1,100 Rosebuds, Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall
1,100 Rosebuds was a participatory project that took place over the period of one week in Newlyn Art Gallery in the fishing village of Newlyn in Cornwall. The project drew on an important historical event as well as referencing the industry of tin mining, for which Cornwall is famous, by using tin as a material.
The story of the Rosebud fishing boat is very famous in Newlyn. In 1937 eight Newlyn fishermen sailed in the local fishing boat, the Rosebud, to London from Newlyn to take a petition to the Government protesting the demolition of their homes. Visitors to the gallery, pupils from local schools and members of community groups made 1,100 tin rosebuds over the course of one week. We used tin because the tin mining industry formed an important part of Cornwall's industrial heritage which has died out.
On the last day the installation was complete, and everyone was invited to return to take their rosebuds away as a memento of their experience and a reminder of the story of the Rosebud and its contemporary relevance. Photographs and a model of the Rosebud, made by and loaned to the project by Raymond Peake, son of the original boat builder, were brought to the gallery for display. As the exhibition and event progressed over the week, local residents brought memorabilia related to the story of The Rosebud for display in this space. This participatory project was realised through a project located in three locations.
For the exhibition I also made forty-eight embossed tin plaques, recounting the story of the Rosebud which we hung in the ground floor gallery space. They contained texts taken with permission from Michael Sagar Fenton’s book about the Rosebud, excerpts from personal letters and news clippings. Joy Batten, whose grandfather sailed on the Rosebud to Westminster, loaned a letter he wrote from London about the journey.
Visitors to this space could listen to sound recordings of interviews with people who had a link to the story of The Rosebud or the issues related to regeneration, such as the fishing industry or housing. As the exhibition and event progressed over the week, local residents brought memorabilia related to the story of The Rosebud for display in this space. Raymond Peake, son of the Rosebud’s boat builder loaned photographs and a model he made of the Rosebud.
This project was a CST (Coal, Salt and Tin) project supported by PALP (Artists Led Initiatives in Penwith), Arts Council of England National Touring Programme and Southwest Arts.
NAVIGATING PLACES, by Jane Watt, see pages 46 & 47