What’s On


Petals and Claws

Revisiting The Owl Service fifty years on

Wednesday 26th March – Sunday 20th May

In August 1967 the acclaimed British author, Alan Garner OBE, published the classic children’s book The Owl Service. This supernatural thriller tells the story of Alison, Roger and Gwyn and their unwilling involvement in a recurring curse The tragic story of Blodeuwedd, from the Welsh chronicles The Mabinogion is replayed generation after generation and is the inspiration behind The Owl Service.

In the book the curse is awakened when the children discover a dinner service with a strange pattern of owls and flowers. This actual dinner service exists, and is owned by the Garner family. Several years ago the designer was identified as Christopher Dresser and this link has resulted in one of the original plates being donated to the Dorman Museum by the Garner family. The connection has also brought this exhibition to Middlesbrough and to the home of the largest public collection of works by Christopher Dresser.

The exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Owl Service and stems from conversations between photographer David Heke and Alan Garner and his wife Griselda.
It includes photography, video, painting, sculpture, music/soundscape, poetry and dance.

The participating artists include Liz Ellis (sculpture), Jenny Ryrie (painting), David Heke (photography and video), Chris Tally Evans (music/soundscape), Bettina Langlois (fine art upholstery), Anna Wigley (poetry and prose) and Jacqueline McCormick (dance).

All the artists were selected due to their interest in the story of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion and The Owl Service by Alan Garner.

Poster from a previous exhibition at the Dorman Museum
Poster from a previous exhibition at the Dorman Museum