Sound recordings Wildlife

Beatrix Potter and Jackdaws

4 May 2013

Jackdaws at Hill Top
Jackdaws at Hill Top
Brown ink studio drawing using twig from Beatrix Potter's garden in response to Jackdaw recording
Brown ink studio drawing using twig from Beatrix Potter’s garden in response to Jackdaw sound recording

At the start of March I went to the Lake District for a short break, to be inspired by the beautiful scenery. As part of our schedule (there has to be a schedule, even though Scott isn’t keen and thinks a holiday should be for relaxing), we stayed in Windermere and spent most of our time exploring Orrest Head, Lake Windermere and Hill Top (Beatrix Potter’s house and garden).

In between walking, bird watching/listening, picnicking, taking photographs and collecting feathers and twigs, we took a Lake cruise and Mountain Goat (that’s a mini bus not an actual goat) to Hill Top to explore Beatrix Potter’s house. Every inch was filled with beautiful objects, paintings and furniture, including a small basket next to her bed for her pet pig!

The house still boasts some of her original furniture, my favourite room contained her desk, where she created some of the best-loved children’s books of all time. This room felt special because it was where she would write letters to family and friends and a space where she could invent new colourful characters for her books. I imagined her painting at her desk, with the sun pouring through the window and the sound of the birds from the garden below, I touched the desk when the assistant wasn’t looking, hoping that some of her magical talent would rub off on me.

Walking around her garden and allotment we spotted rabbits hoping around the lawn, blue tits and robins in the trees and groups of Jackdaws perched on the roof of her house.

I didnt have my sound recording equipment with me to capture the sounds of the Jackdaws, so I used a sound recording taken from Bradgate Park to create some drawings. The first image was created using drawing ink and a twig from Beatrix Potter’s garden. The willow charcoal drawing was another response to the Jackdaw recording, which also used natural objects to create a textured composition.

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.

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