Collage, watercolour and pencil by Kate Foster
‘Working the Tweed’ is one of 14 art and nature projects supported by Creative Scotland during 2013 and the only one based in the Scottish Borders. The creative talents of Kate Foster, Jules Horne, Claire Pençak and James Wyness have come together to focus on the people that work on and around the River Tweed catchment.
Harestanes Centre Manager Michael Scott said, “It’s sometimes easy to forget just how much the Tweed and its rivers define our region and so it’s particularly appropriate that these four artists have chosen such a fundamental subject for their creative investigations.”
Working the Tweed has been exploring some of the lesser known aspects of the Tweed and its tributaries; from re-meandering to fish-tagging. Information gathered though field visits and riverside meetings with scientists and river specialists has provided the material from which the project room work has been created , encompassing drawing, film, sound and textiles. The project room is about bringing a creative process and a different perspective to specialist knowledge. James Wyness says ‘The biggest surprise for me has been discovering the extent to which we have produced and created so many aspects of the so-called ‘natural’ environment.
Kate Foster said, “There is a huge wealth of knowledge about the river to draw on. My task has been to find creative ways to show some of the complexities of the river system. It’s been a playful process too, even getting educated about diggers and the difference between a front loader and an excavator.”
Working the Tweed is a collaborative endeavour. Claire Pençak says ‘The joy of working on a group project is that you arrive at ideas collectively that you would probably never arrive at on your own. It makes you have to think in different ways and to learn new skills from each other.’
Public events and activities like ‘Knowing your River, Riverside Meetings with artists and river specialists and the Tweed Sessions have generated lots of conversations all over the region around the river and what it means to people. This focus on social and public engagement has had a major impact on the direction of the project and it is represented in the Project Room through the River Way drawings made by people over the summer and the voices of people on sound recordings.
Jules Horne said, “It has been a privilege to learn from people doing different kinds of work around the River Tweed and understand how the Borders is shaped and interconnected by the river catchment. It’s made me see the region in a new way.”
‘Working the Tweed’ is open daily in the Harestanes Visitor Centre Gallery from 10am to 5pm from Wednesday 9 to Thursday 31 October.
The project blog site is www.workingthetweed.co.uk