Seasonal News: Litha

20 Jun, 2023

Haarlem Seasonal News: Litha

It’s June and the garden is full of herbs and roses wafting their scents with the promise of summer. This week is the Summer Solstice, also known as Litha, when here in the northern hemisphere, days are longest, nights shortest and the sun is at its maximum strength. On midsummer’s eve in the Arctic Circle the sun doesn’t drop from the horizon on this magical night
and continues to stay close to the horizon for some days to come, lending itself to the name ‘land of the midnight sun’. Solstice derives from the Latin ‘solstitium’ (‘sol’, sun and ‘sto’, stand) so ‘the sun stands still’. It is a traditional time to harvest any herbs, particularly for healing, and dry them before they bolt and get bitter. In our garden I wish I could speak ‘bird’ as there are so
many beautiful and different songs and chatter right now. I’m particularly enjoying the blackbird family who seem to have taken over making good use of the new little pond out in an old sink. In the spirit of solstitial celebration, here is a Scottish Healing Charm for your summer adventures:

Brìde went out in the morning early with a pair of horses:
One broke his leg, with much ado, that was apart.
She put bone to bone, she put flesh to flesh, she put sinew to sinew, she put vein to vein.
As she healed that, may I heal this!

The book recommendation this season is an old familiar (though like me you may not have ever finished it!) which is Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, published at the beginning of the 1930’s and a brilliant satirical novel describing the glamorous and tragic lives of the young protagonists and their edgy escapades. The novel is known for highlighting the gaping generation gap in the
decade after the first world war. Reading it at this time begs reflection and more respect for the next generation of this second millennium who are taking on the mammoth task preparing to be the caretakers of the planet and whatever beings come next.

Haarlem’s pop-up shop on St John Street has been very successful, thanks to all who have taken part. Earlier this month we celebrated the opening of the Haarlem bookshop, Bound, a fabulous, curated collection of books on feminism and political thinking from around the world brought together by Georgie Whitehouse. The pop-up shop also features sculptural pieces by Lee Bollard,
photography by Gunther Walker, jewellery from Jasmin Ponsford and ceramics from Buird Pottery. We welcomed over 80 people through the door on the opening night, and they were rewarded with not only the June sunshine but also free cocktails - which may account for the high level of sales on the night. The shop will continue to open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10-4pm until the end of June.

A group of our studio holders have emerged from the tranquillity of Shining Cliff Woods, here in Derbyshire, after a five-day residency earlier this month. Immersed in the surroundings, the seven artists shared their knowledge and practices while exploring techniques such as eco dyeing, charcoal making, and whittling, all around the fire pit. The residency was held in and around the
Shining Cliff hostel, and on the land owned by the Grith Pioneers. ‘Out of the Woods’, a small exhibition of work produced during the residency, will open on Friday 14 July at the Haarlem Pop-Up Shop (15 St John’s Street, Wirksworth), and will run for two weeks.

In Haarlem Studios this month we’ve welcomed Dan Wilson of Studio Line architects and spatial designers. Dan and his partner Charlotte will be taking up residency on the ground floor having been looking for the right space for two years since relocating from London. We are currently full at the studios, but we operate an active waiting list so please do get in touch to let us know what
kind of space and budget you’re looking for as studio spaces do come up from time to time.
Mobile: 0776 4800 488

Finally, we wanted to let you know we have submitted an Arts Council application for a September Gallery exhibition so hope to be able to tell you it’s outcome in our next seasonal news.

On that note, wishing you all a beautiful Litha and midsummer Solstice.

Cat (Rogers) with Livvy (Penrose Punnett), Paul (Carr), Sarah (Armstrong) and Ellen (O’Hara) – Haarlem Artspace Co-Directors