Ripley - From Paper To Petals
w/e 15 June 2008
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Ripley Town Hall

At least once between May and September each year we like to visit one of the towns or villages in Derbyshire where well dressings are taking place. Many of them have several wells to dress but in Ripley, about eight miles north of Ilkeston, there is only one. The Town Hall though, overlooking the Market Place also houses the Tourist Information Centre and this year in the week prior to the Well Dressing Festival, there was a demonstration and exhibition showing the techniques involved in producing these works of art.
Spiral Arts

The demonstrations were led by Jenny Anthony and her team from Spiral Arts who also ran workshops as a community based project with the help of many volunteers.

The Plan

I've titled this page as "From Paper To Petals" and this is the design and pattern for the well dressing as it was envisaged on paper. The plan shows seven panels each of which is worked on separately.
Left Hand Panel

The clay into which flower petals are pressed was kindly donated by the Denby Pottery Company whose complex that includes a Visitor Centre is nearby just to the south of Ripley. This image shows one of the team working on the left hand panel.
At The Double

Another member of the team was working simultaneously of two of the bottom panels. Flower petals, leaves and berries are used to create the pictures but these are not the only things used in the modern era. This year's design for example, included such items as fish tank grit and kebab skewers - a far cry from when well dressings were first created back in the mists of time.
Right Hand Panel

The team of four worked on the well dressings all week and on Thursday morning when these images were captured, this particular one above showing the right hand panel, there was still much to be done before the weekend . They were helped during the week by children from local schools, community groups and even visitors from overseas including some from New Zealand and also a group from the Isle of Wight.
Heage Windmillers

Everything had come together though by a damp and drizzly Saturday morning when the Heage Windmillers Dancers gather outside the Town Hall to give a demonstration of country and clog dances.
The Blessing

Prior to the dancing, the well dressing had been blessed by the Rev. Andrew Evans in the presence of the Ripley Town Mayor, Cllr. Mrs Lyn Jones.
A Job 'Well' Done

And this is the finished article. The theme of this year's dressing celebrates the 35th Anniversary of the re-opening of the Langley Mill Canal Basin incorporating forty years of the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association whose Chairman Mr Howard Smith was also present at the blessing ceremony. All in all, you could say that it's a job "well" done indeed!

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