EIFF & Not Another Happy Ending


Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 presents Not Another Happy Ending at their closing night gala this Sunday 30 June!

Project Ability artists presented their artwork for the set of the film in August 2012; we were greatly privileged to be part of the backdrop of the story and are excited to see the film released during the festival.



Look out for Project Ability artwork in the trailer, we can spot Robert Reddick's 'Strawberry Cream Tarts' and Martin Sloss' 'Olympic Village'...



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ReConnect printing workshops at GPS


Five Project Ability artists took part in taster workshops at the Glasgow Print Studios.



Working with artist/tutor Joy Bain in woodcut and John Fitzpatrick in screen printing, each discipline was delivered over two sessions using the same processes and equipment GPS members and professional artists have been using for the past 40 years.


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Our Administrator vacancy has now been filled



Our Administrator vacancy has now been filled.  We would like to express our thanks to all the people who applied, for your interest in our organisation and for the time and effort taken to complete the application form.

We had an overwhelming response and the task of short-listing for interview and subsequent selection of the successful candidate was an extremely difficult one.     

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Lennox Castle Stories presentation at the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disabilities


The Lennox Castle Stories project continues to inspire.

Our thanks to Doreen, Sadie and Marie who on the 20th June joined Sheryl Walker from C-change to make a presentation at the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability. They shared stories about living in the Castle, demonstrated the website and talked about their contribution to the project. “…………very thought provoking and informative”.

For further information please visit the website http://www.lennoxcastlestories.co.uk



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Meet the Volunteers: Nick Thomas


For our last Meet the Volunteers this block, please meet Nick Thomas, who has been an invaluable addition to our Create Saturday Visual Arts Classes. Keep an eye on the website, we will be advertising for the next block soon.

"In the ‘difficult first year’ out of art school, the Create workshops have been something of an oasis - albeit a tiring one - in the midst of a week generally filled with a service work and application forms. I graduated from painting and printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art and, although I moved away from these to time-based media whilst studying, the participants at Project Ability have since reminded me of the simple satisfaction of creating images and sculptures. Seeing the development of ideas from week to week, the range of source material (ipad games have featured heavily!) and the excitement generated by (among other things) overhead projectors, I’ve left Trongate 103 on a Saturday afternoon exhausted but invigorated.



A project I’ve been involved with over the last year has seen me researching the history of the Third Eye Centre, active in Glasgow in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The Third Eye was forward-thinking in terms of its programme of social engagement, which included community work and a strong relationship with Barlinnie’s infamous Special Unit. One of the offspring of this period in Glasgow’s artistic history is Project Ability, and I was lucky enough to be able to speak to Joyce Laing recently - art therapist at the Special Unit and co-founder of Project Ability. Hearing Joyce talk so eloquently about her life, helping those who would perhaps otherwise not have had access to the arts, was incredibly inspiring. Knowing that her valuable work continues to this day, and being able to contribute in a small way, has been integral in reaffirming my belief in the positive effect that art can have in people’s lives."


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Help us reach £5000 in small cash donations for the Create Programme


The last year has been one of the busiest and most vibrant years of the Create programme to date! Thank you to all of our participants and their friends and families for their continuing support and hard work. We hope to continue to work with you to make the Create Programme for children and young people even stronger and more engaging in the years to come. But for that, we need your help!

Project Ability is a registered charity relying solely on grants and donations. The Create Programme receives no core funding for its activities and relies entirely on continual fundraising to safeguard its future. The new Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme allows charities to claim top-up payments from HM Revenue and Customs on small cash donations that they receive without the need to collect any information or signatures. These are cash donations of £20 or less and must be in bank notes or coins. For every £1 you donate HMRC will donate an additional 25p.

We are aiming to reach £5,000 in cash donations in the next 12 months – resulting in a top-up payment of £1,250 from HMRC to put towards our Create Programme for children and young people!

The gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-5pm, why not come and have a look at our wonderful show Young Talent, and leave a small donation on your way out?

You can of course donate online too, via our JustGiving page.

Thank you from all of us at Project Ability!


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Young Talent opening event


Young Talent is one of our favourite shows, and this year was no different! The gallery is full of colourful works, paintings, drawings, felt and papier-mache bugs, ceramics and other lightboxes, that immediately put a smile on your face!



Once again, our young artists have done a fantastic work, and they all came in big numbers to the opening event on Saturday 15 June.



We have already had wonderful feedback regarding the show, afterall, it's not every day you see a giant spider web and giant felt bugs in an art gallery!



Make sure you pop by and see the great work produced in our Saturday Visual Arts Classes, the show runs until 28 July.

Click here for a slideshow of the opening event.

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Meet the Volunteers: Sabine Geissler


This week, meet Sabine Geissler, an Austrian community artist who has been an invaluable addition to the Aspire team.

‘I completed the equivalent of a BA in communication design, focussing on illustration, back home in Austria. After completing this degree I spent some time working as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, in Austria and Australia, where I lived for a while. As I had worked as a nanny during my time at uni and loved spending time with children, I decided to go back to uni and did a diploma in Montessori early childhood studies in London. I have worked with children as a pre-school teacher for almost 8 years now, but to give myself a more solid basis for the work in the education sector, I simultaneously completed a BA Hons. in early childhood studies at London Metropolitan uni.



During my time as a teacher I enjoyed creating art with children tremendously and due to my background in both fields I began looking into opportunities working as a community artist, as I wanted to combine both my passions, art and education. For the last year and a half I have been working first as a volunteer and later as a paid freelancer for a couple of organisations in Glasgow. I knew of Project Ability through some of my friends and always wanted to get an insight into this amazing organisation, so when a volunteer position came up and I was offered to volunteer for the Aspire workshops, I felt very lucky to have got in. It is a wonderful space and I love getting to know the participants, being able to take part in something so worthwhile and uplifting.’



Thank you very much for everything, Sabine!

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The current block of Aspire workshops is finishing this week


The current block of Aspire workshops is finishing this week. The new block will start on Monday 29 July and will run until Friday 20 August. In the meantime, have a look at what went on in our studios today...

There were a few colourful portraits:



And a bunch of beautiful flowers were a great source of inspiration:




There were a few animals too:




All in all, a grand day in Project Ability!



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Wanted - Filmmakers



Project Ability’s award winning film programme is delivered by a team of professional filmmakers who support young people with disabilities to construct their ideas, develop their stories, learn technical skills, impart their knowledge of filmmaking and most of the time manage to stay one step ahead! Our young filmmakers are passionate, enthusiastic and well-informed about film.

We deliver beginner and advanced classes in our studio in Trongate 103 where, following a successful fundraising campaign in 2012, we have excellent resources and current generation equipment. We also deliver film projects in community venues and in partnership with education.

We are now looking to increase our bank of freelance film tutors and ask that filmmakers interested in this opportunity send us an expression of interest, an up to date C.V with relevant details of training and qualifications, details of professional experience and digital links to work made in the last 2 years.

Please submit information to submissions@project-ability.co.uk by 15th July 2013.

We will acknowledge receipt of information received.

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Dogs’ by Ayleigh Palmer





This week, we are very pleased to bring you 'Dogs' by Create artist Ayleigh Palmer.

Ayleigh has presented each breed distinctively, framed in bright colour halos and using the colour to give each a self-expression and character of their own. The dogs have cute eyes and an adorable nature that appear as real as the artist's love of drawing them.

Ayleigh's work will be exhibited in our next exhibition, Young Talent opening on Saturday 15 June and will be part of the exhibition's special limited edition products coming soon in July... 

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Ruth Ansell - Artist in residence, May 2013



Our first artist in residence this year is Ruth Ansell, an artist with a design and textile background. Previously a volunteer with Project Ability’s Create programme, she took over a corner of our ReConnect workshops for the month of May, gathering lots of attention from the other artists.

One month is quite a short time, how did you prepare for the residency?
I had an idea of things I wanted to achieve during the residency, though I think I was a little overambitious! But it’s not a bad thing; it’s good to have something to work towards. It was also important to me not to be too strict about this time, as I can be quite controlling with what I need to do. I wanted to allow a flow to happen, which I think I achieved. I overcame a few stumbling blocks and I genuinely think I have more of an idea of what I want to do now.

I graduated from Art school in 2004, and since then I have been doing bits and pieces of work, but they have always been based on other people, for example making a dress using a pattern, I have found it hard to create my own independent work. The residency allowed me time to try things, for example I’ve never really painted on a canvas before, so this is my first painting!



Did the residency give you some sort of clarity then?
Well, I did a design subject, and I thought of it very much like a design subject, worrying about things like commerciality. I spent too long thinking about my work from another person’s perspective and not actually being creative and expressing myself. Going from a design background to the expressive visual arts can be quite daunting, as it’s a very different way of thinking. Someone I interviewed for my dissertation last year said that in craft there was no real depth of thought behind the artwork, except for functionality. In the past I felt I worried about this aspect too much: I like things that are functionally well made, and I also like expressive things, but I never allowed myself to be expressive. I feel like I liberated myself to a more fine art way of thinking during the residency, which felt very freeing.



Can you talk us through what you have been working on?
It’s all been about experimentation… I took some photos before coming here to inspire me, so there have been various strands of visual research. However, I really wanted to crack the texture in one of my photographs, which I think I achieved with the newspaper. The only problem is that it’s paper, so from a design/craft point of view it can’t actually be worn. But I wanted to go through this process being as resourceful as possible, re-use is a big area of interest for me: I collected used newspapers, and I’ve painted and woven them by hand, often without a proper loom. I’ve also been in touch with a mill about getting some unprocessed wool as a step to making something low cost but also wearable using my visual research and new techniques as a starting point. I wasn’t really into working with such strong texture before, so that’s also been quite a new thing for me. I feel I have learned a lot about working with what is to hand and from this I have developed new techniques, all during the residency.



Have you had lots of interest from Project Ability artists?
Yes, and that’s been really nice! I wasn’t feeling particularly confident in myself and what I was doing, but I have had lots of people commenting on the work, and saying they really liked it. They were really enthusiastic, especially about the textures and the chromatography drawings.



Where will you go from here?
I am going to finish the exhibition piece, which might take a little bit longer than I thought! I started making a dress from the textured and woven paper, but it’s not where I want it to be yet. I want to get a loom and start doing painted warps too. I’ve only just started weaving again and it’s something I feel I can get a lot more from as an artist. The residency has taught me the value of dedicated space, so I know I want to set up a space like this as soon as possible. My space at home is not suitable and I feel that it has been hindering me doing my own work.

I started a blog about the residency and the work I’ve been doing here (http://www.ruthansell.blogspot.co.uk). Maybe I will try making my own website, and try to exhibit my work too.



How did working in Project Ability affect your practice?
I never think that I know enough: I keep going to classes or doing work experience, I guess I haven’t felt confident I could work independently before. Having this time, a lot of things came together and I realised I’ve not been allowing myself to do what I want. This is the first time I’ve called myself a textile artist and designer, so that’s pretty cool! Basically the time has helped me to start practicing again; previously I was just doing things when people needed me to. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of being good enough at a craft to offer a service to others, it’s very valuable to me, but I also want to concentrate on my own work too. I think if I set up some sort of dedicated workspace, I will be able to do that.

It’s been a great experience, very positive! I have been telling everyone how great the organisation is. I think you might have a lot of people applying for the residency next year!!


All images are works in progress.

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Meet the Volunteers: Anne Guillemin



Anne Guillemin applied to volunteer with us after an extensive career spanning 32 years, working for 10 years at the Visual Arts Studio and a further 22 years as an art teacher in a variety of schools throughout Glasgow. Recently retired, Anne applied to volunteer with our ‘Create’ programme, here’s what she said about her experience…

"Working as a volunteer for Project Ability proved to be a very enlightening experience for me. It provided a perfect opportunity to work alongside some very interesting and inspiring young individuals. It was a treat to be able to spend time with the older kids in particular and share in their enthusiasm towards their artwork.

The talented young staff and volunteers encourage a carefree yet focused atmosphere in a fantastic space where budding young artists get the rare opportunity to create exactly what they want to create in a safe supported environment.


It was a privilege to be a part of their team and is one which I will treasure and can heartily recommend. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with these lovely kids. They taught me more than I gave to them. Life lessons."
-Anne Guillemin




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Our Exhibitions, Volunteer and Create programme reports are now available to read online



Our 2012 / 2013 Exhibitions report, including information on our gallery programme and our off-site and international projects can now be read online by clicking here.



Our 2012 / 2013 Create programme report, including information on our Saturday Visual Arts classes, Introduction to Film classes and Art Matters can now be read online by clicking here.



Our 2010 / 2013 Volunteer programme report can now be read online by clicking here.

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