A couple of weeks ago I made my very first visit to Wigtown! I spent three days in the town getting to know a few of those residents who have lived most of their lives there and collecting anecdotes of the place and its famous Wigtown Book Festival.
It was suggested to me that it might be best to walk around the town and knock on people’s doors. At the start I was a little bit nervous, but what I found was a beautiful little community where everybody seems to know each other and people take good care of one another. Before I knew it I was sat down with a cup of tea in one hand and a toasted teacake (some of the most beautiful I have ever tasted) in the other. The conversations we had were recorded and currently I am in the process of editing these and selecting those bits I would like to use for my project (see image below, that is if the delicate wallpaper allows you to make out anything).
I am hoping that by the start of the festival I will have the windows of the County Buildings filled with snippets from these conversations accompanied by some illustrations. These installations will all be lit up at night so whilst they should look good during the day, they will really come to life after dusk.
The aim of this piece is to give the visitors a bit of an insight into Wigtown and its residents. The County Buildings windows actually comprise of 111 individual segments and each one of these will be needed to be fitted with an individual design, which means I’d better get a move on!
I addition to the Country Buildings I am also very happy to say that I have been able to secure two empty neighbouring buildings which I will fill with work inspired by the comments of authors and visitors and will be created and installed during the Festival itself. Further windows may be added along the way, but this will be subject to them being ‘donated’ by the residents and shop owners!
All in all my first impression of Wigtown is that ‘Wigtonians’ are equally charming as their Book Festival and I can highly recommend popping in and having a chat to the people you will meet in the towns many bookshops and cafes.
Here is a link to a facebook page specifically dedicated to ‘Windows of Wigtown’, which I will be updating with any development!