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Friday, October 3, 2014

Beechgrove Gardens and Musical Journeys across the Region

SAH article for The Commonty from Cate Ross,
Stewartry Arts Hub Convenor.

As ever, there is a lot going on in the creative industries in Stewartry!
Highlights of the last months include the biggest, best Kirkcudbright Arts and Crafts Trail with record visitor and artist numbers. For me this is an annual highlight, it brings artists from all disciplines and career stages together, side by side, giving every one an equal opportunity to show and sell their art!!

There have been a multitude of solo and group exhibitions locally, nationally and internationally that include SAH members, to see what people are up to make sure you check out and ‘like’ our Facebook page 

Other creative successes include a wonderful project headed up by the Auchencairn community for a new community garden in their village. All ages pitched in donating plants and digging them in. A designer and students from Scottish Rural University Campuses also helped to create the garden. It includes a sculptured wooden play area complete with carved ‘Cockle’ chairs made by Willie Wight; a bog garden and an edible forest garden area using permaculture techniques, thanks to Luci Alderslowe of Gatehouse of Fleet.

The garden was aided greatly by John Hutchison, Phoebe Marshall, Naomi Wight and Pamela Caldow who gained funding from The Holywood Trust to create a sculptured drystane dyke seat through a workshop for young people and an outdoor classroom to be built soon. They also won awards from The Carnegie Trust, Stewartry Local Area Committee, Royal Horticultural Society backed up by local fundraising.

All their activity meant that ‘Beechgrove Gardens’ selected the project for their programme on BBC Scotland and were helping out and filming last week in Auchencairn. Programme to be broadcast on 16th October.

Stewartry Arts Hub member Will Marshall (part of the curatorial team at the Stove Network) also played a central role in the fabulous Nithraid event in Dumfries, celebrating the river and its history, which went off with great aplomb. Its success was partly thanks to Ruth Morris and Gavin Marwick’s Balkan street band performing specially composed music for their promenade through Dumfries town centre as part of the celebrations. Other Stewartry musicians taking part were Sze Ying Heng (Trombone) and Jenny Stephenson (Accordion).

A bicycle powered foundry has also be designed and put to great use by Uula Jero of the Hidden Mill, Balmaclellan and Katie Anderson a Curatorial Stovie from Annan who held casting workshops at Nithraid (making celebratory buttons) and The Stove’s Trading Journeys project (making spoons in honour of D&G gypsy king Billy Marshall) as part of The Wigtown Book Festival.

The infamous Alice Francis and her trusty hoss, Dougal, also brought great wonder to the event by trotting between Auchencairn and Wigtown on a three day journey collecting spoons made by primary school kids in Stewartry and Wigtownshire. Her journey was documented by the awesome Kim Ayres Photography; see his blog about it here 

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