ROPEWALKERS Simon Whetham – Andy Parker – Jo Ball
Exhibition at OSR Project Space + Dawe’s Twineworks, West Coker 15 October – 5 November 2016 Thursday – Saturday 11am – 5pm (or by appointment)

OSR Project Space The Old School Room, Church Street, West Coker, Somerset, UK. BA22 9BD +44 (0)1935 862201
Private View 6-9pm Friday 14 October (starting at the OSR Project Space)

Ropewalkers brings together new work by artists Jo Ball, Andy Parker and Simon Whetham made in response to the architecture, history and materials of Dawe’s Twineworks Museum and social history project. A monument to working class history Dawe’s is thought to be the only rural twineworks remaining in England with all its machinery, the last example of what was the most important industry in South Somerset for over 500 years. By placing art at the heart of the museum visitors are encouraged to see the past with new eyes, revealing narratives that are hidden in the machinery, archives and soil surrounding the Twineworks. The exhibition takes place across two venues, OSR Project Space and Dawe’s Twineworks (West Coker), and includes an immersive sound work by Simon Whetham entitled Trace Evidence, performance and sculpture by Andy Parker that weaves together personal histories with that of William Dampier and the Twineworks, and Jo Ball’s project Patches of Blue Sky that re-visits the tradition of growing flax to make linen twine.
OSR Project Space, Church Street, West Coker, Somerset BA22 9BD Dawe’s Twineworks, 94a High Street, West Coker, Somerset BA22 9AU
Contact: Simon Lee Dicker (+44 (0)1935 862201)
Simon Whetham is a sound artist that works with sound recording and playback techniques that explore sonic qualities and characteristics of materials and space. He shares his work with the public through performance, lecture presentation, installation and most importantly workshops, with which he facilitates sessions of listening exercises, technical and cultural aspects of sound, recording and playback techniques, and interactive public performances.
Andy Parker works with objects and places that are of interest to him now, in this moment of massive global change. His concern is not to seek comfort in the past, but to put its stories to work in the present. Hidden beneath the abstract layers of belief and bureaucracy that govern life on this planet there is an ancient and real need to grow things, tie things, lift things, transport things.
Jo Ball is an artist & gardener based in Bristol. She studied Tapestry at Edinburgh College of Art and Studio Arts in Montreal. Ball has been the recipient of several residencies and awards. Her work has also been included in numerous exhibitions and is held in private and public collections within Canada and Europe.
Dawe’s Twineworks For 500 years the making of canvas and twine was the most important industry in South Somerset with Coker Canvas as the sailcloth of choice for the Navy and Pirates alike. The underlying geology of the area, the Jurassic soils and the gentle hills and streams were perfect for growing hemp and flax, the raw materials for the twine industry.
Dawe’s Twineworks is a near complete example of a late C19 twineworks, with surviving in-situ machinery and fittings which represent all the stages of manufacture and finishing of twine. It is thought to be the only rural twineworks remaining in England with all its machinery.
After10 years of work the volunteers that run The Coker Rope and Sail Trust have been successful in receiving funding from English Heritage, The Architectural Heritage Fund, South Somerset District Council and Somerset County Council to regenerate the Twine works into an exhibition centre, consisting of a museum, engine house and dedicated educational space.
OSR Projects Producing artist-led projects that place people at the centre of artistic activity. Public involvement, conversation and the sharing of ideas are part of the natural vocabulary of OSR Projects. The work they do from the OSR Project Space in West Coker and further afield, crossing cultures, is a conversation starter; it engages people through its processes of thinking and making, as well as seeking out new and unexpected ways to have impact.
Since 2011 OSR Projects have involved over 150 artists, writers, curators and cultural producers, delivering a programme of artist-led exhibitions and events that have provided a platform for contemporary visual art in rural Somerset and beyond. Previous projects have included exhibitions and events by practitioners at all stages of their careers; from emerging artists and collectives to established internationally exhibiting artists and curators.
With a mission to ‘connect people through contemporary art’ they have become instrumental in delivering diverse and challenging art-led projects that place people at the centre of artistic activity through different forms of participation.


Published on October 11, 2016 // SAW Office