Alchemist’s Shack to celebrate 20th anniversary
20 years after it was launched, a celebration of an artwork in the U.S. created by a fine art professor from the University of Cumbria has taken place.
Mildred’s Lane is a 96-acre site set deep in the woods of rural north eastern Pennsylvania bordering Narrowsburg in New York State. Described as a ‘working-living-researching experiment centered on domesticity’ the entire site is an art complex devoted to all aspects of life in the 21st-century
Within it, the University of Cumbria’s fine arts Professor Robert Williams created the Alchemist’s Shack, a building within which different aspects of the uncanny and sometimes bizarre are considered.
Professor Williams said: ”I always imagined the Alchemist’s Shack to be like Elias Ashmole’s (1617-1692) compendium of Alchemy Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, a collection that he made of what actually were fairly random manuscripts including Norton’s Ordinall of Alchemy,George Ripley’s Compound of Alchemy, works by John Dastin. Along with various scraps, snippets and fragments – a real scrapbook – which is exactly what I considered the Alchemist’s Shack collections to work like. But first and foremost, it would be an Alchemical laboratory.”
As part of the 20th anniversary, sculptor and film artist Sandy Williams worked with Prof Williams. A graduate of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville he spent several weeks working with the University of Cumbria’s fine art programme based at Brampton Road, Carlisle last year.
”The Mildred’s Lane Project in Pennsylvania has been fascinating and to be able to bring my experience of working with artists in the U.S back to Cumbria to share with fine art students at Brampton Road has been really rewarding,” Prof Williams said.