November 2017


LATEST ON THE TIMELINE : From Bridge Farm to Westham, the untold story of Pevensey School

IMAGE CREDIT: Caroline Hack, printmaker and textile whale artist, Moby Dick fabric whale project

News that the Pevensey timeline project has commissioned an acclaimed printmaker and textile whale artist has created interest locally—Bay Life, 7 September 2016

The timeline project set up in 2013, to tell the 2000 year story of Pevensey and its rich history, is also responsible for promoting the story of the Pevensey Whale, which will become national news in early 2017, when the £19.8 million new Museum of Zoology in Cambridge opens with the Pevensey Whale skeleton as the star attraction.

The Pevensey Whale is one of the largest finback whales in the world ever beached. The whale was the weight of eight double decker buses and 71 feet long. The beaching took place in November 1865 in the Pevensey Haven and was purchased by Cambridge Museum of Zoology.

The ‘monstrous whale’ as the whale was described at the time, became the phenomenon of the new steam age. The railway had arrived seven years earlier between Eastbourne and Hastings and upwards of 20,000 people many of them arriving by train, came to the Pevensey Haven to see the whale.

It is said that Normans Bay takes its name from a railway company poster that advertised the story.

The Pevensey Whale skeleton is to become one of the wonders of the modern museum world in the country with a two storey architect designed annexe already on site in Cambridge with the whale skeleton in place ready to greet the world when the museum opens in early 2017.

Joining the local timeline team that is preparing to promote the history of the beaching of the Pevensey Whale is Caroline Hack.

She will be working to develop the project visually with an ident, fabric and textile art and prints. They will be utilised to be promote the account of the beaching of the Pevensey Whale to a local audience and to the new visitors that will come to the locality to see where the story of the Pevensey Whale began.

Caroline is an acclaimed printmaker and textile whale artist whose work often features whales and whale skeletons. She is based in Norfolk, England but her work is inspired by whale skeletons in museums across Europe and North America.

It is hoped that her planned involvement will include an artist in residence project that will be based in nearby Bexhill Museum. The museum already houses a full account of the story of the Pevensey Whale.

With Caroline, the timeline team has already begun to develop a visual ident that will represent the Pevensey Whale project to the world. The ident will appear on all publicity materials to promote the story locally, including literature, T shirts, mugs, prints and other memorabilia.

The work will also see a fabric handmade 3D whale version of the Pevensey Whale, created as part of her brief. This is being developed from her existing Moby Dick fabric whale project, which saw her fabric whales travel worldwide.

Her work will be licensed by the Pevensey Timeline Association.

It will build on the successful Pevensey Whale mug developed under licence by the Timeline Association to the Over The Moon Party Shop in Pevensey Bay. With the creative support of Daina Martin and the promotion by the shop, the mug has proved to be something of a local hit with residents and visitors, with box loads sold.

Most of Caroline’s work is inspired by Moby Dick and British Arctic Whaling, and informed by her travel and research including seeing fin whales in the wild at several locations.

In the last decade Caroline, who has already exhibited work inspired by Cambridge Museum of Zoology fin whale skeleton, has been heavily influenced by Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick.

Following a career in the cultural sector she left work to concentrate on her art practice full time four years ago. She has travelled for research and inspiration to a wide range of whaling and whale related sites in the UK, Europe and North America. As part of this she has developed a range of fabric whales and acrylic brooches that are for sale.

Working in print and textile her exploration of the book Moby Dick led to an interest in the early history of British whaling.

Her work has included visits to European Arctic locations, UK and European whale and whaling related sites to collect source material.

Her trip to the high Arctic in 2012 inspired a series of prints of the stunning rock and ice landscapes in Spitsbergen.

Visits to whaling heritage sites in the Faeroes, Norway, Iceland and the White Sea in 2013 led to work incorporating imagery of parts of whale skeletons. This was partly in response to her participation in Moby Dick on the Mersey, a marathon reading of that book, where she read aloud the chapter on the measurement of the whale skeleton amongst others.

A voyage to Greenland in 2014 inspired a range of pieces incorporating imagery of whaling ships among the icebergs.

She recently completed an Arts Council Funded Artist In Residency at Burton Constable Hall near Hull where she produced an exhibition of work inspired by both their iconic Sperm whale skeleton mentioned in Moby Dick and items in the Hall itself.

Dianne Dear, chair of the Pevensey Timeline Association said, ‘we are inspired, privileged and so excited to be joined by someone of the calibre of Caroline Hack, with her international reputation for her work with print and textile work with the history of British Whaling.

“In terms of developing our product line to tell the story of the Pevensey Whale, which we will launch simultaneously with the opening day of the Museum in Cambridge in early 2017, I simply can not imagine a better person anywhere to help us in the endeavour to tell the story of the Pevensey Whale creatively to the world”.

A member of the timeline association who has seen some of her early draft work with the project to develop the Ident for the Pevensey Whale story told Bay LIfe, “What I have seen is the positioning of the fully beached whale as line art with an accurate recreation of the coastline in the 1860s as part of the motif.

“Her work already is looking to be creative and accurate and for the first time setting the story of the Pevensey Whale in the local historical landscape in a way that I think is just wonderful.

“I genuinely have to take a step back when I see the quality and value of the work from both a creative and historical perspective. To have Caroline Hack joining us as part of the Pevensey Whale project really is inspirational.”

Caroline Hack commented on hearing about her commission with the Pevensey Timeline Association, “I’m really excited to be a part of this project.

“I visited Bexhill Museum earlier in the year and their collection and records have been an invaluable starting point.

“I’m developing the ident by looking at the coastline and maps of the time the whale washed up and using elements of those in my design. I’m also enjoying the challenge of producing an appealing but simple fin whale drawing. This drawing is influencing the design of the 3D fabric whale that I am currently prototyping”.

The Pevensey Timeline Association says that it hopes that by the end of the year, that the merchandise created by Caroline Hack under licence will be ready for a pre-launch with the local community being given the first opportunity to buy the products.

The plan is that the products will then go on sale on the day that the Cambridge Museum of Zoology opens in early 2017.

The work of Caroline Hack: www.carolinehack.com
mixed media artist based in Norfolk, England