Timespan's Artist in Residence programme is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Eurpoean Community Highland Leader 2007-2013 Programme

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Passing the baton!

Well it's more of a geological hammer than a baton!

But just as Julia goes, I arrive, and we share the delights of the Games together.

Julia's exhibition is stunning and very powerful, I urge you to come and see it.

So, I'm now at what I call that deliciously terrifying stage of a project. Done the research, got the ideas, put forward the proposal - now I just have to do it.

And the hammer? Ah come back for the next blog, and all will be revealed.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Close-Knit Exhibition work 2

Foxglove Croft

Made collaboratively with Lorna Jappy

This spoof Estate Agent’s window display is accompanied by a document, which aims to sell the idea of living in a croft in Badbea, a deserted clearance village 6 miles up the road, whilst, at the same time, describing what it might have been like to live in one of the most challenging clearance sites during the 1800s.

The document will be included in a publication to complement this exhibition, available from 24th September 2010 from Timespan's shop or my online gift shop

Close-Knit Exhibition work 1

Keep The Fires Burning

Made collaboratively with Christine Cowie

The two gable ends, pictured in the light-boxes, were both found in Wester Helmsdale and are brilliant examples of the skill and creativity of the crofters. Virtually nothing remains of these crofts except for these vitally important fireplaces. But with these, we can imagine a glimpse of what it would have been like to live in these homes. The hearth was the focus of indoor family life, around which the whole family would spend their evenings. The crofters would never have let the fire go out. For this work I installed warming flowers and smoky grasses, in order to recreate that focus point and create a ‘memorial’ for the heart of these homes. The space in which these works are housed is the same dimension as a croft (3/4 size).

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Edwyn Collins, the 2010 Chieftain at the Helmsdale Highland Games

The day after my opening was The Helmsdale Highland Games. Myself, my husband, Colin Usher, and dog Becca had a brilliant day watching the antics.

It was a moving procession, with Edwyn Collins walking all the way up to the games from right outside my front door on Dunrobin Street.

The other highlight for me had to be the tug of war, with local lads heaving with all their might whilst still managing to hang on to a can of tennent's and smoke a fag!

Close-Knit Opening

The exhibition opening was a huge success, with 56 people attending, including kids. I was delighted!
Director of Timespan, Nicola Henderson, kindly opened the exhibition with a few words and this was promptly followed by a brilliant and hilarious speech by my good friend Christine Cowie. She claimed that she was 'a humble Maths Teacher on the bottom rung of the Arts Ladder' but she has helped me enormously throughout my residency and I hope, that I may have helped her to climb up that ladder just a little.

I also said a few words about the individual works and how the ideas had come about. People seemed to listen...

Even the kids!

Once the speeches were out of the way visitors spent some time exploring the works.

Of course, Jean Sargent quickly realised that my bedpan was indeed not a hat!

The wee ones turned my room containing the light-boxes into a disco...

...and visitors actually spent time reading my spoof Estate Agents document rather than just quaffing the free wine and crab pate nibbles (Thank you!)...

...I left Helmsdale on a high!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Badbea inspired piece

Installing Badbea inspired piece made with the help of the knitting group and children from Helmsdale Primary School...getting there!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Back at Timespan and preparing for install

An evening spent boiling rope in tea!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Install week at Timespan

I'm heading back up to Helmsdale on Monday for one final week. I'll miss this place!

It's install week for the exhibition 'Close-Knit' so I'm feeling excited to see how it all comes together. It looks good in my head but...

I've designed it so that you will be taken on a bit of a journey through the gallery space, down a small corridor and into a room, which is actually exactly 3/4 of the size of a particular croft I have been exploring. I had hoped to make it full size but, even though it's tiny and would have fitted in the gallery (can you believe it? A whole house!) there wouldn't have been much room left for the other works.

I hope that people aren't put off by this corridor and slightly small dark space as, through this room, you will find several other works, made by me with the help of many local people, and also a stunning view of the river.

Please come if you can?

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Final week

It was my final week as Artist in Residence in Timespan last week. The next time I go up will be to install the exhibition (opens 20th August), so it was a frantic week, trying to get everything finished. I nearly managed too! Though it did mean working from 8 in the morning to midnight every day!!

I was extremely pleased with the knitting group and kids, who have been helping me make a piece of work. They've done a sterling job and managed to achieve what I thought initially to be an ambitious amount of work. 21 pairs of booties have been knitted, the exact number of children who lived in Badbea in 1841 I'm led to believe, so that's spot on. The group even met for a second time during the week to help me put together all of the knitted squares into something that resembled big stones (for the booties to be tied to so the children won't fall off the cliff!).

The piece will be called 'For your Own Good'

There's a lot of 'good's in my titles: 'One perfectly Good Bucket' and 'One perfectly Good Bedpan', I asked their opinion of this and they said 'It's all good!'