Some of the artists and crafts people met this week to put the final touches to the preparations for the first Art and Crafts Trail to be held in Whithorn over the weekend of the 19th, 20th and 21 July. A few even got together in the sunshine to reminisce about a certain Sgt Pepper cover photograph they decided to slightly emulate – but this will not be a “lonely arts club band”!
Showing the strength of creative talent from the Machars and beyond, over 30 artists and crafts people will be exhibiting and demonstrating their work in Whithorn. As well as painters in oil and watercolour, woodcarvers, blacksmith, potter, doll maker, printmaker, stained glass artist, embroiderers, weavers, photographers and others are all taking this opportunity to flaunt their artistic flair!
Over 16 venues are being opened for the Trail including the launch of 2 new private galleries and a smithy that will be very welcome, permanent additions to Whithorn. The Whithorn Trust’s Ninian Gallery and the Machars' Craft Workshop run by Gill Bailey will be holding group shows. In addition, to cope with the demand from artists for exhibition spaces, houses, gardens, garages and shop windows will also be pressed into service.
Feathered inhabitants of Whithorn will in for a shock as, through the famous Priory Pend archway in Bruce Street, a new housing development for the birds is being created with each artist designing a birdhouse that will range from the slightly sensible to the wildly surreal. Judging by some of the birdhouse designs completed so far, the approach to the ruined Priory church will be ‘on a wing and a prayer’. Of course, the winning entry to the very successful Whithorn Primary School competition to design a birdhouse will have pride of place.
On Sunday, the phrase that identifies Whithorn as ‘the shining light’ will be reinterpreted with a series of lamppost poems with the street lights hung with literary quotations, each illumination another aspect of George Street.
Over the weekend the Whithorn Story Exhibition, with its special loan exhibition of Orkney’s St Ninian’s Isle Treasure from the Nation Museum in Edinburgh, and the nearby Historic Scotland Museum, that houses amongst the finest collections of carved stone crosses in Scotland, will also be open free of charge – 10.30am to 5.00pm.
Receiving this year backing from West Fest, it is hoped that the Art and Crafts Trail weekend will become an annual Whithorn event.