Ladysbridge Stories - The Book!

Ladysbridge Stories is a social history project based around the former Ladysbridge Hospital in Aberdeenshire, funded by the Heritage Lottery and produced by Project Ability and C-Change Scotland.

Over the course of a year ex-residents and staff came together to reflect on the former community of Ladysbridge Hospital, through conversation, drawing, site visits and archive visits. 

All the information that was gathered can be found at, while the Ladysbridge Stories book tells the history of the hospital and brings the story up to date, comparing life then and life now. The hospital closed for good in 2003. 

The website and book are an important reminder that while there were good times, and people were safe and formed their own protected community, people with learning disabilities were out of sight and out of mind to most of the rest of the world.

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Open Museum project - Week 6

Last week, the group working on the Art Extraordinary exhibition meet with Claire and Cheryl in what was our last visit from GMRC. We are in no means finished with the project though. We have two visits planned one to GMRC to meet again with technician John to see the core building process, and one in Pollok to meet with the Leverndale group who are working on another case in the exhibition.

As well as that we will be meeting in the coming weeks to continue and finalise the various pieces of text for the project. We will also be photographing work by the group to be displayed alongside the Art Extraordinary and working on a design for a flyer or leaflet of some type to advertise the launch, which will take place some time in November. Keep an eye out for the date when we know!
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Thompson Hall at Project Ability

Earlier this month, London-based artist Thompson Hall visited Project Ability with his ActionSpace Artist Facilitator Lisa Brown for a three day residency in our studios. Here is what he had to say about his experience.

"I would like to thank Project Ability for inviting me to spend time in their studio for a residency. Doing a short residency was one of the things I identified as the next step after the exhibition I created with my studio colleague Ian Wornast, My Life in London, which was shown at two venues in London earlier this year.

I feel that being around the other artists that I met at Project Ability was very inspiring because it enabled me to find out about their work and at the same time learn some new skills, such as making my own canvases and producing lots of prints from the drawings I did in my sketchbook on the train. 

I also found working alongside Lisa Brown, my ActionSpace Artist Facilitator, who was making some work as well, was very useful and has inspired me to make more work and given me ideas for doing more things in the future. 

I felt I enjoyed the whole experience in spending time just experimenting with different materials and not being under pressure to produce work for an exhibition. I also felt more relaxed around the people I met. I wish I could have spent more time with them to talk about my work and ask them questions about their work. I’m looking forward to visiting Project Ability again at the beginning of next year, when my exhibition will be in the gallery. I hope I will get to have more time getting to know your artists a lot more. 

I was very happy to be there."
-Thompson Hall

Thompson Hall is at Studio Artist at Action Space, a London based arts organisation that supports artists with Learning Disabilities. 
Images from My Life in London and more of Thompson’s work can been seen here.   

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Shop Item of the Week ‘Girl,Kitten’ by Jim Feeney

Our Shop Item of the Week features 'Girl and Kitten' by Jim Feeney. This painting measures 50x60cm and can be purchased from our online shop for £190. 'Girl and Kitten' also includes, in addition to the girl and kitten, a large amount of graffiti on the Glasgow tenement wall. The picture initially looks like a scene from 1950's or 60's Glasgow, but upon closer inspection of the graffiti text it is evident that it is a reflection of Glasgow's past and its present. The artist often uses graffiti as subject matter to express political views with a bit of humour, cynicism and nostalgia all rolled into one powerful little painting! Feeney recently had a series of paintings purchased by the NHS for display in their Glasgow offices, and he is currrently working on a new series of nostalgic Glasgow paintings. You can see more of Feeney's work here. If you are interested in purchasing this oil painting on canvas, you can find it here online!

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Cherry Blossoms’ by Anna Russell

Our Artwork of the Week is this beautiful, large scale painting titled 'Cherry Blossoms'! The young artist, Anna Russell, has created this gorgeous piece in Project Ability's Saturday Create workshops. The composition and colours are sophisticated and easy on the eye. The soft brush strokes of the blossoms give a great texture to the surface of the canvas. The paint is thick and the artist has ensured every inch of the canvas has been treated with thoughtful consideration. We don't normally list sizing and prices for our Artwork of the Week, but today is an exception! Sized 100x120cm, this stretched canvas can be purchased from our 2018 Young Talent exhibition for £80. The gallery is currently full of amazing artworks made by the young artists that work here, it is a show not to be missed!

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Open Museum project - Week 5

"Last week the group of artists working on the Open Museum project met with Tony again and also John, the design and technical officer. John will be constructing the core of our display, the core is the section inside a display case that the pieces hang and sit on, it compromises a back and side with shelves custom built to suit the exhibit.

We will be able to go to GMRC and visit to see our specific core being built. We continued to work on our overall theme for the exhibition and what our 150 word statement will be. We also made final choices on the pieces we are putting in, each of us choosing two.

The next step is to finalise all the writing, including a label for each individual piece. We also discussed the opportunity to display photos of our work on the side panels of the display case. We also watched a short film about Angus McPhee by Nick Higgins titled 'Hidden Gifts, the Mystery of Angus McPhee', it was fascinating."
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Meet the Maker - Rachel Elliott

We were lucky enough to be joined by glass artist Rachel Elliott last Friday. Rachel took part in two events: an artist’s talk and a workshop session. Rachel studied Architectural Glass at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 2007. Since then she has established both a studio practice and a commercial practice.

Rachel talked us through a number of her creative pieces, the thinking behind them and some of the technical processes, which included mould making, kiln forming, screen printing, core casting and stained glass. She emphasised how much of what she’d learned, she’d done through experimentation, patience and persistence, trying processes repeated times until she was happy with the results.

Following the talk Rachel led a workshop in our studios introducing participants to glass transfers or decals, and some glass painting techniques. Rachel had prepared some decals that had been made from drawings by Project Ability artists. The group learnt how to adhere these to small tumblers, as well as how to work with enamel paints to add additional detail and colour. These will now need to be fired again in our kiln and then they will be safe to use for drinking out of.

Keep an eye on our shop, you might just see some of these new designs appearing for sale in the near future!

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Shop Item of the Week - Ceramic Mask by Gary Turner

Our Shop Item of the week is this ceramic mask made by Gary Turner. It's an original artwork recently made in our Aspire studios here at Trongate 103 in Glasgow. It is currently hanging in our gallery shop. You can also find it for purchase in our online shop here. The earthewaren clay gives the mask a weathered and worn look, adding to it's appeal. It's a gorgeous piece of ceramics and a complete one off!

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Artwork of the Week - ‘What A Unicorn’ by Ruth Price

Artwork of the Week features 'What  Unicorn' by Ruth Price! This painting is a small canvas on a stretcher. The pink and blue colours the artist have chosen are electric! Ruth Price has painted her name as well as the title of the painting straight onto the canvas, and we just love the abstract qualities going on in the pictoral image of this painting. If you stop by Project Ability before 13th October you can check out this painting as well as all the other fantastic artworks in this year's Young Talent exhibition! In our Gallery II we also have featured a solo showcase of new work by Dominic Hemphill-Whyte. All of the artists work in our Create studios for young people. 

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Open Museum project - Week 4

Our Open Museum project is progressing well and in last week's session the group got to meet two persons of great interest: artist and researcher Mike Inglis and art therapist and collector Joyce Laing. Mike was there in person to chat and show the group the short film he has made of interviews with Joyce, whereas Joyce was only present on the screen. Nonetheless, the group got to meet her in digital form and listen to her talking about her collection and some of the people connected to it.

The group have started to write about the artworks they have selected to be part of the exhibition and are looking forward to the next meeting when they will get to see more artworks and continue with the discussions.

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Shop Item of the Week - Waverley Tote Bag by Scott Smith

Shop Item of the Week is this cotton tote bag by Scott Smith. The Waverley ship has been hand drawn by Scott and the bag is machine washable. There is only one Waverley tote bag - so once this ship has sailed you won't find another one like it! For £15 you can purchase it from our gallery shop at Trongate 103 or our online shop!

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Open Museum project - Week 3

After visiting the Glasgow Museum Resource Centre and the Pollok Civic Realm, the Open Museum project is now based in the Project Ability studios for four sessions.

Last week, the group spent most of the session in discussion and raised provocative questions such as “what is outsider art?”, “Should we even use the term ‘outsider art’?”, “What is art?” “How do we measure the value of art?”, “Is the term ‘outsider art’ exclusive?” 

This led to conversations about Joyce Laing’s collecting and how she viewed ‘outsider art’ and importantly – why she called her collection “Art Extraordinary”. These questions will be explored further and will inform how the group wish to interpret the collection for display. During the session, scrapbooking was introduced as a way of both documenting and exploring objects for display. 

In the next session, Edinburgh College of Art Lecturer Mike Inglis will visit the group and show his film and research about Joyce Laing, followed by more discussion with the group. This project is really starting to gather momentum, thanks to the commitment of every one involved! 

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Project Ability Quiz Night

Save the date! Our annual Quiz Night is back this month, on Thursday 27 September, 7pm-9pm.

The very popular event will once more test your general and pop culture knowledge in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Come as a team or join one on the night, only £5 per entry, including a free drink and a raffle ticket.

Tickets are available from our 3rd floor reception.

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Otter’ by Dearbhail McGrory

We're kicking off our 2018 Young Talent show by featuring this lovely little creature as our Artwork of the Week! 'Otter' by Dearbhail McGrory is a small painting on canvas, and it does a fantastic job at portraying the otter scurrying along through his day. Dearbhail is one of 57 youg artists that make up this year's Young Talent exhibition. The show opens this evening (Thursday the 5th September) at 6pm, all welcome! In addition to the Young Talent exhibition, we are happy to announce Dominic Hemphill-Whyte as our Gallery II featured artist during Young Talent. You can read more about Dominic and his work here.

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