Artist Pete Johnson Will Bring His Shipping Forecast Installation To Kendal As Part Of Lakes Alive Copy
Pete Johnson is preparing to light-up Kendal Castle during Lakes Alive

With Lakes Alive just one week away we speak to the Tyneside artist who has created the swaying and sensational Shipping Forecast installation.

Pete Johnson’s work will take centre stage in the grounds of Kendal Castle throughout Lakes Alive (8-10 September).

Best seen at night, the beautiful field of light installation is formed of 500 fibre-glass rods which stand nearly three metres tall and glow.

Designed to 'create the feeling of ripples of wind across tall dandelions' Lakes Alive is thrilled to welcome Shipping Forecast to Kendal Castle.  

Pete Johnson, the artist behind Shipping Forecast, explained: “Ironically, the piece is designed around the movement of the rods caused by wind, but I haven’t yet displayed the piece in a windy environment.

“I’m hoping for some classic Cumbrian weather on this occasion to really bring Shipping Forecast to life!”

This will be the first time Pete’s Shipping Forecast has been shown in the north of England and will be the biggest ever version of the installation to date.

“I hope people will be able to interpret the natural movements of the rods and enjoy the installation in such a beautiful setting, set during a really vibrant event like Lakes Alive,” Pete added. 

By great coincidence the BBC maritime weather forecast of the same name celebrates its 150th birthday this month.

The Shipping Forecast is a BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Pete said: “I didn't realise it was the anniversary of the Shipping Forecast radio broadcast. It’s a fantastic coincidence. The name for my installation came out of a quest to find something relevant to wind and motion.

“I'd already decided to limit the colours of the piece because I was sick of seeing all colours of the rainbow tripping though most of the lightworks I witnessed.

“Blue and green came from the fact that an earlier iteration was completely green in reference to nature and I preferred a fade from that to blue than any other colour."

But where did the name for the installation come from? Is it inspired by the BBC radio weather report?

Pete said: "I started compiling wind worthy titles such as, Blizzard Tongues, Next of Kin of the Wayward Wind, Beneath Tacoma Narrows...   

“But once I thought of The Shipping Forecast it felt exactly right due to the inherent blue green wavyness of the piece. And the fact that I'd always loved the strange haunting feel of the radio broadcast...

“Those strange names, the odd language of the weather, Tyne, Dogger, Rockall. Southwest gale 8 to storm 10, veering west, poor, becoming moderate.

“Then poor old Finisterre…”

Shipping Forecast will be located at Kendal Castle throughout Lakes Alive (8-10 September). Best seen at night.