I’ve just come back from another lovely weekend in Wigtown during which I showcased my work as part of my Artist Residency for this year’s Spring Fling, Scotland’s premier Art and Craft open studios event. I re-installed my Windows of Wigtown project which I had originally created for the Wigtown Book Festival and which was now being presented to a whole new audience (the wonderful picture below was taken by photographer Andy Farrington).
Luckily the large sized installation was obvious enough to lure many visitors into the building where they could find more of my work on display as well as learn how to make their very own papercuts during a couple of workshops. Amongst my students as you can see below were two star guests; Kasia Matyjaszek who apart from being a very talented illustrator was also my lovely helping hand and Renita Boyle, Wigtown’s charismatic author and storyteller.
The Spring Fling weekend was not only a wonderful opportunity for me to catch up with the local people of Wigtown but also to meet many interesting new people who came travelling to Dumfries and Galloway in order to see all the studios that had opened up their doors for this event.
I always find that opportunities like these that get you out of your comfy studio environment and that exposing your work to new people can be very insightful. Talking about my inspiration and process makes me become aware of things that are otherwise often done unconsciously. It is good to see and hear people’s reactions to your work and to get to know your audience, and as an artist who often seeks to engage the general public I find this a very valuable experience.
Wigtown is a place I have really grown attached to by now. Whenever I go to visit this wee town I seem to completely forget everything else. And I believe that the constant lack of connection to the outside world via internet or phone plays a big role in the peace you will find there. But it’s also the people and the town itself. All of this makes me feel like I do not yet want to let go of the project but instead expand it a bit more; continuing to investigate into the place and to try and bottle its spirit in all its quirkiness, warmth and beauty. Basically I would like to transform the windows project into something more portable than the large facade!
As much as I was planning to go out and do drawings of Wigtown during my Spring Fling residency I simply ran out of time. Partly because I just really enjoyed catching up with friends once I had left the studio. However, I did manage to get one sketchbook double spread filled with a piece of landscape. The surrounding landscape brings back memories of my childhood in Ireland and I am always surprised about how different it is from the landscape on the east coast. For those who have not been to the area yet I can only recommend paying it a visit. As for me, I guess I will just have to return equipped with a whole lot of sketchbooks and indulge in the place without any further commitments.
And before I forget, here’s a bit of publicity that the project got from the Scotland Herald. You can either enlarge the image to read the article directly or otherwise just have a look at the Herald online instead. Enjoy the read!