Well it’s not often you find someone nips into your local swimming spot and cements your artwork to the sea wall!
Three pictures I created for the Clevedon Marine Lake in the summer of 2016, lovely to finally see them on the wall. I haven’t actually had a chance to go and see them in real life yet and get photos in a bit of decent sunshine, so here are also the original designs so you can see them in their full detail.
Swimmer tiles being installed on the disused pumphouse – or whatever this thing is next to where we get in..?
The Clevedon Swimmers tiles installed
Boating at Clevedon design
Crabbing at Clevedon design
If you are interested in how these came to be, the original bid for lottery funding to restore the lake mentioned installing artwork, as part of the improvement of the lake, but it was no more specific than that I think. By the time Jo Tasker was lake warden I had started drawing a lot of the goings-on of swimmers at Clevedon, and other places where I went swimming and Jo asked very nicely would I like to create a picture that could go on the sea wall. My first idea was there should be 4 pictures, one for each season, but then it turned into 3 pictures, one for each activity. It made more sense, or there would just be swimmers in each picture!
And so finally they are up, all of a sudden! Swimmers, boaters and crabbers. Especially pleased that they had the good sense to put the swimmers picture next to where we swimmers change as that’s my favourite. I had to invent people for the other two panels, but the swimmers: I know all these people, they are real!
All things are relative. While the prospect of an Autumnal temperature plummet to seven degrees may cause us to shudder at the very thought, reaching in vain after warm memories of summery 18 degrees and above; here at the back end of Winter and in the wake of winds from Siberia, 7 degrees is greeted with excitement and delight!
“It’s lovely now it’s warmed up” is not mere winter swimmer’s bravado, it is heartfelt. 10 days ago the shallow salt water dipped below zero. True, we still have that glazed look of the mildly hypothermic as we hug our hot drinks. True it is drizzling, and an icy wind is promised for the weekend. But all things are relative, and these things are mere blips in the unstoppable onrush of spring.
On Friday it was Mary’s Birthday. There being an icy blast coming straight from Siberia, and the water 3.5 degrees and dropping, she dressed appropriately for the occasion of a birthday swim. A bikini with tassels, of course!
The Birthday Suit
To those unfamiliar with the place, this is of course Clevedon Marine Lake. The water isn’t often this green, it’s generally muddier, but on this occasion it was even clear enough for underwater photos.
It helps to know when the school holidays are, if only because the traffic is different and sometimes everyone heads to the coast all at once. However, this was a peril I had previously overlooked. On Monday morning The Great Crab Release occurred. At a still relatively toasty 11.5 degrees in the lake, changing back into warm clothes would otherwise have been safe and simple. It was nippier than expected!
By chance, I wasn’t the hapless swimmer exiting the water: I was the one running around with a camera saying ‘Oh Look! Crabs!’ and taking photos of them. It was an impressive haul, the crabs were conscientiously counted out of the bucket and there were over 30 of them, caught in little more than half an hour. They are back in the marine lake now, but some of you may not wish to know that.
Apologies if the sudden name change has caused any confusion, I posted a couple of weeks ago about changes to this site, and it is now re-named Waterdrawn.com (and not ‘Art for Swimmers’ as I had suggested earlier). It’s my new site for swimming-related artwork. Other artwork will be posted on www.nancyfarmer.wordpress.com.
Meanwhile, here is a little commission I was asked for a few weeks ago, commemorating a very cheeky swim in the marine lake, in full view of the innocent seagulls (and quite possibly associated dog-walkers!)
Quite unlike the Last Swim of 2016, the first swim of 2017 was a mass affair. More shrieking than swimming, especially from those who believe a new year’s resolution is all it takes, to get into 5 degrees as if you like it. They didn’t last. Though to be fair, some might: our Clevedon Lake and Sea Swimmers group is growing all the time, new faces popping up even through the winter and some of them stay, and surprise themselves.
The local media was there too, and plenty of umbrella’d watchers. Determined to have a proper swim, I swam off to the far end, and by the time I got back it was all over. A stiff wind and a determined drizzle had blown a lot of them straight into the pub.
I have several jumper-dresses, which I mostly live in through the winter – a single item of clothing that takes seconds to put on. Combined with leggings for after swimming they are chosen for maximum covering-power in minimum time and loose enough to use as a changing-tent to remove a cossie from beneath.
Until you try it. Cold, uncoordinated, wet, with hands with no strength in them, and no longer sure of the exact finger count of these bright pink appendages, which are certainly not my usual hands. In a stiff wind while balanced on a sodden towel against the freezing concrete.
“Oh, a jumper dress, that’s a good idea!” say two people while I am struggling with this thing that was once clothing, transformed into an enveloping monster from a chilly circle of Hell. “Bloody isn’t”, I think. And then suddenly the Herculean task is done. Unusually, I glance at my watch, and discovered that despite being able to swear that the battle had taken 10 whole minutes, it is in fact a mere 2 minutes since I exited from the water. Odd that, time is a slippery thing when you’re running from the inevitable afterdrop. Come on shivering, ready for you now!