Bathing Machine and Deck Chairs on Lyme Seafront

Local artist Sarah Thomas loves museums, their quirky objects and the stories behind them. That is what attracted her to re:collection, ArtsFest’s year-long collaboration with the Lyme Regis Museum. The extraordinary results of Sarah’s efforts, a full-sized bathing machine and seven handmade deck chairs, will be displayed at Rinky Tinks on Lyme’s seafront throughout Lifeboat and Regatta & Carnival Weeks, from 26 July through 11 August.

Bathing machine

Challenged to find something in the Museum that would inspire her to create new artwork, Sarah was influenced by her past (she once built a life-sized Ice Shack) and by the museum-inspired works of artists Mark Dion (with the Tate) and Grayson Perry (with the British Museum). In the end, she chose to recreate these two staples of the seaside often seen in old Lyme photos in the Museum.

But with a twist, for Sarah has turned her bathing machine into a mini-museum, with shelves full of modern ‘artefacts’ created by local young people in workshops led by her this past spring. These artefacts vary from sculpture and textiles to story-telling and sound recordings. And she has turned the deck chairs into storybooks about Lyme life and history. Each fabric strip celebrates different aspects of Lyme’s heritage and was created by young people in workshops led by Sarah, as well as by members of the local U3A Needles and Stitches group and Sarah herself.

The seven deck chairsSarah and ArtsFest want to thank all those in the Lyme community who enthusiastically contributed their work to these two installations and to the Lyme Regis RNLI Guild and Regatta & Carnival Committee for allowing them to make their debut during their festivities. They will reappear, along with more than 30 other re:collection projects, during ArtsFest itself (21-29 September). As part of re:collection, these installations are supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

To see more of Sarah’s work visit ‘The Catch’, her solo exhibition in the Lyme Regis Museum’s Rotunda Gallery, open daily from 18 July until 8 September, 10-5pm. For further information, visit or

Published on 22/07/2013.

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