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Timespan Residency 2004-2007
Our residency programme started over 2 years ago.
A preliminary survey had shown that, if offered, communities in Sutherland, would be very happy to take part in the pilot programme and have artists working in their midst on aspects of local heritage – historic, cultural, natural and built.
The artists were selected by representatives from the community involved.
Jon Macleod, a printmaker and mixed media artist from the Isle of Lewis, was the first artist, working in Helmsdale with the local heritage. He found the history of Gartymore, West Helmsdale and the Strath of Kildonan inspirational.
Two more residencies followed. Gemma Petrie, a painter, from Skye took up a residency in Skerray, North Sutherland, based on the natural heritage of the area. Gemma produced mixed media paintings using local mosses, lichens and algae to inform her work.
Sculptor, Nigel Mullan, from the Black Isle, was the artist selected by the Golspie selection committee. Nigel used old maps and place names of the area as the basis for his work. He is producing a stone carving “The Book of Golspie” as his response to these themes.
March 2006 saw, Julian Meredith, a printmaker from Herefordshire start his residency, focussing on the natural heritage of Helmsdale Harbour. This residency included a commission to create a piece of work for the harbour area. The commissioned piece, a large fish/whale, representing the migration of whales in the North Sea and salmon to the River Helmsdale, fabricated in sheet steel, was installed on the East Pier wall in August.
Image: Julian working on The Whale/Fish on the East Pier Wall, Helmsdale
Beatriz Pimenta Velloso from Rio de Janeiro came in July to Brora. This was a huge culture shock for her! She loved the vast, quiet, empty expanse of the beach, could not get over how few people there seemed to be about, and found sheep and their behaviour fascinating. Her film recording her response to sheep with music by Jamie Harris will be with us soon for inclusion in our Residency Exhibition 2007.
The final residency of the programme has just started. Catriona Murray, a visual artist, and Janis Mackay, writer and storyteller, are the new artists in residence. They will be based in the Strath of Kildonan. Janis Mackay, originally from Edinburgh and now based in Caithness, recently completed a writers residency centred on North Lands Creative Glass, Lybster and Lyth Arts Centre. She has a MA in creative writing and is a member of the Scottish Storytelling Centre. During this residency she is looking forward to developing her writing and storytelling in relation to the landscape around the Strath of Kildonan.
Catriona Murray, prior to taking up this post, was living and working in Edinburgh, however she is no stranger to the Highlands and Islands having spent much time in the north. Her work in different ways relates itself to the landscape. Catriona has recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art (BA Hons. Tapestry). Her most recent exhibitions have been photographic.
They will be working together to bring, they hope, some creative light to the dark winter months and will focus their work round the Strath of Kildonan. Catriona and Janis will work with children in Helmsdale Primary School and also Kinbrace, where hopefully the young creative juices will flow with storytelling, painting, poetry, bookmaking and more. The artists are keen to involve as many people as possible in their work and will offer arts and creative writing workshops in the community. Janis recently completed a stint as writer in residence in Caithness where she worked collaboratively with other artists to give workshops to community groups in Caithness. One outcome of this project was a book “Caithness Voice” where local people who attended writing workshops soon found themselves in print! Creativity, say Janis and Catriona, is for everyone, and during their period in Sutherland they hope local people will feel welcome to join in, come along to workshops and get involved. Because the focus of the artisitic work is the Strath of Kildonan Janis and Catriona hope to gather a collection of stories and memories from the Strath. Anyone who has something to share from the Strath is encouraged to get in touch.
Also if you are already part of a local group and would like to invite the artists to give a arts workshop, storytelling performance, poetry reading or talk, please feel free to contact them.
Catriona Murray m 07759694874
Janis Mackay m 07974920394
Catriona and Janis will be at Timespan every Thursday morning from 10.30 – 12.30. Everyone is welcome to come along, have a warm drink and meet the artists.
They will also be at Timespan on Friday 8 December at 7.00 pm when there will be a workshop and talk. This is another opportunity to meet Janis and Catriona and enjoy some Christmas fare.
The artists hope to offer a one day workshop in Helmsdale in January to start off the Highland Year of Culture with many local people getting creatively involved. Look out for information about this event in the local press and posters. For more information contact Meg Telfer, 01641 521845 and see Timespans web site www.
The Residency programme is funded by Scottish Arts Council, Leader+, Scottish Natural Heritage
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