Rye Reflections

A trail of temporary installations at Sutton Bank.

Students from the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University have created pieces that discuss memory, landscape and changing human relationships to nature, agriculture, and technology. Central to the development of ideas have been oral histories collected as part of the Rye Reflections project.

Ripples Around the Rye

Ripples Around the Rye

Sam Barker


This environmental typographic intervention responds to three oral histories that discuss leisure pursuits and culture around the Rye catchment in the context of changing human relationships with environment and technology. Significant words are arranged as ripples, with each centre connoting a starting point of experience, memory and effect. The structure denotes the qualities of water and represents the layered and intangible aspects of memory. As sunlight shines through the surface, the shadows cast are shaped by the ground below referencing the river’s evolving connections with the land and people.

“We had a little adventure or two along the way. There was a beautiful sparkle on the water. Bright green banks on either side. It’s the magic of the Rye really. It shapes your memories and your life. We have this natural source meandering through our world and yet we’re not tapping into that.” – Graham Brotton

“We used to have some marvellous summers; really memorable. Water voles, you could see them a lot in the streams and tributaries. A friend of mine used to go fishing... I wasn’t very lucky with catching fish. Nature, wildlife and the land is something that needs to be cherished and protected.” – Nick Fletcher

“Anything went in those days, we could fish with maggot or worm, or whatever. Eventually I realised that fly fishing appealed to me more than bait fishing and I became what’s known derogatorily as a ‘Fluff-chucker.’” – Ken Braithwaite


Zhipeng Qiu

Rye, River, Reshape, Reflect, Refract... The river Rye catchment is known for a diversified ecosystem, supported by multiple tributaries converging into one river. The shape of these watercourses is not fixed and over time the water erodes, cuts and moves the land thereby changing the route of the river. The work explores the dynamic side of the river and combines fragments of several letterforms to create a layered installation based on the letter ‘R.’ The form changes with the viewers perspective, leaving space for the surroundings to be seen and affecting how the final form is understood.

“Age is no bar to adventure. That bit of adventure does add spice and intensity to things.” “Yes, and it shapes your memory, it shapes your life, going forward. Being brought up in and around the Rye and its tributaries is something that shapes your life.” Reed Gamble/Denise Dane

The Forgotten Army

The Forgotten Army

Kelly Thorne


Appropriating elements of surface pattern and home décor, The Forgotten Army represents the history and topography of Women’s service during the World Wars of the 20th Century. This installation focuses on the Timber Corps and Women’s Land Army (WLA) using elements of mapping and infographics to mark the local ‘Lumber Jill’ and Prisoner of War (POW) camps. The women of the local WLA often worked alongside and were responsible for POWs in the fields and forests of the Rye catchment area. A sense of ‘home’ was created through printmaking and graphic elements that allude to wallpaper and textile design, whilst a key provides information on the types of service women fulfilled.

“I was born during the war at Hasty Bank Farm (near Boltby Bank). I remember the soldiers in the farmyard. I didn’t know why they were there.” Doreen Braithwaite

The Great Outdoors

Hazel Tilley

The Great Outdoors considers the way in which children experience a myriad of sensory information when exploring natural environments. Evocative letterforms respond to the organic forms of trees cut during local forest management and create playful typographic representations of the words ‘Emotional,’ ‘Kinaesthetic,’ and ‘Tactile.’ Designed to be viewed as part of the Ryedale landscape, the piece connects nostalgic affections of play with the beneficial effects of the outdoors for minds of all ages.

Oral History Quote:

“It seems to me, today there is endless information at the touch of a button. ‘The Great Outdoors’ is quite a different environment in that information is there, but it’s not instant and visual. It is more over a period of time. It is more kinaesthetic, emotional, tactile... all the senses are involved rather than just sight and sound.” Reed Gamble

The Great Outdoors
Price of Progress

Price of Progress

Natasha Holmes

'Price of progress' responds to Bill Thompson’s reflections on farming around the Rye and the impacts of technology on people and agriculture. Themes include changing cognitive skills, inter-generational knowledge and working relationships with the land and nature. The material quality of steel - a principal component in the machines and tools of the early industrial revolutions - is set with printmaking techniques which utilise clippings from old farming magazines collected locally to Sutton Bank. The work is presented in the context of nascent technologies including smart tools, digital intelligence, blockchain and biotechnology; how will these factors change agriculture, community, and landscape?

“There used to be just a stream of men, virtually everything was done by hand. Now you’re cocooned into a very complex piece of machinery which virtually drives itself once you’ve set everything up, all you do is turn it at the end and it finds the shortest way across the field... the mind isn’t expanding, its closing; same for agriculture” Bill Thompson

In partnership with the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership Project in the North York Moors National Park and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Charlie Tait - Creative Lead/Tutor
Jennifer Hagan - Rye Reflections Project Lead
Amy Carrick-Knowles - Ryevitalise Education & Engagement Officer
Francesca Pert - Howardian Hills AONB Officer
Gerard Marshall - Maintenance Ranger

Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership Project