Creativity and Artisan Food at Whithorn Arts And Crafts Trail
An article by Caroline Smith and Sid Ambrose
On the 18th and 19th July, artists makers and food producers will be gathering for the 3rd Creative Whithorn Arts and Crafts Trail. It promises to be a weekend packed with artistic activity in venues throughout the historic town. For my money Whithorn with its fine Georgian houses surrounded by gorse dappled fields is a perfect setting for an open studio event such as this.
Readers who aren’t familiar with the term “open studio event” need not be alarmed, it simply means that a collection of artists in a specific area cast open their doors to the general public, everyone is made to feel welcome, whether they are a window shopper on a summer jaunt or someone looking for something special to display in their home or office.
Angela Weston from Glasgow who attended the event in 2014 commented “Wandering around the different venues made it a really enjoyable day and people were so friendly, it’s a great showcase for the area.”
Shops, studios, galleries, barns and houses will be prepared for artists and makers to showcase their work. In addition there will also be hands on opportunities for visitors to get ‘creative’ and try a new art or craft.
The trail is a showcase of creative talent from across the Machars and beyond. The open studios will display, textiles, ceramics, wood craft, painting, drawing, print making, jewellery, glass work and photography. To celebrate their third outing of the trail, organisers will be opening new venues to compliment established artist’s studios and galleries across the town and surrounding area.
The Casswell family, at the Ying Yang Gallery, High Mains, will again be opening their garden walk, with wonderful views across the Solway to gallery visitors, this has proved to be one of trail’s most popular venues and it provides a perfect setting for a picnic lunch with ample opportunities to drink in the sea views.
Creative Whithorn who are the organising group responsible for the trail have also tied in with a number of international initiatives to theme the trail. 2015 is Scotland’s year of food and drink, to celebrate this Creative Whithorn have invited a select number of artisan food-makers along, which promises to be a treat for the taste buds of visitors and locals alike.
The second theme is the UNESCO Year of Light; artists from Creative Whithorn will be involved with the town’s primary school children, in a pre-trail project based on this theme. The resulting creative work will be on display during the July weekend. Finally it is the Chinese year of the sheep, now there are plenty of sheep in the Machars, but they won’t be taking part in the trail, not unless they take their coats off first. For members of the Wigtownshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers will be working with fleeces throughout the weekend, andwill be presenting their popular and skilful demonstrations, creating textiles using traditional methods and equipment.
Creative Whithorn Arts and Crafts Association are keen to point out that they are a not for profit group. The idea behind this and other artist’s trails around the country is to give small communities a much needed economic boost from increased visitor numbers, whereby cafes, petrol stations, hotels and all manner of local businesses can benefit in addition to the featured artists and producers.
The group originally formed to showcase the wealth of creative talent in the area, from the inspiration of local sculptor Jack Sloan. Along with the Trail event activity this year, the work of Creative Whithorn artists and makers has been selected for an exhibition at the Ross Gallery, Stranraer Museum. The exhibition titled ‘A Gathering,’ will run between 11th July and 1st August 2015.
More information about the trail and the Ross Gallery Exhibition is available on the website- www.creativewhithorn.co.uk