Found Object

Geo Art Cache @ Wolds, North Yorkshire

Three unique temporary art interventions were created in North Yorkshire Wolds by artists from rednile projects in collaboration with invited artist Katie May Shipley. The artworks are part of Geo Art Cache, a project which merges art with high tech treasure hunting.

Duggleby Howe – Found Object

Found Object plays on the site where it is placed, Duggleby Howe; one of the largest round barrows in Britain. The barrow is believed to have been used for burial and possibly sacrifice (suggested by J.R Mortimer in 1890) but has never been fully excavated or carbon dated, although it is believed to be Neolithic.

Found Object is a playful response to the speculative ‘what ifs’ of the nature of the site and uses a chalk cast ejector seat placed on a packaging crate with a weather balloon attached to it. Where has this object come form? Has it just been unearthed or has it just landed? The work will raise many questions about site and location as well as drawing attention to the unknown and unanswered questions that surround the site and its historical context.

Duggleby Waterfall – The Catch

The intermittent Gyspey Race is in full flow in Duggleby and folklore suggests that local people used to throw valuable possesions into the stream to bring good luck. The Water catcher installation captures the magical essence of the Gypsey Race by using hundreds of paper water bombs suspended above the water acting as vessels and glistening jewels to highlight the beauty of water. The process-based work invites visitors to participate to keep the artwork alive over the two days by making a water bomb to fill with the Gypsey Race water and add to the installation.

Weaverthorpe Village – Racemaker 

Racemaker has been made in response to a part of the Gypsey Race where the water has disappeared for many years. When we first visited Weaverthorpe we were struck by how the village is still focused around the trenches that the river once ran through and how villagers still drive and walk over bridges without the running water. In response to this we wanted to recreate the sound of the Gypsey Race, in an attempt to bring the river back to life. Racemaker is a large contraption that consists of several rainsticks, as you turn the handle the contraption continuously recreates the sound of rainfall, rainsticks are instruments that were invented in Chile and Peru and were used to try to evoke rainstorms. Inside the rainsticks are hundreds of seeds, the seeds that we have used are perennial wax and green-winged orchid, these are special rarities that occur naturally in the area. At the end of the weekend these seeds will be spread in the local area and given away for people to plant at home.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend of 29th & 30th May, families were invited to join in the Geo Art Cache hunt and take part in activities along the Gypsey Race river.  As they discovered each artwork, families created miniature artwork gifts using skills and techniques linked to the area. These gifts were hidden inside ‘geocache boxes’ for the next visitors to find and keep, so continued to change hands as new visitors found each artwork and created a new gift along the trail. The family friendly workshops also involved storytelling, giving people a chance to share their stories and memories of the river.  These stories and images from the day will be collated and shown on the Gypsey Race Stories page.

We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all the people who took part and attended the Gypsey Race Art Trail event over the Bank Holiday weekend – despite the weather!

What is Geocaching? It is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.

About the Geo Art Cache project:
Geo Art Cache is the first project of its kind where a new series of art based geocaches created by artists, which entice you to explore different locations across North Yorkshire whilst experiencing different artforms along the way. Geo Art Cache is commissioned and supported by Chrysalis Arts in partnership with Ryedale Council.

Katie May Shipley:

Katie May is an artist based in the Staffordshire Moorlands, she has a studio at Airpsace Gallery and is a keen member of the geocaching community.

Chrysalis Arts:

Chrysalis Arts are a North Yorkshire based arts organisation providing innovative commissions, arts training, and residency programmes as well as running events such as North Yorkshire Open Studios and the Slow Art Trail.

The upstanding feature known as ‘Duggleby Howe’ is part of an extensive Neolithic and Bronze Age (about 5,000 to 800BC) complex which includes the large round barrow (Duggleby Howe), an interrupted ditch enclosure which surrounds the barrow, one ring ditch inside the enclosure and three ring ditches outside the enclosure.The barrow has a diameter at the base of 125ft and a diameter of 47ft at the top. Excavations of the barrow in 1890 discovered about 30 skeletons, knives, chisels, spearheads and saws all in flint and picks, needles and daggers in bone and pottery vessels. More recent work on the complex has been carried out by Bradford University.
Duggleby Howe is legally protected as a Scheduled Monument, that is a site or place considered to be of national importance. Any works, including metal detecting, that ‘alter’ a Scheduled Monument require the permission of the Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
THE GYPSEY RACE RIVERThe Gypsey Raceis a stream that runs through the villages of West Lutton, East Lutton, Helperthorpe, Weaverthorpe, Butterwick, Foxholes, Wold Newton, Burton Fleming, Rudston and Boynton. The stream flows into the North Sea in Bridlington harbour.The Gypsey race rises in the Great Wold Valley through a series of springs, and flows intermittently. According to folklore, when the Gypsey race is flowing, bad fortune is at hand. It flowed in the year before the great plague of 1664, the restoration of Charles II, and the landing of William of Orange.

Gypsey Race Stories Gathered‘A new spring has emerged in Wharrem Le Percy where the Gypsey Race starts in only the last 6 or 7 years which we think is due to the bad weather’‘we get king Fishers here, which is quite rare and we walk our dogs along the River’‘Evokes a memory of my childhood in Middlesbrough with the industry sounds around water, like metal in the water or vessels in the water’

Precious people and objects written onto Origami water bomb vessels and added to the artwork to bring good luck:

Snowy and Nibbles our animals
Piggys from Natalie
Ipod Touch from Tom
Heart necklace from Emily
Books from Ben
Alex, Dave and Daniel


Mrs Gutch’s old book on east Riding folklore. It was published by the folklore Society, (see snippet of book below about the Gypsey Race)
John Rushton

The Gipsies
My Prophetick Spring at Veipsey, I may show,
That some years is dry’d up, some years again doth flow;
But when it breaketh out with an immoderate birth
It tells the following year of a penurious dearth.
Poly-Olb. Song 28.

The Gipsies [g hard] are pretty well known as streams of water which at different periods are observed on some parts of the Yorkshire Wolds. They appear toward the latter end of winter or early in the spring ; sometimes breaking out very suddenly, and, after running a few miles again, disappearing. That which is more particularly distinguished by the name of The Gipsy has its origin near the Wold-cottage at a distance of about twelve miles W.N.W. from Bridlington. The water here does not rise in a body in one particular spot, but may be seen oozing and trickling among the grass, over a surface of considerable extent, and where the ground is not interrupted by the least apparent breakage; collecting into a mass, it passes off in a channel, of about four feet in depth and eight or ten in width, along a fertile valley towards the sea, which it enters through the harbour at Bridlington. . . .

There is sometimes an intermission of three or four years. . . . A custom formerly prevalent among the young people at North Burton, but now discontinued . . . was ” going to meet the Gipsy ” on her first approach. T. C, Bridhngton. Hone, pp. 115, 116.

A Mysterious East Riding Stream. Woe-Waters of the Wold.
A correspondent of the London ” Daily Mail ” gives some particulars of a mysterious East Riding stream which comes and goes like a will-o’-the-wisp and the appearance of which superstitious folk regard as the harbinger of evil, and which is just now almost the sole topic of conversation in the villages and hamlets among the wolds and dales of North-East Yorkshire. To solve the mystery of the ” Gypsey Race,” as the strange waters are called, has been the ambition of many modern scientists. Little, however, has yet been discovered to account for its eccentricities. Almost as suddenly as they came, some six weeks ago, the waters will shortly disappear, and may not be seen again for years. Only five or six times during the last twenty-one years has this brook run its eerie course. Its source of origin is a hidden mystery. The strange workings of Nature, however, appeal to the curiosity and imagination of the Yorkshire wold-dweller. Day by day young and old watch the stream running its twenty-mile course of hide and seek among the chalk to the sea at Bridlington. Astonishment is often mingled with awe, for according to tradition dire disasters follow in the wake of the brook, and which in consequence bears the sinister title of ” The waters of woe.” Superstitions die hard, and in these out-of-the-way wolds people are still to be found whom it is difficult to dissuade that the running of a stream fed by an intermittent spring is not in some way associated with the supernatural. I have tried hard, however, to find someone who can give personal testimony in support of the theory that the appearance of the mysterious waters is a prognostication of trouble. With the exception of some heavy floods in the winter of 1860 and a great storm at sea in 1880, no one can remember that the coming of the stream has been attended by any particular local woe. The legend seems to be founded on incidents belonging to a very distant past.

The ” gipsey,” it is said, appeared just before the great plague, before the restoration of Charles IL, and a few weeks prior to the landing of the Prince of Orange. Its appearance in 1795 is also reported to have synchronised with the descent of a huge meteorite in the village of Wold Newton. The mysterious stream meanders through this quaint little village, some of the inhabitants of which have not yet ceased to talk of the ” bolt from the sky ” and its supposed affinity with the ” woe-waters ” of the wold. Originating from an intermittent spring which bursts through the chalk strata to the east of the village of Wharram-le-street the gipsey stream performs at times so many queer pranks that its vagaries may have given rise to some of the superstitions associatedwith its appearance.  For instance, the waters may be running strangely at one end of a field and at the other end of the bed of the stream be quite dry.

On one occasion the stream literally passed through some cottages at Kirby Grindalythe, the water forcing its way through the ground floors and only being released by artificial means. At times trout have been seen in the mystic brook. Some authorities declare that the stream derives its origin from the Greek word Gupos (chalk), while others aver that it means the same as the ordinary gipsey wanderer. Only once during the last fourteen years have the limpid waters of this strange rivulet run as strongly as they have during the last few days. There are already indications, however, that the waters are about to ebb. Soon the stream will have entirely disappeared and children will again play in its dry and erstwhile channel. The waters, however, will not be forgotten, and not a few old folk will quietly, but anxiously, wait to see whether the gipsy’s warning of 1910 of ” battle, plague, and famine ” come true or not.—Y.H. April 5th, 1910. Weaverthorpe. Old Nanny Rowley of Weaverthorpe was greatly feared as a witch. A man against whom she had a spite, was passing her house, driving a horse with a heavy load, but, when opposite her door, there it stood stationary, in spite of all the efforts of the horse. He was sure she had bewitched it, and, thinking that affairs had now reached a crisis, he rushed into the house, and struck her on the cheek, causing the blood to flow. This put an end to her power, and the horse was able to proceed with the load.  Nicholson (2), p. 95.

Here are some more poems and writings we’ve found about the Gypsey Race: