Meet the volunteers: Samantha Harley

This week, please meet the lovely Samantha Harley, who has been a joyful addition to our Aspire workshops!

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
Undergraduate, Painting & Printmaking, Year 2. My practice mainly involves looking at everyday objects and rendering them in fun and new exciting ways. I mainly do a lot of screen printing, drawings and paintings.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
Aspire, on a Thursday afternoon.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
My little brother has Down's Syndrome and autism, so I have always been involved with helping people with disabilities. Art therapy is something I’d be interested in doing when I have graduated.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Yes, I’ve really enjoyed my time at Project Ability, and I hope everyone else has enjoyed having me too! It’s been great getting to know everyone and starting to understand everyone’s situation and how they work.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I have learnt lots from volunteering here but especially about how to interact with everyone. I’ve found interesting to see all the different ways we have communicated with each other. I have also found volunteering here has influenced my own work.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I have been working closely with one of the Aspire artists called Peter. Peter has been working with clay and creates objects he likes, such as watering cans, to even cans of soft drinks! I find this really interesting as by just looking at what the objects are and how they are created, you can get a sense of who Peter is.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Yes! In fact one of my friends and classmate has been asking me when my volunteering ends so she can apply!

Any other comments?
I just want to thank everyone who is involved with Project Ability, because I think it’s a great organisation and I’ve had the best time volunteering here!

Thank you Samantha! If you are interested in volunteering with Project Ability, we are currently recruiting for January-March. Click here for more information. 

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Free art workshops for young people with Down’s syndrome

The World Down Syndrome Congress is coming to Glasgow in July 2018! To mark the occasion, Project Ability is offering groups for children and young people with Down’s Syndrome the opportunity to get involved in visual art workshops leading to an exhibition in Trongate 103 in Glasgow.

Our professional art tutors will visit your group and tailor a workshop to your requirements. Whether you can accommodate 1 session or 4, talk to us and we can make it happen! Workshops can take place in our accessible studio in Trongate 103, or we can come to you.

Workshops must take place between January and May 2018. Art materials will be provided. There is no charge as the project has been generously supported by the Trefoil Foundation. Artwork will be professionally framed and exhibited in Trongate 103 and available as a digital download.

If you are interested to take part, please get in touch with Michael Richardson: create@project-ability.co.uk // Tel: 0141 552 2822 (Thursdays & Fridays)

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Meet the Volunteers - Laura Gaiger

Today's Meet the Volunteers focuses on the fantastic Laura Gaiger, who has been volunteering with our Art Matters workshops.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I studied Painting and Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art and graduated last year, 2016. Now I have a studio in the East end and I make oil paintings - most of them are semi-abstract still life and interior paintings, or paintings from film photographs and film stills. They hint at stories of domestic and family life.


   

In what workshop did you volunteer?
I’m volunteering with the Art Matters group at 4.30pm on Saturdays.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I volunteered with Project Ability in the past, while I was studying, and loved the experience, so I knew I’d enjoy doing it again. I have a more settled routine now I’m not a student, so I’m able to be more committed, and it’s really important to me to feel that I’m making a meaningful contribution to others. I want to help other people find as much joy, fun and fulfilment through making things as I do.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Absolutely. Saturday afternoons at Project Ability are currently the highlight of my week! The studio is really peaceful at this time of day, and it’s a really pleasant environment to be pottering around helping the artists with materials, and having a chat about what everyone is making or has been doing that week. I enjoy being part of a really relaxed and positive community and feeling appreciated for taking part.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
I’ve gotten to know many of the artists in the Art Matters group by now, and I have a much better understanding of the various needs that the different artists have. I’ve learned how to communicate with people with different ways of communicating to myself, and not to be afraid to strike up conversations with disabled or differently abled people. I have also gained a lot of ideas and artistic inspiration from seeing everyone’s work and all the exciting things going on in the other workshops.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I always have a great time chatting with Peter - he sings me his favourite Disney songs each week and makes me guess which films they’re from, which I’m not very good at! I love seeing Jonathan’s work develop - I’ve never met someone so focussed on what they are making, and the detail in his freehand drawings is incredible!

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Yes, definitely - anyone who enjoys being part of a sociable community of artists and wants to give back to the artistic community of Glasgow! It’s great fun.

Any other comments?
Thank you so much for involving me at Project Ability - I hope I’ll be able to stay involved for a long time.

Thank you so much Laura!

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Project Ability Fundraising Survey

Like many charities, Project Ability faces funding challenges and we must find more ways of generating income to allow us to continue to deliver our vital work.

With many not-for-profit organisations fighting for the attention of the general public, we understand that it is important to be focused, imaginative and offer something that is genuinely going to engage and benefit our audience.  That’s why we need your opinion on what we should do next. 

It will only take a couple of minutes to answer the four questions here but it will make a huge difference to us if you do it as it will help us to plan effectively for the future.  If you provide your contact details, we would like to offer you 10% discount next time you visit our shop in the Gallery or online.

Thank you!

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Meet the Volunteers: Karina Baillie

This week, let us introduce you to the brilliant Karina Baillie, who has been a great addition to our Create team. 

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I am a graduate of Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art. My practice encompasses many different mediums, from video installation to sculpture, drawing and painting. Recently I have been working in the community, focussing on facilitating different groups such as a mural project in the East End with adults with mental health issues.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
I volunteer at the Create Workshop ages 8-12 on a Saturday morning.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I’ve admired many of Project Ability’s artists and frequently visit their gallery space, and have always known Project Ability to be a brilliant resource in the community. I had recently finished a Counselling course and wanted to spend more time working with young artists, because I knew it would be a great learning opportunity and a privilege to become part of the Project Ability team.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
The experience of volunteering at the Create workshop has far exceeded my expectations. Interacting with the young artists is an energetic and fruitful role, I have learned so much from the tutors knowledge and found every class to be invigorating and rewarding.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
The young artists are all uniquely talented individuals with brilliant ideas and different styles of working. It’s a lot of fun being in the workshop facilitating their various projects, from making clay sculptures to print making. I’ve learned loads of new techniques and the young artists have opened my mind to exciting creative processes which have influenced my own artistic practice.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I find the work of two of our young artists Guy and Gabriel incredibly inspiring, they both have their own brilliant flair for colour and their use of this in our recent classes have produced beautiful Perspex panels that look like stain glass windows.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
There is a real sense of community in the workshop that is unique to Project Ability. It’s a supportive environment which is full of fun and energy, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering becoming part of the Project Ability team.

Thanks a lot Karina! 

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Meet the Volunteers: Mij Rothera

For today's Meet the Volunteers, we focus on the amazing Mij Rothera, who has been volunteering with our aspire team.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I graduated from Glasgow School of Art more than 20 years ago (gulp), with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Photography. Nowadays I twiddle about with inks and brushes on paper in my spare time. I work with Enable and also occasionally as an Artist Practitioner at The Prince & Princess Of Wales Hospice.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
Wednesday Aspire Workshops.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I’ve been coming here for 2 years every Tuesday, supporting a young man to attend his art group. I love the atmosphere – it’s so positive and also informal. It’s great to see how focussed everybody is on their work. I have many years’ experience of working on arts projects for various marginalised groups (specifically with Artlink Central in Stirling), and wanted to play a small part in the wonderful creativity of Project-Ability.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Definitely. It’s such a friendly environment. People are really well supported by the excellent Art Tutors to make, or continue working on, whatever piece they feel like that day. The large, bright space is really conducive to making art and there are loads of different art materials.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
The opportunity for creativity is vitally important – for everyone. Project-Ability plays a huge part in the lives of many people. It’s also important to not always have a set end-date for a project – people here can continue on their work for however long they feel. The experience has helped to make me create more art, too. Also, I’ve met a whole new bunch of talented people.

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
I really like Andrew Boyle’s images. He works steadily and carefully on his detailed and very beautiful drawings and paintings. A stand-out artwork from the last year is Tommy Mason’s large painting of George Michael.  I loved the exhibition by Leslie Thomson too.Actually I’m inspired every time I walk into the studio.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Yes. It’s a wonderful way to get to know some very interesting, creative people, and to play a part in what I would say is a vital space and service for so many.

Any other comments?
Project-Ability offers a peaceful and positive space where all people need to focus on is their creativity. That’s priceless.

Thanks, Mij!

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Artist talk by James Jimbo

Last Thursday, former artist in residence James Jimbo came back to Project Ability to showcase the work he produced during his residency. Artists from Aspire and ReConnect came to engage with James and his work, and it was very interesting to see what inspired him during his time with us. The work was very well received and artists enjoyed the skills and playfulness in each drawing and painting.

‘Brilliant work – great colours’
-Edward Henry, Aspire

‘I liked the Elvis one and George Michael, I painted George Michael too, mine was much more colourful'
-Tommy Mason, Aspire

‘Refreshing to see work that’s been created a framework of joyfulness and freedom’
-Richie Davis, ReConnect

‘I really loved the use of line and for me being here in my first week of my residency, it couldn’t have come at a better time to see James work, someone so confident in their own practice – very inspiring’
-Emma Aitken, current artist in residence

Thank you, James Jimbo!

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Project Ability pop-up shops coming soon!

Save the date! We will be hosting a series of pop-up shop in the gallery in the run up to Christmas! 

Looking for something original, inspiring and that can't be found in the high street shops? This is your chance, our pop up shops will be packed with original gift ideas, cushions, cards, ceramics, artworks, mobiles, wooden objects, and plenty more! 

Saturday 25 November, 2nd & 9th December, 10am - 5pm in our gallery in Trongate 103.

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Artist in residence: James Jimbo

James Jimbo was our first artist in residence this year, when he spent the month of September in our studios, interacting with our artists and finding inspiration in their work. Here is what he had to say about his time at Project Ability:

"I've developed new ways of drawing for my armoury, directly based on diving into the blue boxes of Project Ability artists’ reference materials in the Aspire workshop.  A series of works in pen on paper resulted from this, which were developed further into expanding the ways in which I draw by drawing with paint, combining images and using my own source material.

Looking at the artists in the studios and the way they draw got me trying to be (even) freer with my approach. Not worry that something is exact, not necessarily worry about what it is about but accept (and hope) that the works construe an idea, an element, or a something else that can be identified.  It will take many moons to digest my experience of being in the Project Ability studios, seeing the work here, and the way my work has developed.

I have observed and admired the many varied ways the artists approach their work. The Aspire artist who painted the two tigers. Andrew Boyle, who painted the Train over the Glenfinnan viaduct, Doreen Kay and her yacht and castle Landscape. John Cocozza and his Bruce Forsyth paintings have been great to look at. So much so that I had to have a go at drawing ol' Brucie myself.

I've also seen works by artists I already admire, like Scott Smith, Terry Kerr, Michael McMullen and Cameron Morgan, the latter whom I have had the pleasure to chat to about his work on a couple of occasions.
I also had some brief but frank conversations with Paul and Alan which will stick in my memory. Alan's procrastination helped allay my fear of procrastination and Paul's enthusiasm for working is infectious!

All the tutors have been great too, and I have enjoyed my conversations with them."

It was a pleasure to have James work in our studios for a month. He will be back for a talk about his work in the coming months.

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Meet the Maker – Mhari McMullan

We had an inspiring Meet the Maker session with textile designer Mhari McMullan. Mhari studied Textile Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She moved to Glasgow in 2007 and in 2009 opened Welcome Home, a creative retail space representing craft, design and illustration now based in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts. Mhari also works as a freelance designer, educator and consultant for other projects in art, design and retail.

Mhari joined us for the afternoon at Project Ability where she ran an excellent workshop introducing the group to a heat transfer textile printing process. Using collage and cut out processes participants built up images and designs in a range coloured papers. These designs were then placed inside the heat press for 45 seconds, and when they came out they had miraculously printed and fixed onto the fabric generating some fantastic results.

Everyone taking part in the workshop took to the process instantly, bringing their individual styles and ways of working to this technique and in the space of a short afternoon’s workshop produced a range of vibrant new works.

This fast and fun process really had the group hooked, so don’t be surprised if you see us producing some more works this way soon!

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Shop Item of the Week - ‘Cleopatra’ by Ronald McCulloch

Shop Item of the Week is 'Cleopatra' by Ronald McCulloch. This is an amazing painting with so much going on. The composition is inspired from a photo shoot of Marilyn Monroe posing as actress Theda Bara from the silent film Cleopatra, taken by photographer Richard Avedon.

We love this painting and after being out and about as part of a few exhibitions in the last year, it has now arrived in our gallery shop! Measuring 90 x 120 cm, this acrylic canvas is stretched and ready to hang. You can find it in our online shop for £120. Below is an image of the photograph McCulloch used as a reference to make this wild painting!!

 

 

 

 

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Quiz Night

Our annual fundraising event is back! Join us on Thursday 28 September for the always fun Project Ability Quiz Night, 7pm-9pm.

Are you pop culture savvy? Want to test your general kowledge? Look no further, our Quiz Night is the place to be!

Only £5 per entry, including a free drink and a free raffle ticket, with a chance to win one of our great prizes. You can come as a team, or join one on the night. Tickets are available to purchase on the third floor of Trongate 103. 

Who will be bringing the Project Ability trophy home?

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Meet the Maker: Garnet McCulloch

For the second in our series of Meet the Maker events, we travelled up to Garnethill to Fireworks Studio to meet ceramicist Garnet McCulloch and get a tour of his studio there.

The studio consists of a shop space at the front, and then various workshops spaces for constructing ceramics, glazing and firing them, as well as a space dedicated to running ceramics classes in the back.

Garnet showed us round and talked about how he started out in ceramics and how he worked to the point where he is now. Originally from Canada, Garnet began studying ceramics in 1994. He was instantly hooked by the process of working with clay and specifically throwing pots on the wheel. His dedication to the craft was inspiring as he talked about how much time he has spent honing his skills over the years. He also talked us through his process of making new pieces, and how he often looks at objects made by others within the history of ceramics for inspiration, with a particular interest in Korean and Japanese ceramics.

He gave us a demonstration on the wheel and it was fascinating to watch him throw a pot in a matter of minutes. He also showed us a range of tools, many of which he had adapted himself, that he used to build and finish the pieces to his own exact specifications. Watching the small adjustments and learnt techniques of such a skilled crafts person was certainly inspiring to all of those who attended. We all left feeling enthused and many were keen to get back into the ceramics workshop at Project Ability to try out some of the things that they had seen.

The next event in the series will be a Textile Printing Workshop with designer Mhari McMullan, taking place on Tuesday 5th September at Project Ability and is open to all artists working at the studios. 

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Artwork of the week - ‘Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks’ by Leslie Thompson

'Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks' is our Artwork of the Week! This drawing was made by Leslie Thompson, who had his first Scotttish solo show open with us last Friday. The exhibition, titled 'Leslie Thompson the Superstar Artist Drawer' is packed full of exciting and fascinating works of art. Leslie Thompson is from Manchester and works with Venture Arts studios, and is a prolific artist. This exhibition shows off some of his most impressive artworks which includes drawing, textile and scultpure. 'Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks' is a fun colourful artwork that packs a punch! Below is a photograph of Leslie when he was at Project Ability last Friday for the opening of his exhibition!

The show is well worth a stop into Trongate 103. It is truly an impressive exhibition showing a variety of Thompson's exquisite work.

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Artwork of the week - ‘Cleaning Up’ by Jim Feeney

Artwork of the week features a painting from one of our two exhibitions which open tomorrow. 'Cleaning Up' by Jim Feeney is painted in oil on stretched canvas. It takes us back a few decades in Glasgow's history;  evident through the dresses worn by the two young girls. Jim Feeney paints mainly Glasgow scenes, often from long ago, and usually in areas of squalor. The graffiti on the walls allows us a look into the mind of the artist and gives you an idea of the things that play on Feeney's mind.

Feeney has a selection of new paintings on display in our Gallery II from tomorrow. Titled 'squalor', this selection of work is a very fine example of Feeney's skills in painting with oil. He has a distinct and easily recognisable style, often using rich blues and reds which stand out against the grays and rust colours so familiar to anyone who's lived in or around Glasgow's tenements.

You can read about this exhibition here, and everyone is welcome along to see the show, tomorrow for the preview from 1 -3pm, or anytime after that until 23 September. At the same time we are also showing a large selection of work by Venture Arts, Manchester based artist Leslie Thompson.

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‘All About Hamish’ - A collaborative project by Jan Thomson and Sarah Bowers

'All About Hamish' is a collaborative project by ReConnect artist Jan Thomson and volunteer Sarah Bowers, focused on creatively exploring ideas around the concepts of self and self-esteem through the character of Hamish. The project has been a chance for Sarah and Jan to develop a creative partnership and to generate a final window installation using stain glass and vinyl in the ReConnect studio space.

Using the Project Ability logo -christened Hamish by the ReConnect group- to create a focal character for the conversation, they collectively discussed their individual responses to a broad palette of colours, reflecting the complex range of emotions present within us at certain points.

The final design works with the existing curve of the studio windows to express this spectrum of different states of being, with the figure of Hamish moving through this arch of emotions.

The project was a chance for Jan and Sarah to learn together and teach one another while building confidence in the mediums of stain glass and vinyl. And we must say, it looks fantastic in the ReConnect studios!

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Shop Item of the Week - ‘Donkey’ by Ian Doak

‘Donkey’ is our shop item of the week! This simplified impression of the big eared horse is a bright and cheerful painting. Measuring 30x30cm, it is on stretched canvas and ready to hang. Simple blocks of fresh vivid colours give this painting its charm.
Ian Doak works in our Aspire programme. As he has done with this character, he often outlines his subject with a bold continuous line of colour.  Ian seems to effortlessly create a picture that leaves a lasting and memorable impression on the viewer. This little guy can be yours for just £40 pounds. Purchase ‘Donkey’ from our online shop or visit us at Trongate 103 where you’ll find it hanging in our gallery shop.

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Artwork of the week - ‘Horse’ by Kyle Morrison

Artwork of the week is this painting on paper of a ‘Horse’ by Kyle Morrison. Kyle is part of our Create programme for young artists. This painting is one of two horses he has in the Young Talent exhibition which opens in the Project Ability gallery this Saturday, July 8th, at 1pm.

This ‘Horse’ is reminiscent of historic cave paintings found in places such as the Lascaux Cave in France. The simplicity of form and colour looks as though it has been borrowed from these paintings from the Stone Ages. Kyle has done a series of these Horse paintings and each has its own subtle variations in the same way as the cave paintings do.

    

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Meet the Volunteers - Monika Grubizna

Monika Grubizna volunteered with our Aspire group from January this year until the end of the last block. It has been a pleasure having her as part of the team.

"I started volunteering with Project Ability shortly after relocating to Glasgow and found everyone very welcoming, friendly and helpful. I’ve had previous experience with running creative workshops for both children and adults, but never had a chance to work alongside artists who experienced any kind of cognitive difficulties, so the Aspire program has been a great opportunity for me to observe, learn and gain new outlook on the creative process and the therapeutic value of artistic expression.

The Aspire group is a lovely mix of sparkling personalities. Everybody has been working in a wonderfully relaxed manner, immersing themselves in the process without fear or pressure.
At first I felt a bit lost without a set “class” agenda, but soon I realised that the group has its own flow: everyone sets their separate goal and pace when making art. The laid back atmosphere and happy chatter add to the creative air.

The studio spaces and the variety of professional equipment are really impressive. We could choose almost any technique to put our ideas into life and there was a complete freedom in doing so. The tutors were always there to provide feedback and advice. Working in such a relaxed and supportive environment has been incredibly fulfilling. Thank you!"

Thank you to Monica and all our wonderful volunteers! We now look forward to meeting the next group of artists who will join us starting in August!

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Meet the Volunteers - Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson is one of our brilliant volunteers. She tells us more about her experience in this week's Meet the Volunteers. 

"At the start of this year, I began as a volunteer in the ‘Art Matters’ workshops on Saturdays. As a practising artist and recent graduate, I have found the workshops both inspiring and rewarding. Project Ability provides the participants with the freedom to explore a wide range of materials away from the constraints of set structures and briefs, creating a fun and liberal studio environment.

The opportunity to become involved and to engage with each participant has been informative and good fun. The other staff have been very welcoming, providing a supportive insight into the many different functions of the organisation. The workshops bring you back to the raw principle of creativity – a welcomed detox from the art world. It has been a joy to observe how each participant expresses their creativity differently and highlights the benefits of self-motivated learning/workshops.

Overall, it has been a great learning experience, the relationship between the volunteers and participants has been two ways whereby shared interests and knowledge is exchanged. I believe that Project Ability advocates the importance of creativity in our everyday society and would highly recommend the experience becoming a volunteer."

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Meet the Volunteers - Anna Reid

In today's 'Meet the Volunteers', we introduce you to the brilliant Anna Reid, who has been volunteering with our Create programme.

"Project ability reminded me that art, particularly as a form of play, is unbelievably important when it comes to learning and confidence. I started volunteering with the Create programme after graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, where my practice focused primarily on social engagement with young people.

After graduating I knew that I wanted to continue being creative whilst working with the community, and when I heard about Project Ability, and the programmes they ran, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It certainly was. I found I learnt as much from the young people I worked with as (I hope) they did from me. As I got to know the artists and work alongside them, the experience became more and more rewarding. The Create programme meant young people could express their spontaneous ideas using anything from clay, to photography, to drawing and even printmaking. The facilities and space are fantastic, and the staff are extremely supportive in helping you navigate the studio and finding materials. I loved visiting the Project Ability galleries, which provided me with endless inspiration and appreciation for the artists working at Project Ability.

I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who wants to work alongside inspiring artists and needs a reminder as to why art is so beneficial for the community."

Thanks Anna! If you would like to volunteer with Project Ability, download an application form and apply by Monday 26th June. 

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Meet the Volunteers - Katarzyna Konarska

"With an education in the Fine Arts and Design Academy in Poland and an interest in art therapy, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to become a volunteer with Project Ability. In 2016 I supported a gentleman at Aspire class and was very happy to see how much he enjoyed it. I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Project Ability where all the staff and fellow volunteers are very knowledgeable, have a great sense of care and it’s a pleasure to be a part of the team.

With Aspire, I am helping artists with drawing, painting, ceramics and other types of artistic media they choose to express themselves with. I’m witnessing  how they create wonderful works of art. I‘m really glad I’m working with such inspiring and creative artists who are in kind teaching me how to balance being encouraging, instructive or when to step back and let their creativity flow. It has inspired me to go back to my art as well.

I would highly recommend any artist to volunteer at Project Ability. It is a wonderful opportunity to work with friendly, helpful and like-minded people within excellent facilities. But the best of all of course,  is the chance to work with a group of great artists.
Thank you and all the best."

Thank you Katarzyna!

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Volunteers Week: Where are they now?

Today marks the start of Volunteers Week, taking place accross the UK from 1st-7th June. This is a great opportunity to celebrate all our volunteers, current and past, and to thank them all about their contribution to our organisation. Their time and effort is invaluable to a charity organisation like ours, and we hope they get as much from their experience here as we do from them. 

For Volunteers Week, we asked a few of our previous volunteers where they are now and how their time with Project Ability affected their career.

Lucy Payne

"Initially I volunteered at Project Ability within the Tuesday morning Aspire classes. They are a great group and the tutors, Sandy and Meredith, were such fun to work with. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and I helped the artists with whatever they needed, from providing them with materials to helping roll out clay. I volunteered whilst in my final year at Art School studying Illustration.

After I finished both volunteering and university Tracy and Elisabeth got in touch with me and asked me to do a series of illustrations of the people and the studios of Project Ability. I obviously jumped at this and it was such an amazing experience and so nice to be asked to do so. It was such a unique opportunity to really get to know the people working within Project Ability and I felt I was able to get a really intimate snapshot of the place. At the end of the residency I had an exhibition of my work in the gallery which has just ended this May. I have loved working with Project Ability, it is such a vibrant place to work and the people who work there are so warm and welcoming."


Ailsa Sutcliff

"I began volunteering with Project Ability shortly after I graduated from Art School in 2014. As I had studied Communication Design and specialised in Illustration I had been used to fulfilling briefs and meeting multiple deadlines, so the prospect of being in a completely free and joyful artistic environment was really appealing to me. 

I was very fortunate to have been placed with the Friday Aspire group, who immediately made me feel incredibly welcome and I formed close bonds with many of the participants. I grew so attached to them all and valued my Fridays at Project Ability so highly I ended up staying far longer than I had intended; I think I volunteered for over a year in the end! Eventually I bid a tearful farewell to the group but did some further voluntary work with various nursery groups and was later very lucky to be offered a position as a tutor for the Thursday Night Social. 

Since then I have also been working regularly on the Create programme and outreach projects which has given me the confidence to pursue tutoring in various contexts; I have run several different workshops in Glasgow and recently assisted in some art classes in Edinburgh. I’m currently working with Glasgow Museums Resource Centre’s Education team and am leading two classes for their Macmillan group, responding to the collection and artefacts in the stores. 

Project Ability has not only been an invaluable part of my professional development but has really helped my confidence and mental health, giving me endless amounts of creative inspiration and joy."
 

Max Mcilmunn

"I've been involved with Project Ability for a wee bit over a decade now. I came in to one of their film making workshops, started making some short movies, and never really stopped, going so far as to volunteer as an assistant in later workshops to help younger artists learn how to make their own films. More recently, I've been part of the Project Ability Media Unit since it began, filming, editing, and even animating projects with associated groups and artists across Scotland."

Many thanks to all our amazing volunteers from all of us at Project Ability!

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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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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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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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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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Tommy Mason exhibition closing event

Join us on Friday 28th April, 12-1pm for the closing event of Tommy Mason's exhibition in the Trongate 103 foyer. Everybody welcome!

Aspire artist Tommy Mason's unique large scale paintings have taken over the Trongate 103 foyer as a celebration to World Autism Day, and will remain there until the 29th. 

Tommy has been working with Project Ability for over 25 years, and the studio would not be the same without him. He helps to make Project Ability a creative and positive environment, and we are always happy to have the opportunity to share his art with the public. Tommy Mason’s style is one of a kind. Once you have seen his work you will forever recognise A Tommy Mason.

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