Last week (or so) I started a new mini-series - the murals of Rye Meads.
We get alot of comments about the murals (who painted them etc), and a while ago I came across the original information about the murals, so I thought I would start a little series as we do get alot of comments about the artists etc, so I thought I would share what I found with you (please keep in mind these were displayed about 15 years ago!)
Well here goes, welcome to the second installment of the hide murals (see the Tern hide here)!
Ashby HideWhat can we see from here?The reedbeds, muddy scrapes and drainage ditches are home to a great variety of birds. In summer reed warblers nest right in front of the hide. In winter teal, green sandpiper and snipe feed on the scrape. All three members of the rail family (water rails, moorhens and coots) occur throughout the year. Each is adapted to a different part of the habitat. Coots dive for weed in the deeper water, moorhens peck for invertebrate food at the margins of the pools, and water rails skulk in the depths of the reeds, only occasionally venturing into the open.
What does the mural show?This hide contains various interpretive displays. Here, getting across key messages and educational concepts has been given a higher priority than the artwork. There are three sections. A set of wall panels shows how different designs of beak, feet and body shape and size make each species a specialist, using the habitat in a different way. They style is deliberately childlike, and has been carefully selected by testing a variety on groups of children to see which they relate to best. On the ceiling are panels showing footprints of the three species in different situations. Children work out what must have happened from the pattern if footprints. The cabinet contains a set of life size models of coot, moorhen and water rail, showing their preferred environments.
This wall panel shows the different designs of beak, feet and body shape of coot, moorhen and water rail.
This is a picture of the ceiling showing the different foot prints of the three species. Here the coot is walking along from the bottom right, and both water rail and moorhen turning away when they see the coot.
In this picture (sorry it's quite a bad shot!) you can see the life size models of a coot, moorhen and water rail. They are in their preferred feeding locations (the coot dives to get water plants, the moorhen takes plants off the surface from shallower water, and the water rail turns over litter in the reedbed to find invertebrates).
Who is the artist?There displays were done by the “Design Team” (Phil, Wendy, Cathleen and Tim), a group of students from London and Southampton who specialise in using a structures approach to make communications more effective. They start with the message, then experiment with different media, do trials on typical audiences, and then produce versions which can be easily modified in the light of people’s comments. The results can be unpopular with professionals, but are effective for their designated audience.