Folklore Ideas

Thinking about my folklore project.

When the word folklore was spoken last week at Uni I had two thoughts come to mind.

1. Canal boats and canal art

2. Beaches

Canal art is never really far from my mind, I have a ‘never-gonna-happen’ dream of owning a canal boat and going from town to town selling wool. But apart from spending summer drawing painted flowers that’s my limit of folklore

Beaches and folklore?

Ok, so tell me if you think I’m going insane here, but seaside folklore…

The summer project asks us to explore a place and create a series of drawings that explore the history, culture, heritage, customs and rituals of your chosen place.

I did a little mind map, what we used to call brain storm. I had a manager who told us we weren’t supposed to use the words brain storm anymore because it made assumptions (like everyone has a brain?) and he was quite serious. So Mind Mapping the seaside, or more specifically, THE BRITISH SEASIDE.

Bucket & spade – Tacky seaside gifts – Kiss me quick hats – deckchairs – men with hankies on their heads – burying dad – ice cream – rude postcards – seagulls – fish and chips – donkey rides – model villages – crabs – prominades – lost children – funfairs – seafood stalls…

Coming from a Salvation Army family, we moved around a lot. We owned very little, even the furniture belonged to the army. I once heard someone describe it as always having a house, but never having a home. That pretty much sums it up.

Every year we would go on holiday to Great Yarmouth, stay in a caravan at South Denes (sadly now gone). Each evening we would walk through the fair, along the sea front, up the high street and back. We went to the same village markets on the same days every year and each holiday we would have a trip to the model village, a ride on the horse and carts, and a day at the fair.

while a lot of people like to try different places and experiences on holidays I loved the regularity of it. In a world where we could be sent anywhere with little notice there was one sure thing. Where ever we lived during the other months, in Summer we had Great Yarmouth.

Sadly over the years British seasides have gone downhill, although recent reports that global warming will means Britain is hot in Summer made me smile, perhaps they’ve not yet had their day.

Besides, I’ve not been to the beach in a long time.

As I was thinking about which beach to look at another point came to mind, each place has a different characteristic, or maybe that’s just how I percieve things.

Great Yarmouth was a family place, with everything you can imagine.

Blackpool is known for its entertainment

Southport I always see as a middle class place

Scarborough is traditional

Whitby – Goth weekend!

Maybe visiting one beach isn’t enough!

Money is tight, I can’t afford to stay everywhere, but day trips might be an option, then there is the possibility of borrowing mums car – but of I say the seaside is on the cards then my parents will want to come, and a trip to Scarborough also means the traditional stop in Thornton-le-dale, and visit to Nana’s grave. See! traditions are everywhere.

Then again… I have a brother in Southport I don’t see too often, maybe I could invite myself over.

So, todays drawing.

Being stuck in bed, or able to get out but needing to go home after a few hours I can’t yet venture to a beach, so I bought some of those little cocktail umbrellas, a symbol of seasides is the beach umbrella, but probably not in Britain where it would be the wind breaker.

1 minute pencil sketch

 I minute is a long time, will I manage several hours?

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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