Ladysbridge Project

Ladysbridge Hospital was a long stay institution for people with learning disabilities in Banff in North East Aberdeenshire.  The hospital closed over 20 years ago.  Many people who stayed in the hospital still live in and around Banff and in Aberdeen.


Project Ability and social care agency C-Change have received funding from the Heritage Lottery to support people with learning disabilities to research the history of the Hospital and to share with us their experience of living at Ladysbridge. The project is also gathering memories from former staff and family members. 


The project launched on Tuesday 16th May 2017 and will be carried out over the next twelve months.  The project team - an artist, writer, designer and film maker - were joined by over 60 people at the project launch at Aberdeen Arts Centre.


Watch this space for project updates!

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Jaguar’ by Ronald McCulloch

This week it's Aspire artist Ronald McCulloch's 'Jaguar' as our Artwork of the Week.  Ronald has been attending the classes for a number of years, and his distinctive style always brings a smile.  Ronald's work will be on exhibition in the Glad Cafe from the 2nd of June, so be sure to pop down and have a look!

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Heritage workshops at Linn Park Adventure Playground - Week 3

Another week at Linn Park Adventure Playground and another week of great heritage workshops with the centre’s youth groups and schools, this time exploring print making, using a wealth of natural printing materials sourced from the park and playground. 

The first recorded Printworks in Glasgow was situated on the White Cart River and opened its doors in 1742.  By the end of the 18th century there were around 30 across the city.

Workshops will be ongoing until August 2017, keep an eye on our website for announcements about our summer heritage programme for children and young people at Linn Park Adventure Playground.

These workshops are made possible thanks to generous support from Heritage Lottery and the money raised by National Lottery players.

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Meet the Volunteers - Seamus Killick

For our first Meet The Volunteers feature this year, we are delighted to introduce you to the amazing Seamus Killick, who has been a brilliant addition to our Create team.

"Pretty much as soon as I walked into the ginormous studios at Project Ability, I felt at home. Amazing equipment, great light and most importantly all these fascinating works of art casually lying about the place. Spongebob and George Michael and bizarre swirling landscapes - all adding this ambience that made me excited to work alongside some very talented visionaries!

It's been too much fun hanging out with these kids and seeing their ideas come to life. It kind of reminds me why I got so into this art stuff back in school - it's a chance to share your private world with others. To become an explorer not only in your own imagination but to pick other peoples brains too. The to-and-fro of idle chit chat is wonderful brain food for me, especially the frankness of children which can be hilarious.

I like getting involved with an individual's idea and seeing how I can best help out with it depending on that person. Sometimes it might just be chatting about it or observing it and sometimes I might have to get stuck in with the clay. I like that at the beginning I felt like a kind of 'volunteer' person but then throughout the process I felt so relaxed that I just felt like another member of the class, with running jokes and nicknames and bouncing ideas of each other. Because I'm there for pretty much the same reason as they are. We all had many over lapping influences like Disney, Pokemon and Star Wars.

It's not been without its challenges! Creating stuff can be a frustrating thing when it doesn't go the way you intended it and sometimes we might just not feel like it. Just got to roll with the punches! I like embracing mistakes and I want to convince kids that accidents can be the best things in the making process.

Project Ability - its been fab. I leave with a head full of ideas and some fond memories of these wee guys!"

Thank you Seamus!

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Walking Group - Week 9: Hidden Gardens

On Wednesday 17th May the walking group visited The Hidden Gardens located at the back of the Tramway museum.

We split into two groups for a 45 minute tour of the garden area, walking through traditional, woodland and raised bed areas. Our 'vouluntour' leader was Lisa, and she told us the history of the building that had been there before the museum and gardens.

It started life as a plant nursery before being home to a stone masonry, and then a tram depot which was also where the trams were constructed. The gardens still feature a large chimney from these factory days.

Before it became the arts venue it is today, it was the first location of the Glasgow Transport museum. The gardens feature several distinct areas including a lawn area where events, picnics and weekly tai chi classes take place.

The woodland area hosts the xylotheque, a wooden gazebo-like structure that is home to books, each made from wood featuring an inlaid panel and the name of the tree engraved on the corresponding page.

There is a nature area with houses for birds, bees and many other creatures as well as a mint border and herb beds. There is the opportunity to buy plants and also a wishing tree where you are able to write on a small biodegradable card and hang it from the tree.

The gardens are beautiful and peaceful, with many nooks and crannies tucked away so visitors can have a private spot to relax or work in peace. Popular with families there is a host of events taking place year round, check out thehiddengardens.org.uk for more details.
-Morag McGilchrist

The Walking Group is supported by Tesco Bags of Help

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Start of a new project with the Royal Hospital for Children

Tomorrow marks the start of an exciting year long programme between Project Ability and the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow.  Working on a weekly basis with one of our experienced visual artists, patients from Ward 4 will have the opportunity to explore a diverse and exciting programme of visual arts activities and to develop their own creative practice.

Many thanks to Trefoil for their generous and ongoing support of this project and the Create Programme for Children and Young People.

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Project Ability at The Alliance Conference

Back in February, a few Project Ability artists were invited to The Gathering in Glasgow's SECC: Cameron Morgan, John Cocozza and Steven Reilly were on hand to draw conference goers' portraits in watercolour and oil pastels. The stall attracted a lot of people and the artists delivered many unique and colourful portraits.

We are now delighted to announce that we will once again be drawing portraits, this time at the Alliance conference in Glasgow's Radisson Blu hotel. Now is your chance to get your very own Cameron Morgan or John Cocozza artwork!

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LDAW17 - Judith Abubakar

Our last feature for Learning Disability Awareness Week 2017 is about a delightful young artist who has been coming to our Create classes for years: the fantastic Judith Abubakar. Text by tutor Celine Mcilmunn.

"Judith is a joy to work with. She arrives in the studio full of energy and enthusiasm and is always keen to try new things. Her sense of humour and infectious laughter often has us tutors in stitches and her tales of what she’s been up to socially makes us feel like we lead very dull lives indeed!

Judith loves to use bright colours in her art making and her choice of subject matter is wide and varied. She especially enjoys working with textiles and making objects that have a practical use as well as being interesting and beautiful to look at.

Judith leads a busy life and along with enjoying her workshops at Project Ability she also takes part in a drama group and sings in a choir so she is always busy being creative in one way or another."
-Celine Mcilmunn

Top image: portrait by Alicia Bruce.

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LDAW17 - Steven Reilly

Day 5 of Learning Disability Awareness Week 2017, time to learn more about the amazing Steven Reilly via Aspire tutor Sharon Quigley.

"I’ve worked alongside Steven Reilly now for almost 20 years and I never cease to be blown away by his generosity of spirit and enthusiasm for sharing his art and ideas with his fellow artists and the public.

Project Ability provides a unique, exciting and dynamic studio environment for the artists who participate and create on a daily basis and Steven’s attitude towards making art embodies that experience. His work is colourful and bold and suffused with playfulness and fun, which he transmits to everyone he comes into contact with. He is the life and soul of the workshop!

His subjects are wide ranging and can reference anything from transport, history, film and TV; from Wonder Woman to Robert Burns, as well as mythical, extinct and rare creature’s, such as King Kong, the sabre toothed tiger and the giant squid.

Always open to exploring new materials, processes and mediums, Steven is constantly and fearlessly challenging himself to take on projects that he can really get his teeth sunk into. He can easily turn his hand to ceramics, animation, silk painting, printmaking and painting and will regularly arrive at the beginning of each block announcing “Let’s really push the boat out this time dear!”
-Sharon Quigley

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Artwork of the Week -  Ceramic head by Adnan Mohammed

This week we bring you one of Adnan Mohammed's superb ceramic heads as our Artwork of the Week.  Adi's ceramic work is tremendous, and this piece exemplifies the sense of fun and the love of colour Adi brings to his art. 

See a recent, in-depth, feature about the artist here.

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LDAW17 - Jacqui Smyth

Today's Learning Disability Awareness Week featured artist is quite the woman! The amazing Jacqui Smyth, by Aspire tutor Alison Mitchell.

"Jacqui Smyth has been working recently on a series of drawings inspired by the music, sleeve art and photographs of some of her favourite musicians.

Working mostly to quite a small scale, her drawings relate the vitality, abandon and glamour of her chosen subjects. She's a big music fan and loves to pinpoint a particular time and place where she remembers listening to any given piece of music.

As a dj on Sunny Govan radio her tagline is 'Glasgow's answer to Edith Bowman'.

She has been a regular artist in our Aspire group for the last year and has made consistently beautiful and vivid work exploring print, silk drawing and paint alongside masses of gorgeous drawings on paper and card."
-Alison Mitchell

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Linn Park workshops - Week 2

After the fun of our paper making workshops two weeks ago, pupils visiting Linn Park Adventure Playground were able to explore more of the area's rich heritage by looking at hand dying techniques. 

They were inspired to create these beautiful, colourful bags after learning about the dye works and bleach fields that sprung up around the White Cart River in the 18th and 19th century. Pupils explored different techniques for transferring dyes and inks to fabrics – including marbling with shaving foam!

Workshops will be ongoing until August 2017, keep an eye on our website for announcements about our summer heritage programme for children and young people at Linn Park Adventure Playground.

These workshops are made possible thanks to generous support from Heritage Lottery and the money raised by National Lottery players.

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LDAW17 - Tom Muir

Today, for our Learning Disability Awaraness Week 2017 daily feature, we would like to focus on one of our longest attending artists, the delightful Mr Tom Muir.

"On a Tuesday morning when I arrive at the Project Ability studios to prepare for the morning Aspire workshop, the first person I see is Tom, rapidly shuffling toward the workshop with a big smile and the eager enquiry, “What boat did you get today Sandi?”, (my commute involves a short ferry journey).

Tom is 85 years old and has been coming to Project Ability for 18 years and is one of our oldest and longest attending participants. He loves boats, and especially the PS Waverley, the last sea going paddle steamer on the river Clyde. He has made numerous drawings, paintings, prints and ceramic pieces of her. He never tires of making nautical images and will also happily make images of transport, landscapes, animals, royalty, and religious paintings (his minister must have quite a sizeable collection by now). Tom loves making artwork to give away to people, which he does with a huge grin.

In recent years Tom has become less mobile and his vision has deteriorated, but this hasn’t diminished his enthusiasm for making artwork. The canvases are smaller but he still continues to create wonderful work in a wide range of media, including pencil, fine line pen, felt pens, dip pen and ink, acrylic and watercolour painting and printmaking. Tom also works in ceramics, creating 3D boats, planes, cars, buses and trams that are so fantastically joyful.

His drawing isn’t as sharp as it used to be, and he now requires one to one help to identify colours or roll clay, but his artwork is still distinctively gloriously Tom Muir."

-Sandi Kiehlmann, Aspire tutor

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LDAW17 - Adnan Mohamed

"Adnan Mohamed – better known in the art workshop as Adi – has been coming along to Project Ability’s Aspire group for a couple of years now. You might say he’s a relative newcomer then, but one who already makes a very big impression! 

From the outset Adi’s interest has been in portraying personalities from a broad sweep of popular culture; Movie actors from 1960’s films, TV personalities, Star Wars characters, wrestlers and Superheroes. Occasionally Adi draws these figures freehand but more often he pens them onto acetate paper and uses an overhead projector to create big bold pastel drawings and acrylic paintings.      

                                                                                                                                                           

Most recently Adi has been modelling clay heads. He jokes with me that he has enough to open a shop now! The clay sculptures start off in a similar fashion with Adi bringing in a picture of a famous character or celebrity, or asking Stewart at the front desk to source an image of someone special. Adi has been employing a couple of techniques to build his heads. Sometimes he makes a solid oval shape for the head and balances it on a tapered cone of clay for the neck, after he has added some features he must slice the head in half and ‘scoop the brains out’ to make it hollow, then join it back together. Other times he will construct the head around a ball of paper, then make the features. Either way it has to be hollow before he fires it in the kiln.  

Perhaps because the sculptural techniques can take a little longer than his drawings and paintings the characters can change a bit during the making and sometimes finish up being someone entirely different. Adi seems pretty open to this idea of the personality emerging out of the clay as he is working on it. What we are now starting to see are mythical types and characters from folklore rather than specific people.

Adi has just finished making a comical head that is wearing a Fez hat, this reminds him of a cheeky cartoon character he’s seen that kept blobbing its tongue out. He has also created a moustachioed man with an enormous Quiff hairstyle and an old Captain of days gone by who smokes like a chimney, not to mention a demon with horns and fire flaming down out of its’ mouth.   

I don’t think Adi has produced quite enough clay heads to open a shop yet, but there are several that would sit beautifully together as a group and I’m very much looking forward to a time when we can see these artworks in an exhibition."

-Meredith Crone, Aspire Tutor
 

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LDAW17 - Doreen Kay

This week marks Learning Disability Awareness Week 2017, and we thought it would be the perfect occasion to focus on some of our amazing Aspire artists. We asked Project Ability tutors to choose an artist and write something about them and their work. We will be publishing texts and photos every day this week. Let's start with an amazing woman, and great artist: Doreen Kay, by tutor Valerie O'Regan.

"Doreen Kay has a passion for making. Doreen's love of adventure inspires her work.

Doreen draws and paints the places she has been, the places she dreams of going, the people she has met and the people whom she admires.

Holidays with her sister, friends enjoying a night out, a breathtaking landscape are captured on camera and used as her guide for her drawings, watercolours, large scale paintings, prints and textiles.

These memorable experiences are what drive her creativity but also challenge her to try a new technique or a new material,to be fearless in her making.

Doreen approaches her work with great confidence, patience and sensitivity. She has an eye for detail and her approach to her subject is very honest.

Doreen loves to share her work with others and enjoys the feedback from her peers and friends.

Doreen is at her happiest as she begins to put her pencil to paper."

-Valerie O'Regan Project Ability Tutor.

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week! An annual campaign, this year's theme is 'Surviving or Thriving?' To mark the week, we visited Project Ability's ReConnect studio, and spoke to a couple of our artists about the ways in which the ReConect workshops have helped them.

"Project Ability is a life-line; a sanctuary; somewhere I can come and not be judged and am free to be myself and people understand my struggle. It gets me out into the world and stops me hiding away."

"When I started at Project Ability it gave me a reason for going out. I felt safe, calmer and not worried about what people think or say. It gave me confidence to do other things. I always get encouragement whether from other artists or staff. They also understand if you are having a 'bad day' and leave much happier with yourself."

Visit our website to find out more about Project Ability's ReConnect programme. You can also find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week and the Mental Health Foundation by clicking here.

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Tuesday Morning’ by Lucy Payne

This week’s Artwork of the Week is Tuesday Morning by Lucy Payne. This beautiful drawing is part of a new collection of studio portraits by Lucy Payne currently on display in Drawing People Drawing in Project Ability’s gallery.

In Tuesday Morning, Lucy has captured the very essence of Project Ability’s studio; the vibrancy of the workshop and of the artists who bring it to life on a daily basis. We can almost hear the chatter and the sound of pencils moving whilst the Tuesday morning Aspire group get to work.

A recent graduate from the Glasgow School of Art, Lucy previously volunteered with Project Ability’s Aspire programme and so has spent a great deal of time getting to know both the studios and the artists. What results in Drawing People Drawing is a very colourful, intimate and absorbing look at the way Project Ability’s studios and artists work. 

Drawing People Drawing continues until 27 May and is accompanied by a new publication which features Lucy Payne’s illustrations alongside text from several of Project Ability’s artists. The publication was developed through a series of workshops with Joanna Peace and Anthony Autumn, and is available to buy in our gallery shop.

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Heritage workshops at Linn Park Adventure Playground

Thanks to generous support from Heritage Lottery and the money raised by National Lottery players, the first of Project Ability’s heritage workshops in partnership with Linn Park Adventure Playground got off to a great start last week. 

Inspired by the wealth of natural and industrial heritage in the Linn Park area pupils from Mary Russell School had the chance to take part in a hands on  paper making workshop and explore the history of the Millholm Paper Mill that once stood in the park grounds.

Staff from Project Ability and Linn Park Adventure Playground were then joined by Gary Linstead – Countryside Ranger – for a presentation and guided walk of the park.

Workshops will be ongoing until August 2017, keep an eye on our website for announcements about our summer heritage programme for children and young people at Linn Park Adventure Playground.

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Paisley workshops

To celebrate Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 Project Ability has been working with three Renfrewshire Schools on an exciting project, inspired by the shape, colours and patterns of the city’s iconic Paisley Pattern. 

Pupils from Mary Russell School, Clippens School and Kersland School have been creating their very own ‘plastic patches’, which will be joined together to create large banners for public display, showcasing the talents and achievements of almost 300 pupils aged 5-18, and adding to Paisley and Renfrewshire’s rich cultural tapestry. 

Watch this space for information on where and when you can see this vibrant exhibition of work.

Official supporter of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 - www.Paisley2021.co.uk

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Project Ability bags £4200 from carrier bag charge fund

We are delighted to announce that we have bagged £4200 from a Tesco funding scheme!

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of up to £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to thousands of  local community projects every year. greenspace scotland is working with Groundwork to provide support to communities in Scotland. Millions of shoppers voted in stores up and down the country. And it can now be revealed Project Ability has been awarded £4200 to keep our Walking Group going for another year!

“Funding from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme will help people with disabilities who take part in our visual art studio to enjoy a years’ programme of safe walks and visits to places of cultural importance in and around Glasgow.” Said Elisabeth Gibson, Executive Artistic Director.

Tony McElroy, Tesco’s Head of Communications in Scotland, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from our customers. The great thing about Bags of Help is that local people are invited to decide how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

Voting ran in stores throughout February with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out. Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £28.5 million across more than 4,000 local projects.

To find out more about Bags of Help, visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp

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Shop Item of the Week - ‘Glasgow Skyline with Man and Dog’ by Tommy Mason

Shop Item of the Week time, and this week we bring you another fine piece by Aspire artist Tommy Mason.  Tommy's well received exhibition has just ended, and now we can offer one of his drawings in our shop for just £30!  Tommy's work is always growing in popularity, so now is a good time to snap one up!  Available from our online shop

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Artwork of the Week - Velociraptor by Christopher Newman

This week we bring you this rather excellent rendering of a vicious velociraptor, by the highly talented Christopher Newman.  Christopher took only one session to truly capture the speed and movement of this creature, and we think the result is spectacular! We're looking forward to what Christopher can come up with next! 

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Walking Group - Week 8: Radical Craft

West Kilbride is Scotland’s first accredited craft town and The Barony Centre is the jewel in its crown.

The current exhibition, ‘Radical Craft’, was co-curated by Laura Hamilton, one of Project Ability’s board members, so the walking group took a trip by train to have a look.

You will see in the photographs that it is a wonderful and varied show with a fascinating range of materials and methods used in the making of the images and objects.

The group spent a long time looking at the exhibition with some guidance and information from Laura before cups of tea and a walk through the village.

There were several artist studios and shops along the way, most of which were unfortunately closed for the day, but a basket-making workshop was open and the group popped in there to have a look around and make a purchase.

This wonderful exhibition runs until 11th June so there is still some time to visit. You can find more information at http://www.crafttownscotland.org/forthcoming-exhibitions-2017/

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Cameron Morgan FRSA awarded Creative Scotland Open Project Fund

Creative Scotland awarded over £1.2million through the Open Project Fund in March 2017 to 55 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, dancers, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries. We are delighted to announce that our very own Cameron Morgan FRSA is one of the recipients!

The funding will enable Cameron Morgan to spend 12 months in Project Ability’s inclusive studio to reflect on his past body of work and research new creative practices. The project will include a residency at the Art House in Wakefield and the commissioning of three artists to invite him into their studios, where he will work alongside them to learn new skills and to further extend his creative practice.

The Art House is currently seeking a skilled printmaker to work with Cameron during his residency (more info here).

Congratulations to all the award recipients!

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