5 minutes with Amy Sharrocks

Museum of Water artist Amy Sharrocks (Photo: Ruth Corney) Bottles from Museum of Water by Amy Sharrocks Bottles from Museum of Water (Photo: Ben Blossom)

Introducing 5 minutes with… Amy Sharrocks..

Who is… a sculptor, filmmaker and live artist presenting Museum of Water, from 6 – 8 May at Wray Castle Boat House, as part of Lakes Ignite 2016.

For 10 years I have been working with people and water, investigating our relationship, and how this extraordinary liquid impacts on our lives.
I feel like making a new Monty Python sketch, “but what has it ever done for us?”
Well of course, it keeps us alive. Oh yes, and keeps us clean.
Oh and takes us across oceans. Boats? yes… Swimming? oh yes there’s that too.
Putting out fires? Rivers, icebergs, glaciers, ponds, lakes, puddles? Oh, a fluid way of thinking?
A shimmering, myriad presence offering an alternative to our otherwise hard-edged world?
… the list goes on.

For the last few years I have been travelling around the UK and Europe, slowing building a topography of our lives lived with water. I have heard how the shifting sands of the Wyre Estuary have affected the livelihoods of the people living there, and how Swansea has dredged and filled its harbour, changing the course of its river to suit its population, how the swimming pool of Leamington Spa has become a library, and how much the people of Birmingham miss the sea… I am really looking forward to visiting the Lakes with Museum of Water and hearing about the experience of water here in this most archetypal centre of England’s water life.

Museum of Water is at Wray Castle Boat House between 6 – 8 May alongside England’s longest lake, to ponder our precious liquid resource.

Tell us more… in 2013 I began Museum of Water, inviting people to bring me water, any water, in any kind of bottle. 5 of us stood on a street corner in Soho, London, stopping passersby to talk about their water, showing the waters already given, listening carefully to people’s words on their own history of water and encouraging them to bring us more. It began as a way of asking people to explore for themselves exactly what it was that they most prized about water, and to re-consider this seemingly undervalued resource and often overlooked relationship.

Over the last 3 years, the collection has travelled to 40 sites across the UK and Europe and has grown to over 700 bottles. In May we are bringing most of the collection to the Boat House at Wray Castle. We are so excited to be coming to the Lakes, it has to be some kind of spiritual home for people who work in a Museum of Water!

Please come and see us at Museum of Water at Wray Castle Boat House, have a look at the waters we have gathered, and tell us what you love about water

Why is this special to you… This is an extraordinary time to be bringing Museum of Water to the Lakes.

Cumbria has had a cataclysmic experience with water lately, with 3 ‘once in a lifetime’ floods squeezed into 10 years. I hope to hear what that was like to live through, how it feels to have to recover repeatedly from such a devastating experience with water.

In the past, towns and cities have clustered around water, but now we seem to be defending against water more than welcoming it. This will be increasingly true for future generations, perhaps, so it is timely to think about it now. What can be learnt from these years of flooding?

Museum of Water, created by artist Amy Sharrock, is part of Lakes Ignite 2016 (Photo: Banff-photo.com)
Museum of Water, created by artist Amy Sharrock, is part of Lakes Ignite 2016 (Photo: Banff-photo.com)

What can audiences expect… We can show you water from before the last ice age, from the last warm period in the earth’s history, 129,000 years ago, or water from a muddy puddle in Birmingham from an 8 year old girl who just loves splashing around, we have the remnants of a water fight, or corporation pop and duck wine, we have water from a Masai village, tears of joy and furious tears from a 6 year old girl after she got a new baby brother…

The UK collection for Museum of Water is now closed, but you can write about the water you would have brought in our growing collection of writing about water.

The Brewery Arts Centre are looking for one bottle to be given to the collection, that might explore something of the experience shared by so many people in Cumbria, so they are keen to hear from anyone who has a bottle of the good stuff.

Come and talk to us about what you like about water. We have the original and first pop up Water Bar in the UK, serving only tap water, so no one will go home thirsty.

Did I mention you can arrive by boat?

If you could name only 3 unmissable cultural hot spots or events in the Lakes – what would they be…

I love Andy Goldsworthy’s work, so I am keen to see his Sheepfolds… and I’ve wanted to go to Grizedale Arts Centre for years…

But stepping out of your door to the landscape of Cumbria is one of the most unmissable cultural events I can think of.

Invite someone for a walk. Perhaps don’t decide beforehand where you will go, but see where you end up, be influenced by each other.

Sharing a walk with someone different opens up all sorts of possibilities for new experience.

In a nutshell how would you describe the cultural offer in the Lakes… The Lakes keep coming up with new and marvellous ways to get involved in the extraordinary offer of this landscape.

And after a cultural adventure in the Lakes, where would be your ideal place to eat or stay… I am looking forward to staying in the Waterhead Hotel in Lake Road, Ambleside.

And we just have to ask.. if you could choose one view in the Lakes where would that be… The view of Lake Windermere that I took with my camera the first time I came here has been sustaining me over the last months of dry city life until I could come back

// Museum of Water, Wray Castle Boat House between 6 – 8 May

Open 10am – 6pm daily | Admission is free

Museum of Water’s appearance at Wray has been commissioned by Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre and is being supported by Windermere Lakes Cruises who will be transporting the bottles across Windermere by boat to Wray Castle and running a special service to the boathouse for visitors who want a car-free visit to the museum.

Windermere Lake Cruises to Museum of Water

You can take the Green Cruise from Ambleside (Waterhead) or Brockhole piers to get to the Wray Castle Boat House – there are currently 7 trips a day.

See the full timetable and book your tickets online via the Windermere Lake Cruises website for visitors who want a car-free visit to the museum.

// Lakes Ignite 2016

Featuring a programme of outstanding contemporary art experiences, Lakes Ignite 2016 is an eclectic celebration of artistic expression inspired by the stunning Lake District landscape, with a theme reflecting the region’s long and complex relationship with water in all its forms.

Lakes Ignite 2016 – celebrating art and culture in the Lake District that sparks your imagination from 30 April – 22 May, is supported by United Utilities.

Museum of Water, created by artist Amy Sharrocks, at Wray Castle Boat House from 6 - 8 May
Museum of Water, created by artist Amy Sharrocks, at Wray Castle Boat House from 6 – 8 May