In September of 2015, I walked from my home in Birmingham, 90 miles along the canal to The National Waterways Museum where I have been artist in residence funded by The Leverhulme Trust Artist in residence scheme since April last year.
Inspired by stories of a historic canal walk by Wolverhampton workers to start a new life in Ellesmere Port, I’ve documented my walking and work at a seperate blog here . There is a twitter storify of images here. Walking The Shroppie is a re-imagining of that walk as I tell stories old and new, tracing the footsteps of the people that built, boated, lived, worked and walked The Shropshire Union. The Shroppie being a fond term for The Shropshire Union, I will be performing this at the re-opening of The National Waterways Museum on the 13th & 14th of February (see my home page for details)
I’ve learnt a lot while I have been at the museum, a very different project and a way of making from some of my previous work, creating workshops, walking, learning and filtering the huge amount of information that is kept, held and known about at The Museum. It is inspiring; a museum built from grass roots by a group of volunteers dedicating their own time and passion to the history and the boats of the waterways of this country. In a sense I have turned back to my roots of making, investigating, making actions to create work and using what materials I have to with a handmade aesthetic to tell stories of canals, these water motorways, where industry sailed, connecting the midlands the industry in the North.
It is likely that there will be a life for Walking The Shroppie after February, my intention has always been to create something that can be toured, especially as I walked through three counties where I have worked and toured previously; Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire.
Please do have a look at alongthecanalswithfrancescamillicanslater.wordpress.com for further information and writing about my time there.