Katie Jo Anderson

Artist based in South West Scotland; interested in people, places, materials and collaborative practice.

In Which she attempts to talk about Exhibitions

2015 began with the purpose of specifically working outwith the gallery setting. In this way, it failed entirely. In the end up, I worked on seven exhibitions, including curating one. I visited almost none, in contrast to my regular gallery trekking up until then. By the end of SUBMERGE, the year had more become an exploration in what the gallery context means for art making, and specifically who the audience is that the work is being created towards. Although there is of course an entirely self-driven part of myself, that demands to be let play in the studio without speaking or even considering the world beyond, I still strive for art that communicates, discusses, asks questions, involves and co-creates with those that travel to see it.

I’ve stropped and stormed about gallery audiences and white cube gallery contexts- but none of my whining ever really identified the real challenges of creating meaningful, useful, interesting work for meaningful, useful or interesting exhibitions. I kept asking what exhibitions were for. If they were to share art – new and otherwise – with the art community, then some were successful enough. But the art community is looking often without looking; they may be some of the art world’s biggest fans, but the over-saturation can lead to a deadened look in the eyes of some art-family veterans as they make quick march around the exhibit halls, room and inbetween spaces. But they can be a sympathetic, and caring crowd. If there are buttons to be pressed, objects to be examined, swings to be swung on, it is the art crowd that will play. They have permission. And the knowing of where they stand. But what to say to our art-loving art-making crowd? One opening in many, little will stand out beyond the closing drinks and afterparties, never mind beyond the close of the exhibition itself. Gallery culture invites us to step in from outside, to pause in the chapel-like quiet, adjust our eyes and breathe in deeply the cool and still air, before emerging back into the world, refreshed and suitably cultured.

Katie Anderson_Photography Credit-Barry_Young

Serious art face, suitably cultured expression. Thank you to Barry Young for the image

I made new work I loved, I saw the work of others that I loved even more, but still was not satisfied. The lack of engagement, communication, feedback and even awareness of audience dulled any enjoyment involved in the making, planning and install. Conversations about the work were so limited as to make the whole endeavour feel nothing beyond ego-centric self-congratulatory navel gazing.

Curating was in many ways, a different experience. Inviting artists to create a space with me, my first desire was to reject ‘exhibition’. After a month or thereabouts, this became obviously impossible due to my creating an exhibition, or, ‘space-filled-with-art-that-things-can-happen-in’. The desire to have an arts space where exhibitions don’t happen prevailed throughout and added to the general confusion.

Things I have learned about exhibitions in 2015:

Exhibitions are all about context. They are not just a bunch of art objects curated in a white cube space. Instead consider an exhibition for the place in which it is to be concieved/recieved. Whether on a micro- level, or a global level (or both), it seems that the most interesting exhibitions are those that feel relevant, connected and driven by momentum and currents.

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Exhibitions still ring with me a romantic notion of Victorian expos – of new discoveries, inventions and ideas. This has possibly led to my disillusion with exhibitions over the past few years: too many experiences of staring vaguely at any variety of work between beautiful, mundane, awe-inspiring or gruesome, but in a completely disconnected enivronment of clinical emptiness, or run-down art cliche. Leaving a gallery space and crash-landing into the outside streets air of the everyday threw the importance of the work out as often as not. The few works that stuck held seemlessly to the places they were shown (not necessarily made for), or played creatively with the context of their being.

Interior of the Great Exhibition, 1851, Egypt, Turkey & Greece

The act of journeying to visit works, still stands. This is an increasing challenge in the exhibition context, rather than the opposite as might seem apparent. Journeying to a nearby out-of-context location is more challenging than travelling several hours to experience a work where it makes sense.

Exhibitions are not about the texture of your walls.

Invigilators are all powerful. They can curate individual experience without even directly speaking to a visitor. Each conversation had shapes the context of the exhibition, not just for the visitor but also for all those involved in creating it in the first place. By creating the exhibition-as-forum, each artwork becomes a conversational starting point, inviting tangents of all descriptions, exchange, uncertainty and redefining of the collective creation. Interesting.

Good conversations do not need too much curation, just the right context, the right invitation, and good soup.

The best exhibitions should be about creating conversations.

The unexpected can be a magical gift in making a good experience truly relevant and exciting, even if by the same turn can wreak havoc and uncertainty with the general populus. (This is not an excuse or rallying call for flooding).

Exhibitions can tell powerful stories, that grow and change with each visitor.

 

This exhibition is not complete.

Huge thank you to all the artists, curators, producers, gallery folk, visitors, friends and general stumbled-in-here-whilst-looking-for-something-else types, that have had the patience and kindness to work with me and share conversations over the past year whilst I stumble around figuring out what being an artist is about. Thank you all for such great opportunities!

 

 

 

 

Housing Activism and the Artist – Inspirations and Thought Processes

Question #1: Can artists be part of changing and creating residential activity on our high streets and in our town centres? Can artists and artist-led projects impact change in these ways in our towns?

We discussed examples in America, including the work of Theaster Gates, who’s creative property development in parts of Chicago, through the founding of the Rebuild Foundation, such as the Dorchester Art + Houseing Collaborative which provides residence for both artists on residency and local community members, growing collaboration, conversation and activity between both groups.

Theaster Gate's Dorchester Projects. Image: House past and present (2013) Image: Sarah Pooley

Theaster Gate’s Dorchester Projects. Image: House past and present (2013) Image: Sarah Pooley

Could such a thing be possible in Scotland? Could planning laws, available funds and communities allow for such a growth? Do artists have the skills necessary to do this? (This was a bit difficult to answer in a straightforward way). The Vennel in Dumfries was quickly brought up, and it was agreed by most that it was high time they got back to Dumfries to re-think the place. (I mentioned there was no need to rush, town centre change is a gradual thing we are in early stages of!) This was part of a series of discussions exploring what a more cultural high street would look like, as part of Architecture and Design Scotland’s annual Place Challenge conference in Arbroath.

Four days later, location: The Black-E, Liverpool. Context: Liverpool Biennal’s Community Arts Conference. The final panel is up after a day of sometimes heated discussions, and a definite division between audience and panellists/organisers. There is a palpable tension in the room, and a twitchy-ness from several hours sat listening in artificial light.

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This is the panel of my dreams; artists Jeanne van Heeswijk and Nina Edge, members of Homebaked and the Granby Community Land Trust, and design collective Assemble. Individually, each of these speakers presents an inspirational story of collaborative approaches, creative process, community intervention and making the impossible possible. Collectively, this was a place that stood up for their place and worked together to fight back for lost causes, and the history of many.

Nina Edge raises a curious point – of seven areas in Liverpool threatened with demolition, only three remain currently intact, and each of those areas has worked directly with creative practitioners of some form. It seems like creativity can galvanise and help create change in these communities. Nina’s work on committee evidence documents, and affecting legislature did not go un-praised.

What was most notable was the way these different artists and organisations had worked together, in support of each other and in solidarity. Also of note, from Homebaked was that without the support of the large scale ‘institutions’ (demonised somewhat throughout the day), in this case the Biennial, for being the bolster to push through small independent projects like Homebaked into securing the premises and holding back the bulldozers.

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(Apologies for any paraphrasing, it was a long day)

Interesting week! Arbroath was an interesting challenge in discussion leading, in lots of ways not super successful as a discussion – but a useful opportunity to speak about the Stove in a slightly different way to a new audience, and to think about the aspirations and potential of creative practice, as an alternative way of problem solving, communicating and creating change in our places. Liverpool was intense listening to a pocket-sized history of community arts in the city, and looked to focus predominantly at ‘what we could learn’ from what had gone before, a slightly idealistic notion of teaching the upcoming artists to appreciate what had come so far (noteably the audience, was not predominantly younger – by my eye at least.)

Notes: It’s not all black and white. Large scale institutions have a responsibility, as –largely, comparatively- well funded organisations, to be risk-taking and forward thinking about any ‘outreach’ work they undertake. Larger institutions should not, by right deliver all ‘community art’ outreach in their areas, as are often not best suited to doing so, however much they may be required to reach their organisations out to wider audiences, the real-time benefits to their communities appear to be limited.

Artists equally have a responsibility: we are not outwith ‘community’, but should perhaps be an integral part of it. We should be part of creating our places, and can input from being pebbles in ponds, to being connectors and links, question-ers, provokers, testers, builders and researchers. This isn’t to say that artists should only work locally, this sounds to be a balance, between building long term connections with place to growing new opportunities and bringing fresh energy into other places, either those with less creative energy in them or to work alongside the creative energy already present.

Now, to spend the next while not using the word ‘community’.

Creating New Narratives

A brief opportunity to write on the connectedness of artist and art object.

The act of making is a process of learning, knowing and bonding with material, action and time. Time spent on the creation of new work forms a contemplative emotional response to the final outcome/s. Each piece created in the studio becomes an attachment, an obsession, and finally an extension of the self. With each piece of work I send out into the world, so goes a little piece of myself.

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In which the artist drinks from her own curated bottle collection the earthy waters from Hart Fell.

Encountering works in their new locations or homes – however rare an occurance – is like meeting an old friend, memory soft-focused but intact, engaged, attached.

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This summer I set out to make a commissioned piece for Jan Hogarth’s Quest project. The work involved some exciting new challenges (ceramic shells can be done use The Stove’s pedal powered foundry, although smokeless coal is the preferable fuel), and new discoveries. After the event, the work which consisted of a set of pewter cast drinking vessels and vintage glass torpedo bottles were dispersed with the winds, finding new homes and new owners after the projects conclusion.

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Process. Bonding. Knowing. Know your material.

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Shaping, growing. Even accidents are not accidental.

In this way, each carrier becomes the storyteller, and are key to the history and narrative of the work. In taking a piece onwards, so they carry a little responsibility to share the stories, experiences made real through secondhand experiences, and a little part of me as maker, embedded in the heart of each piece, shaped as they are by my own sense of meaning, knowing and questioning.

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Gift. Breathe. Hart Fell water runs through you.

AMc - it takes a good casting to offer a firm grip on...

Eternity. Late night exchanges under dark skies at EAFS.

I’m hoping not that the works will be returned but that each recipient will carry the work with them, to be re-interpretted in the stories of the future where we can meet again. These are the gifts of the artist, sent out in trust, in hope of creating new narratives.

Thank you Jan for the opportunity to create something new and beautiful for Quest. More about Jan and her work available on her website here And special thanks to all those who tasted, shared and exchanged Hart Fell from these pieces. Keep them safe and tell their stories x

All Paths Lead to Morton – EAFS Offgrid

This summer welcomed the second Environmental Arts Festival Scotland – an international biennial of contemporary art practice in landscape – which for two months this summer absorbed me whole. My last EAFS experience in 2013 (blog here) shook and rattled my perceptions on place-based art in all the right ways, and has been an important part in prodding my reflective process into the art practice that it is today.

But moving on from the hectic, region trailing festival that was EAFS 2013, this year took a marked-ly different tack. Exploring themes of pilgrimage and journeying, hospitality and generosity and – my favourite – inventiveness and foolishness as a way of understanding the world (Have I reinvented that a little? Perhaps it has grown from the original intention), EAFS Offgrid 2015 looked as a large scale collective artwork in which all parties became part-artist, an experiment in co-created community, temporary place making and exploration of landscape.

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I had lots of questions during the lead-up to the festival. (Apologies to all who endured my constant questioning)

One of the most persistant was in the meaning of ‘festival’ in the first place. Contemporary associations of festival – through the prolificy of large scale music and arts festival – put us the audience, in a passive state, consuming entertainment, resources and activity, these are free spaces for new experience and free partying; but everything is largely provided for us, from music and activity to food and water, the festival crowd is encouraged to participate by consuming. This seems mis-matched for our free spirited and independant festival idealism.

The alternative? EAFS Offgrid, whereby attending a festival made you an active participant, a sense of generosity and hospitality grown by all involved encouraged an active bringing and sharing, from extra food to additional programmed content – some of the quoted favourite moments at EAFS were the ones we never even programmed. From this generosity grew an amazing atmosphere of a community, caring and growing itself and each other. The EAFS team looked to create a space to be activated by others; in this way everyone had the opportunity to be a participating artist at EAFS – and in this collective making, everything from eating to sign-posting could be considered and created as part of the larger EAFS artwork.

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Who can claim ownership of EAFS? Creating a community or a place felt less concerned with ownership of artistic direction, and more to do with a growing sense of collective intent (count the number of uses of the word collective in this post). Interpreting and understanding of the festival was a big question in the run up to the festival; how could we encourage a sense of shared ownership to grow ‘open-source’ interpretation, conversation and development of EAFS’ themes and ideas? The core team (artists, interns, volunteers and management) became the knowledge ambassadors, pioneers of information sharing to spread throughout the festival over the course of the weekend, conversing over hand outs and newspapers. My own corner fell to signage as installation, signposting as artwork. The role of art/ist as a communicator may have been over-stepped in my new found blackboard and road sign obsession (sorry to any who crossed my path late one night with blackboards under torch-light) but allowed for an intense period of questioning, development and ultimately understanding.

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To the artwork itself, EAFS as an installation created a central festival village, an information hub and home for just over a week. Some of our visitors never left this safe haven of conversation, freshly cut field and idyllic viewpoints. This was the cluster point, teams gathering before heading out, the return point for artists, performers and our four legged friends; all paths lead to Morton. The landscape was our context, and growing out from the castle and festival village were walks into the unknown – opening up a vastness of purple heather, braken, running water and clear sky. These were the lands of EAFS.conspectus 1

An early decision was taken for artworks to be minimal in their occupation of the landscape, long walks to distant locations or installation points yielded time for reflection, discovery and understanding of the place-context (nobody mention the partridges). The artworks themselves allowed for moments or glimpses into an artistic perspective – this was art as investigation, as questioning and framing. Art as walking, art as looking closer.

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One of the downsides of being so absorbed by organising was how little of the festival I managed to absorb, however my highlights included:

JW hill walk

Sitting high above the reservoir, hidden in heather – eating bleberries and listening to the rising sounds from the Art of Expeditions’s boat house.

Gathered around Andy McAvoy’s Tea Caddy, passing around objects from George Wyllie’s studio box.

Being entirely submerged in The Terrestrial Sea late on Saturday night.

Late night conversations by the embers of the River of Fire.

eafs walks

The festival was designed to be light on the earth, leaving without trace – there was an importance to the act/actions of leaving. Within 24 hours there was hardly a mark of our being, and it somehow felt right – sat on the last picnic bench in the fading sun.

Food. Firesides. Conversing.

Rhythm. Sustenance. Placemaking.

Collect. Curate. Create.

Landscape. Our land. The Lands of EAFS.

 

 

 

All images my own. Huge thanks and love to Robbie, Matt, Jan, Debz and the super-cool EAFS team. This year I participated in EAFS as one of five interns supported by the (fabulous) Holywood Trust.

Some beautiful image blogs of EAFS available on The Stove blog, check them out here

New Distractions

Wee while back I blogged about ‘New Distractions’ over on The Stove Network’s blog

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We asked ourselves a question: “Can a sign above a High Street building ever do anything other than promote and brand; can it ask questions, be part of a conversation with other signs… can our High Street ever be a space that prioritises people as well as sales?”

what true opportunities are there between the moss and the ‘for sale’ signs? How do we re-make the spaces between the High Streets we remember and what is left when our High Street no longer meets the bottom line of the multinationals?

Our town centres have grown out of a need to gather, connect, meet, barter and exchange. Dumfries owes its place to the river, the cattle marts and the passage of people. But from our largely rural context, Dumfries has also been the gathering point, the melting pot of communities meeting and exchanging, not just economically but socially, our connection out into the world.

Dumfries is not dead, only sleeping. Hidden Dumfries is in plain sight, behind the sagging bus stances and single occupancy street furniture.

Now is the time to act.

This action does not require grand master planners, or large scale redevelopment, but a little collective energy and small positive acts. Testing and experimentation, problem solving and lightweight interventions can lead the way to a more active high street, looking forward to a more valuable town centre. Small actions can highlight, question, explore and initiate discussion, growing from an inquisitive response to our everyday.

This is a call for new distractions.

Can we create a new visual language for our high streets?

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Read in full over on The Stove page here

salt of the earth

solway silt NY 13927 65142

annan river clay NY19182 70375

bentonite, imported

salt, irish sea NX 96140 11827

salt, solway firth NY 15278 65640

salt, north sea NT 68128 79048

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salt of the earth

Location #3 CALDEWGATE, Newcastle Street, Carlisle.

And so concludes part three of an extended foray into exhibition/gallery art in 2015. Salt of the Earth first appeared in public at Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries as part of Spring Fling’s YAB exhibition in March. In April, it reappeared in a new form at Kulturschopfer’s Green Hill Gallery, Berlin alongside Spring Fling’s Making.Art exhibition. Finally, it crossed the Solway, the starting point of the work for CALDEWGATE.

With each showing, works were added, removed, altered, fiddled with, reconsidered, redrawn and ditched. From challenging contextual spaces, to uncertain install details – salt of the earth has been an interesting experiment, which has included, light-touch performance, interactive works, film work, text based wall work, soundscapes and the original sculptural objects. All grown from a fascination with environment.

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How successful was it? Partially. Difficulties include: gallery context, ‘tangible’ engagement with passive gallery audiences, wiring install issues, sound quality, technical finish…

The ever perfection-driven artist ego struggles with gallery context. Even a desire for flawed-precision, humanised-perfection, can feel deflated and lack-lustre when confronted with a gallery context.

How does the audience arrive? With expectation? Can gallery audiences be more than passive viewers of a singular viewpoint? These experiences are far more personal, affected by the quietness and isolated nature of gallery spaces, temporary or otherwise. The CALDEWGATE space, so emotive for many visitors (and especially for the artists) still with a faint and dying scent of printmaking materials drew very distinctive frames around the work on view.

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As usual, the learning curve continues. What next? A period of reflection, and some new making. Through making, and then through sharing these works have become part of myself and huge thank yous must go out to all those who helped make salt of the earth happen. They are:

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s VAACMA Award Scheme

Spring Fling

Kulturschophfer

Gracefield Arts Centre team and staff

Genevieve Kay Gourlay and her unstoppable CALDEWGATE team

art school = art soul

It should be added, art colleges are a VALUABLE part of creating our cultural futures. Educational funding may not be what it was in some previous golden era, but measuring the value of your art college using a tape measure to student ratio is wasteful. Technical spaces are a dying breed, as ever increasing student numbers are sold a dream and packaged as sardines on a montetary fueled journey into the unknown. Art schools are magical places, and will grow our future creative and cultural worlds – they are the eye openers, precious spaces and world changers. Take heed art colleges, you are the guardians, the care-takers, the visionaries and future makers. But only if the art schools survive.

(rant over)

There’s Something in the Water

New projects, new explorations.

Dumfriesshire, Moffat HydropathicJourney #1: To Moffat, in search of magic water. Chatting to my granny today about her father, who upon getting plurosy whilst in Dunbar one Winter was sent to the Moffat Hydro and made to drink hideous tasting water. And of a friend of hers from Lochmaben, who’s father whenever he felt unwell would send her to fetch a lemonade bottle of water from the well at Moffat. Whichever way you look at it, there’s something in the water at Moffat. The most well known source of health-giving water is Moffat Well, but further up towads Hart Fell is a lesser known spring with, depending on your research a much more ancient history.DSC_0635_lowres DSC_0634_lowres(I suppose John may have ‘re’ discovered it after a period of time.) If you’re wondering, the taste is not much better than my great grandfather suggested, but as the rain water has filtered through the changing layers of geological strata (input from a geologist would be appreciated to set me straight on my ‘crumbly, black, chalky rock’, my ‘pale blue, slate-y rock’ and ‘iron mineral-y deposit’ definitions), it’s definitely taken on the flavour of the land.

We gathered too many rocks, which are sat out in a neat row in the studio. This first journey, was in fact, a journey to the starting point, the source point from which all journeys will now emanate in the spirit of this project. The act of walking from my point, has always been to seek a moment entirely in the present – to move through space at exactly the pace of that moment, without past or future limitations, just the incline of the hill to slow the going. This project introduces a new layer, whereby journey through landscape becomes journey through myth, legend and ancient storytelling, placing ourselves to a degree within the narrative. It’s a fasinating, if difficult to grasp concept.

Have ancient feet walked over this path? How did the view differ to characters of legend?

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(probably more trees. a lot more trees)

What would Merlin have made of our windfarms?

Art according to Lockerbie Academy Year 1 Pupils

Hunting for some paper to use for stencils last Friday (as you do – my studio is a veritable stencil den with very little floor space and a lot of oversized stencils… more on which another time), I came across the notes from my last days discussion at Lockerbie Academy during my residency earlier in the year with Spring Fling.

I asked the first year students I’d been working with a couple of questions about art as we had been discussing during my five weeks in their classrooms, and the answers suggested that first years are indeed far more intelligent and clued in than many would give them credit. It was real honour to work with such a wide and varied bunch of young people, some of whom, with any luck might yet find themselves on a journey of curiousity, questioning and learning.

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A favourite from Bob And Roberta Smith

1. Why do we have art in public spaces?

(The residency saw us creating work as part of a large permanent work, in the foyer of their school – a semi-public space in many ways, and their most influencial public art work was the recently installed Lockerbie Sheep outside the town hall as part of town redevelopment works).

To make it look cool

To Represent something

To tell a story

To commeorate an event or person

To make spaces more interesting

To represent something about our town

For people to share opinions about

As a landmark

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That’ll Learn ‘Em. Kid Acne.

2. Who do we make art for?

(My favourite obsession, audiences and the why’s of art making. This one a little difficult for a lot of our first years, who had never been encouraged to make work other than for sake of it, but were now being asked to donate their artworks for the good of the schools collection, to very mixed responses – rows were had over the collective artwork over individual ownership and authorship.)

Friends and family.

To inspire people

To look at

Everybody – the public

The community the work is in

Yourself.

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Image: Barry Young

3. What is art for?

(Always leave the biggie till last!)

Expressing yourself, telling a story.

Leisure. (A real live 11 year old said leisure).

As a Hobby, for happiness.

Makes you happy/peaceful.

To make money.

Learning.

Making places not look boring.

Emphasise things – how we look at things.

Exciting – exploring, learning.

Expressing emotion.

Showing our creativity.

Imaginative.

Because we enjoy it.

Fun. Entertaining.

Do what you love.

Money and fame.

Spontaneous.

Commemorative.

Communication – sharing opinions.

Beyond Doubt into Love with The Stove Network

Sometimes things start small.

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Really small. Like the time we were asking members of the Young Stove to envisage what The Stove could be for them and Lauren came up with this wee drawing. It’s lived on our wall and we’ve loved it a lot. It even came to The Stove when we moved back in and his it’s own new spot on the wall. That sort of love.

The Stove has quite a lot to say, but we are often just as interested in what everyone else has to say. If Dumfries could speak, what would it say? Cue speak bubbles (which are EVERYWHERE if you hadn’t noticed):

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We asked about. We asked on Twitter, asked on the streets, asked our friends, families, asked our favourite cafes, and then asked some more folk for good measure. Responses started to flood in, and orange bubbles started to appear across town. What places have the loudest voices? Big thanks to Herald Moxie and members of the Young Stove for championing the speech bubble conversations. More speech bubble conversations available on The Stove website here and here

What of these calls-to-arms could we sign up to? Which of these speaking shop fronts or town-centre-icons could give a slogan for Dumfries?

Time to call in an expert. Our expert on hand for this particular project was talented and patient printmaker and artist Sarah Keast. An island of calm amongst apparent chaos, the Stove turned ship sailing in a wild afternoon of frenzied t-shirt printing.

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The Young Stove proved themselves to be the real stars of the moment, an unstoppable tide of ceaseless creative energy in a slightly chaotic afternoon that saw near 140 t-shirts printed in four hours. On a school day. (Yes, really.)

In the end there were a selection of nine designs, none the clear winner.

Be Inspired By What You Didn’t Think You Would Be.

Be the Action!

Beyond Doubt Into Love.

Clean Up Your Act.

End the Ghosttown.

Let Change Happen.

Practical Acts and Good Craic.

Reclaim the High Street.

#saveme.

Beyond doubt

Beyond Doubt Into Love may well be a t-shirt for a moment in time, a fleeting gesture of an aspirational young movement in an otherwise sleepy town. On the otherhand, it could be a stance against the indifference, the naysayers and the ay’ beens. A call to action that says now is the time, and here is the place. One things for sure, this design in neon pink went down a treat and is already sought-after.

This is less of an end, and more of a beginning – keep an eye out for speech bubbles: once you start noticing them, they tend to pop up all over the place…

#GetDumfriesTalking

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To read the blog in full and in it’s original context, head on over to The Stove’s blog where you can stay up to date with all the latest cool happenings in Dumfries – do it now, here

Fabric

As part of this years Spring Fling, Marjorie Lotfi Gill was appointed as their first ever writer-in-residence, collecting, encouraging and writing the words of many across the Spring Fling weekend. My ever patient mentor Isabell, brought me along to one of Marjorie’s final sessions held at a weekly writers gathering in Edinburgh in response to various works by Isabell, Geoff Forrest, Joyce Woodcock and Kirstin Pilling. I have to admit to getting a bit distracted, but there you go:

In a new age of hipsters on penny-farthings, wearing home knit and carrying wooden cased i-phones – are these rural makers the new romantics of our time?

With a change in fashion comes a new vogue for the handmade –

– people-made –

– hand-of-the-maker –

over factory workers and lost childhoods to the darks of mass production in forgotten cities.

It’s all too easy to romanticise the maker in their rural idyll, weaving/felting/carving/polishing by the fire – the materials a call for the return to the land – the land that time forgot?

The history of material distilled, through the mysterious hands of the maker. But there are no mysteries, only ancient traditions, flecked with contemporary desire for spring-summer collections.

The craft maker.

The long developed skill of craftsmanship and its associations of human hands and natural (/nurtured?) materials, bent and shaped to the will of the maker – time bent, and time learnt.

You can read the interpretations of others on the Spring Fling blog here