of paper with the words they wanted the animals to represent. These tiny wax animal figures where then encased in plaster before having molten bronze (made from a propeller from an old boat) poured into them. Cracking open the plaster the men revealed their makes which then went on to be displayed at Torquay Museum as part of ‘Britain’s Oldest Human’ Exhibition with the Natural History Museum.

Museum of Now

In 2015 ‘Museum of Now‘ took place in Torquay, culminating in an exhibition of unique objects hand made entirely from local, natural or recycled materials by people who live or work in the town.

Several of these objects have now been chosen by the museum to become part of their permanent collection.

Encounters is currently developing ‘Museum of Now’ in order to bring it to other communities, initially in Torbay but then further afield across the region. The programme will link to the venues specific mission and public engagement outcomes and will be highly aspirational in bridging collections and exhibitions with the contemporary concerns of local people through the making of objects.

Curating safe spaces both inside and outside museums where guided conversations, craft learning and creative expression can thrive amongst participants, the potential makes range from large communal objects to smaller individual ones.  Walking and talking, meeting and making, and communal gathering, researching and sorting of materials will be central to the programme. With skilled craftspeople attached and subject specialists bringing depth to the ‘themes’ of each object, the end works will be of a high quality and imaginative content, reflecting vital social histories to be preserved for the future.

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