We had a bit of a shock when we (the welldressing committee )were contacted in late November by a duo of London based artists to ask us whether we’d consider doing a welldressing for the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield to last 12 weeks starting in mid February. After thinking ‘ you have no idea’ we thought we’d better tell them it’s a non starter in a strong Derbyshire accent .

We did however agree to meet them in early Dec to put them straight.

What a delightful surprise to find out they were both northerners .

After hearing their vision for the Gallery and listening to their excitement of discovering our wells last June they explained that they have worked with scientists and local communities to produce artworks, exhibitions, workshops and installations about river and ocean ecosystems.

They are currently working towards Ways of Water, an exhibition at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield that will open mid-February 2024.

The exhibition space at the Millennium Gallery contains two rooms, and the first room will be dedicated to wells and the history of well-dressing. This space will house images, sounds and films of wells and monuments. Within this room, they would like to include a well-dressing board made in collaboration with well-dressers and designers in Youlgrave. The proposed board would be surrounded by beautiful large format pictures of the wells in Youlgrave, which have been photographed.

So after discussing  with all the designers the idea how to go about doing  a Winter Welldressing the ideas began to be formed ….plasticine instead of clay, no flowers instead dried materials with a few evergreens and wool coated with PVA and hairspray.. by the time you’ve read this article it should be nearly completed, fingers crossed.

What is the exhibition about?

Ways of Water is an exhibition that explores local, historical and contemporary relationships to water. From wells to reservoirs, human culture has built architectural, political and spiritual connections to water based on health, economics and futurity. Advances in engineering and technology have emerged to cope with extremes of flooding and drought. As a crucial life-sustaining element for every living organism, the management of water is central to human and planetary health. Water shapes lives and lives shape water.

Ways of Water reflects on local water histories considering the sites of wells and reservoirs across film, sound and photography. The exhibition features a multi-channel film and sound installation highlighting the architectural, technological and sonic aspects of reservoirs.

Photographic prints of wells celebrate the beginnings and relics of water within local communities. The installation will contain two geodesic dome structures that house objects and artefacts that investigate water ecosystems


click on the link below to see a 4:30min film of the making

  above:    Janine Shearing the designer

90% of the team came to the opening on the 15 Feb 2024