Shop Item of the Week – Angel of the North by Lesley Nimmo

Shop Item of the Week time again, and this week we bring you a brand new addition to our online shop: 'Angel of the North' by Aspire artist Lesley Nimmo.  Lesley's representation of the famous monument is striking to say the least, and this acrylic on paper piece can be yours for just £50. 

Available here

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Artwork of the Week - Cable Car by Kevin Cantwell

This week we bring you Kevin Cantwell's 'Cable Car' as our artwork of the week. Kevin worked alongside Aspire artist John Cocozza as part of his ReSearch project, and the pair produced some stunning works, made by recycling various materials found around our studio. Kevin and John's work will be exhibited as part of the The ReSearch Room Presents exhibition, alongside work by artist James McCann who collaborated with Project Ability artists Rehan Yusuf, Jane Fisher and Lorraine Rainoir Clark.  The exhibition will run from 31 Oct 2015 until 21 Nov 2015, and is well worth a visit. 

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Meet the Volunteers - Jennifer Smith

Our 'Meet the Volunteers' blog series is back! We'll start this block with the brilliant Jennifer Smith, who has been volunteering with both our Create Saturday classes and our Aspire group.

"I am a ceramicist based at the Fireworks studio in Glasgow making illustrated, functional ware. I use a variety of techniques including slip casting, throwing and hand building. I then use these forms as canvases for my original illustrations. I often use a technique called sgraffito to carve my designs into the clay. These line drawings are picked out using a stain or slip inlay and coloured with underglaze.
In the past I have set up creative workshops and taught classes with a number of creative organisations and absolutely loved it so I was looking for more opportunities where I could get involved. Having seen some of the brilliant work made at Project Ability when I came to their exhibitions, I was really pleased to get the opportunity to volunteer here.

I volunteer for both the Saturday Create classes and the Monday Aspire classes which is brilliant because I get to work with people of all ages. I’ve found that the experience of working with both classes has really helped me get the most out of the time I’ve got here.
As I’ve gotten to know the artists better I’ve found it really interesting to see what they’re drawn to. A lot of the time the work reflects their interests or their affinity for a particular medium and hearing about the ideas behind the work is just as interesting as the work itself. The work is boundless too. It’s really exciting to have someone ask for a 6ft canvas in the morning and have a huge masterpiece completed by the afternoon.  The facilities here allow for an incredible creative freedom with ceramics, glass, printmaking, painting, drawing, and sculpture all at your fingertips. In helping the artists I’ve learnt new printmaking techniques, creative ways to scale up initial drawings and how to be more instinctive in the way I make my own work.
The workshop leaders have also been brilliant to work with. They’ve been really generous in offering me advice, sharing their experience and even supplying a good Saturday morning empire biscuit! There’s a shared enthusiasm from everyone working here and it’s infectious. I’m genuinely really sad that it’s only another 8 weeks to go.

I think the most unexpected plus side has been the impact that volunteering here has had on my own work. I’m far less precious about coming up with ideas and far more bold to just try things and see. As a maker it’s easy to become wrapped up in the ‘right’ way to do something, or the proper techniques. Of course there’s some merit to that, but you can also unconsciously restrict yourself so I think it’s done me good.
All in all working with Project Ability has really freed up my ideas and reinvigorated my work. I’ve met some brilliant people, had a lot of fun, I’ve also grown as an artist and learnt a lot. I look forward to seeing what innovative work the next 8 weeks will bring!"

Thank you Jennifer!

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Tanya Raabe is back in the Project Ability studios

After her month long residency at Project Ability last March in order to document our International Summit for Learning Disability Artists and their Support Studios, Tanya Raabe is back in our workshops to work on her amazing tryptich.

The monumental piece has been unwrapped and after getting settled this morning, the artist is already hard at work. Tanya will be with us all week, adding the finishing touches to the piece. "I first have to reacquaint myself with the work, and to re-establish my relationship with it".

The tryptich showcases scenes from the International Summit, and will be exhibited in our gallery in January 2016.

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Shop Item of the Week – Christmas Cards designed by Edward Henry!

It's that time of year again when we get to showcase the excellent Christmas card designs that our artists have been working on. This week we bring you 'Frosty' by Aspire artist Edward Henry as our first design.  Priced at £5 for a pack of 10, these jingle-filled cards won't be in stock long, so get yours soon! Available in our gallery, or from our online shop

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Triangulum’ by Harris Burnett

Artwork of the Week this time round is the fantastic 'Triangulum' by Create artist Harris Burnett. A geometric wonder, Harris' work exudes style! This piece is part of this year's Young Talent! exhibition, which will only be on show until this Saturday, the 24th of October.  See it while you can!

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Our Christmas cards have arrived!

It's that time of year again, and as usual our artists have done a fantastic job designing our Christmas cards! 

This year we bring you Ruth Mutch's 'Sledging', Edward Henry's 'Frosty' or Aiden Kelly's 'Private'. 

Each pack contains 10 cards, and only costs £5! Make sure to pick yours up promptly, as they will fly off the shelf!

Available from our shop in Trongate 103.

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Kevin Cantwell in residency at Gartnavel Royal

Project Ability volunteer and ReSearch artist Kevin Cantwell spent four days in residency at the Summerhouse in Gartnavel Royal Hospital, where he used found material to create beautiful sculptures inspired by the Summerhouse's gardens.

On Thursday 15 October, he was joined by a group of participants: pine cones and leaves were turned into whimsical fairies, pine needles became hedgehogs and orange leaves were perfect feathers for a little owl! 

On Friday 16 October, Kevin was joined by his ReSearch collaborator John Cocozza, and the two artists started the frame-work on a squirrel. 

Kevin Cantwell will be back in Gartnavel Royal Hospital on Friday 23rd October to present the work produced during his residency and for a quick artist talk: 1-2pm, The Summerhouse, Gartnavel Royal Hospital.

(Photos by Simon McAuley)

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Kate Gorman in residency - Week 3

Textile artist Kate Gorman is entering her third week in residency with Project Ability and updates us on her process.

"Today I will be getting out the fabric dyes and seeing how my piece will come together.  I have had some ideas for changes in the drawing over the weekend, and I will try to resolve the parts that aren't satisfying, but for now I want to experiment with dye and get a bit messy. Here is a bit of the unresolved section I am working on this week.



My trip to the Tenement House was really informative and useful. I am sure that the Tenement House was grander than my Gram's housing when she lived here in the early 1900's, but it gave me an idea of how she lived.



I started stitching last week on a large piece that I brought from home. My train trip on Friday to Mallaig and the ferry over to Skye gave me plenty of time to sit and sew. It was hard, because the scenery was so lovely, and I kept wanting to take photos! I am so grateful for the excellent train service here in the UK. Back home I drive everywhere, no multitasking there!

This is a small section where I have started to stitch.



And here is a bit of island scenery.... The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye. You can see why I didn't get much sewing accomplished!"


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Shop Item of the Week – PS Waverley by Tom Muir

This week we bring you a lovely little sculpture by Aspire participant Tom Muir.  Tom loves to paint, draw, and sculpt ships, and this time he has chosen the famous PS Waverly.  Tom's work is in our shop now, and can be yours for the small sum of £8. Don't miss out - full steam ahead!

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Platform residency - Week 4

"Today was great and I feel it went really well!

I started by blocking in what was left of the remaining large areas with colour.

I had to make some tough decisions about colour and the final composition. A few important things really needed to be resolved for the final composition to work but I think I’ve managed to do that. It’s all about trying to achieve balance and harmony which isn’t easy.

It was a frantic race against time but I got there …at the ‘eleventh hour’.

I’m really looking for to seeing all four panels displayed in situ, in their entirety at Platform on the 24th of October".

- Jonathan McKinstry

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A heartfelt thanks to Morrisons!

Janette and Lee from Morrisons Barrack Street visited us today to present our Create Programme Manager with a generous donation of £3000 from the Morrisons Foundation, which will be used to support activities for children and young people through our Create Programme.

The Morrisons Foundation has been set up to make a positive difference to people living in the UK and offer grants to charities undertaking projects that improve people’s lives.  A huge thank you to everyone on the Morrisons team for their kind support!

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Kate Gorman in residency - Week 2

American textile artist Kate Gorman has been with us for a week now, and is settling well in her studio.

"I can't believe how fortunate I am to have time and space to work in this wonderful setting. I have met many of the regular artists here and I look forward to seeing their work as I continue to work on my own piece. 

The piece I started last week, featuring my great-grandmother at her sewing machine, has started to come together, but I think I need to visit a few local museums to get a better feel for the time and place (Glasgow tenements at the turn of the last century),  so I am headed out this afternoon for Coatbridge and the Glasgow Tenement House. 

Here is a preliminary drawing of the piece that will be drawn with dyes on fabric.

When I am not in the studio, I have been stitching and drawing and looking; trying to take in all of this wonderful city and country."

Kate Gorman will give a talk about her practice on Thursday 15 October at 12pm noon. Everybody welcome.

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Shop Item of the Week by Margaret McInnes

Shop Item of the Week this week is this nostalgic acrylic on paper work by ReConnect artist Margaret McInnes. Priced at a modest £40, this retro wonder wont be with us long! 

Available here.

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Untitled’ by Beth Laing

This week we bring you a real treat for our Artwork of the Week in the shape of this stunning untitled piece by Beth Laing. An explosion of beautiful colour and abstraction, this work really leaps off the canvas and demands attention. This work is yet another key piece from our current exhibition - Young Talent! - on show in our gallery until the 24th of October

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Summerhouse residency - Kevin Cantwell

For this year's last residency at Summerhouse in Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Project Ability volunteer and tutor Kevin Cantwell will use the flora and fauna in the summerhouse and walled gardens to create sculptural works inspired by the theme “Passion” which is the theme for the 2015 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

Kevin will be in residence in the Summerhouse on the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th October returning on the 23rd at 1pm for an artist talk.

On the 15th, there will be an open workshop for people from all walks of life to join in and on Friday 16th he will be joined by Project Ability artist John Cocozza.

Work made during the residency will be displayed in the summerhouse.

Kevin Cantwell will also see his work made during his ReSearch project exhibited in the Project Ability gallery from 5th November (more info coming soon). 

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Platform residency - Week 3

"This week has been all about colour. Mixing up large quantities of acrylic paint and blocking in the larger areas and trying to define the background and foreground.

I think I’ve managed to achieve Ultimate Warrior’s skin tones but will leave his colourful trade mark make-up for next week, that’s when I’ll start to focus on the finer details.

I’ve found a really great paint brush to work with. It’s big and holds tons of paint but it’s also really accurate for getting strong precise lines and edges too.

Its particularly sunny today and the colours are unbelievably vibrant in the sunshine.

Next week will be a real challenge as I try to pull all the elements together. Can’t wait!"
-Jonathan McKinstry

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Kate Gorman in residency - Week 1

Kate Gorman, an American textile artist from Ohio, will spend the month of October in residency at Project Ability. Today is her first day, and we are delighted to have her with us. She will be writing a weekly blog about her experience with us, starting today with a bit of background information.

"I am very excited to be starting my residency here at Project Ability. It is a quiet and rainy day for moving in. I am looking forward to working in my studio here and meeting students and artists when classes begin tomorrow.

This is my new studio at Project Ability. I'll post again, when I start working. It will not be this tidy again!

I have tried to stay open about what I am going to be doing for the next month. I have an idea of where I think I should be going, but I want to stay open to the ideas and influences I get from being in this new space surrounded by new people. 

Back in Ohio, I work at a studio similar to Project Ability, the Goodwill Art Studio and Gallery.

Pictured here are Jeff Meadows, studio artist  Charlotte McGraw with Staff Artist Cody Miller.

My own work is in textiles; I  specialise in drawing on linen. Above (top) is a photo of a piece I did about my Grandmother from Glasgow.  It is called "A Keeper Of Secrets and Parakeets"

I will be working on a piece specific to Glasgow and my family history.  My Grandmother grew up in a tenement in Glasgow and immigrated to the United States via Canada when she was 18.  I have a photo of her mother sitting at a sewing machine in their tiny apartment around 1910.

I am really looking forward to seeing where this month will take me!"

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Artwork of the Week by Stuart Low

This week we bring you a bit of fine photography for our Artwork of the Week.  This photograph by Stuart Low was taken during one of the Walking Group's many outings, and can be seen as part of our Walking Group exhibition, With a purpose, which opens tonight at 6pm in the foyer of Trongate 103. Do come along and see the plethora of excellent photographs on show, while perhaps partaking in some refreshments. 

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