The Sill, is a new landscape discovery centre in beautiful Northumberland, very close to many of the famous Roman sites along Hadrian’s Wall. The Sill helps visitors to look deeper into the landscape, culture, history and heritage of Northumberland.
Last year, whilst The Sill was still being built, I was asked by the Education Team to work with them on creating some interactive bags for schools and community groups to use whilst visiting their building and galleries.
A large part of last year I spent working on the Shipley Art Galleries Centenary Quilt but as soon as that was finished, we started planning in more detail what interactive materials The Sill would benefit from first and how they would like them to look. So the first two interactive bags I worked on was the Moorland Curlew Bag and the Geology bag.
The Moorland Curlew bag was great fun to make. The bag itself is large enough to carry all the interactive pieces in plus room for teachers notes. I always find children love as much opportunity to dress up – so any chance to make wings and masks is great!
The Curlew bag also had a crochet nest, with eggs plus worms for the Curlew to eat!
Habitat bags always need a predator and what better than a fox – great fun for interactive role play!
The Moorland Curlew bag itself had two sides, as the curlews nest in the moorland building their nests on the floor and they also spend their time at the seaside amongst the mudflats – which you may have seen, with their long, curled, distinctive beaks.
The geology bag looked at how the stone and the Whin Sill had been created over thousands of years. The bag itself illustrates very simply how the stratigraphic layers in the area have built up to create the landscape and stone in the area.
To help illustrate to children visiting with schools and community groups, small textile panels were made to show how the local stone is used in Hadrian’s Wall, making roads, sandstone walls and limestone kilns.
This bag was also quilted so that rocks and stones, plus other materials could safely be placed inside.
These bags have now been delivered and I am now working on a ‘Dark Skies and Mythology’ bag plus a large, layered map which will be used up on the grassed roof, to assist discussions about how the landscape has changed over the last two thousand years.