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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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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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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Open Museum project - Week 2

"Last week our group visited Pollok Civic Realm in order to see the space where the exhibition we are curating is situated. The centre itself is a vast building containing a full leisure centre, health centre, library and nursery amongst other things.

We had a long visit in the dedicated museum space, getting a look at what was on display now and a good feel for the area. The case we will be working on also has side panels that we can fill with printed banners that we may use for some of our own work.

We then toured the facilities with a special objective: to observe just who was visiting the building, as they would be our audience. It seems that almost everyone from the surrounding area is a potential visitor, the cafe attracted high school students on their lunch break, adding a new demographic I certainly hadn't expected.

We then enjoyed sandwiches and cake, with a cup of tea before getting into another long discussion about our plans. We discussed our plan for the theme of the case and how we would advertise the new exhibition. We also touched on issues such as some items being light sensitive and not being able to be in the case for the whole year. A solution was to potentially change an item during the exhibit.

The next few weeks will be spent in the studio here at Project Ability meeting with other people from Glasgow Museums and choosing pieces. We will also begin to start writing both the overall blurb for the exhibit and the individual pieces blurb. It is an exciting project and a privilege to work on."
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Open Museum project - Week 1

"A group of Project Ability artists went to the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre last week to view a collection of art. The collection was donated to Glasgow Museums by Joyce Laing who was an art therapist working with in-patients with mental health issues from the 60's until the 80's.

She collected art from her own patients and others she met at hospitals. The collection is vast, diverse and impressive. We didn't get to see all of it as there is so much in the entire collection. 

After viewing it we went for a tea break and discussed what we had seen. This was when we learned more about the project we will be curating that will be displayed in a space in the Pollok Civic Realm.

We will select work from the collection and write about it. These texts will be displayed with the artworks and will be exhibited for a year. We will also be making our own artwork in response to the collection."
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Dundee outing: Maggie’s Penguin Parade

On Monday the 13th of August, a group of 12 Project Ability artists traveled to Dundee to see some of the Maggie's Penguin Parade trail.

In our midst was Ruth Mutch who had painted one the penguins for the event. We meet outside around 10am and traveled by minibus, the drive there was about an hour and a half and the same back, so not a short journey.

Once we arrived we headed to where Ruth's penguin named Penguin PJ's (or PJ for short) is located and took photos with him. We then went on a walk around Dundee city centre spotting as many penguins as we could along the way.

We also saw Desperate Dan and Minnie The Minx too! After around an hour of walking in the rain we were all a little tired and wet, so no one was too sad to return to Glasgow. On the drive back we spotted some more penguins and stopped to get photos.

We arrived home around 3:20pm to find Glasgow dry. All in all a great day was had by all and some excellent penguins spotted.
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Walking Growth Research with Consuelo Servan

On Wednesday the 25th April the walking group met with Consuelo Servan to do a collaborative textile project at Pollok Park. Some of us met up at Project Ability to chat with Consuelo about ideas of what to make and look at examples.

We then took the bus over to Pollok and met up with some other members of the group. We took a long walk through the park, where we were photographing new growth and getting ideas for the piece. We were charged with collecting leaves and sticks or anything else we could use to print with.

The weather was very spotty switching from sunny to heavy rain quickly all afternoon, so we were able to make use of the ponchos the group has had for a while now. We walked for around an hour and a half to our destination, a old converted barn at the stables within the park. Once there, we had tea and cake and we all got to feed a rescue pony named Luna some carrots.

However by this point there was no time to make any art! So we arranged to work on the project in our studio on Friday the 27th in the morning. The whole group was not able to attend at this time but those of us who were there got to cut up some wonder screen prints of cacti and reform them into a new shape before painting with brushes and sticks.

The entire experience was filmed over both days and the film and art piece will be in a future exhibition Consuelo is having. Sadly this the last walking group we will be having at the moment, with hope to continue in the future. 
-Morag MacGilchrist

Film by Tom Binns

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Walking Group - St Mungo Museum and Cathedral

Our walking group had its last outing for a while with a ramble up the High Street to visit St Mungo's Museum.

This being a very historic part of the city, there was lots to see and talk about on the way, and lots of photos to be captured.

The museum houses an eclectic mix of works, most of which have a religious connection but it seems that for some items this link is quite a tenuous one. A photograph of 'Charlie's Angels' in an exhibition about angels seemed a little bizarre but was certainly entertaining!

The next stop was St Mungo's Cathedral. Some of the group hadn't been there before but even those that had enjoyed an exploration of this magnificent building and its surroundings.

The walking group are taking a break for a while to look for more funding so will hopefully be planning some more outings soon. More photos can be found on our Facebook Page. 

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Walking Group Week 6: The Clyde Bridges

There are 21 bridges in Glasgow that cross the River Clyde and last week our walking group had a walk that took them across 5 of them.

The first of these was the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge which took the group from north to south. One of the group had vivid memories from childhood of regularly crossing this bridge with her father on the way to nursery more than half a century previously.

A walk along the South Clydeside to the Tradeston Footbridge was next where the group crossed back to the north of the river and followed the path along to the Clyde Arch, fondly known locally as the Squinty Bridge. This bridge took the group back to the south and then along to the Bells Bridge where they crossed again and then along to the nearby Millennium Bridge which was the final bridge of the day!

This is where the walk ended for some of the group who went their separate ways but after a refreshing cuppa in the BBC cafe the rest decided to make the return trip on foot via a slightly shortened route with fewer bridges.

Despite the chilly and drizzly weather it was a fine day out.

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Walking Group - Week 5: Tramway

On Wednesday 7th March the weather had improved enough for the walking group to go out again, and we made our way over to Tramway to see two exhibitions that were very different.

Firstly we saw LOVE by Steven Campbell, an exhibition of twelve large scale multi-media collages made between 1988 and 1991 and comprising dyed string being glued on to form pictures, ranging from people to a rabbit/duck illusion that saw the former enjoying a swimming pool with some rats.

There were also two carvings and three figures made from painted socks. I personally enjoyed this section the best, there was a lot to see and every picture had so much detail and other smaller details within that I could have stayed a lot longer looking for all the tiny details.

The second exhibition we saw was Circle a video installation by Margaret Salmon. We were unable to see all her work as on a loop the videos lasted several hours.

The ones we did see involved motocross bikers, a black and white snake curling around it self, a sunset, a cat going for a walk, people enjoying Hyde Park in the 90's and monkey's in Gibraltar. I think it took around 40 minutes to watch. The snake was especially interesting to watch and as someone who isn't keen on snakes it was lovely to just watch the beauty of the patterns it made.
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group - week 4: Perth

There were definite signs of spring last week when our walking group arrived in Perth. The sky was blue and South Inch park was awash with crocuses. 

The walk to the museum and art gallery was very pleasant and full of interesting things to see and the light was ideal for making photographs. A short diversion through Greyfriars burial ground revealed many beautifully carved historic gravestones.

On arriving at the museum the very pleasant staff told us that we were welcome to use their lecture hall for eating lunch in before directing us to the exhibitions. All three currently on were excellent with two exhibitions featuring artworks on paper and the third a display of wet-plate collodion photographs.

After lunch, a short walk through the town brought us to the Fergusson Gallery and another exhibition of photography, this time some contemporary work by Janeanne Gilchrist. Finally a look at the work by J D Fergusson in the upstairs gallery before walking back to the station and catching the train back to Glasgow.

A grand day out!

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/perth/greyfriars/index.html

http://www.culturepk.org.uk/museums-and-galleries/perth-museum-and-art-gallery/

http://www.culturepk.org.uk/museums-and-galleries/the-fergusson-gallery/

http://www.janeannegilchristartist.com/

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Walking Group - week 3: Maryhill Burgh Halls

On the 7th of February the walking group went on a tour of Maryhill Burgh Halls. 

We took the bus up to Maryhill and were given a guided tour by a lady named Christine. 

We went through the new build section of the building that houses a cafe and small exhibition space into the original hall, a reasonable sized room that when built could hold 1000 people! It was hard to imagine more than a couple of hundred fitting it, fortunately they have a photo from the early 1900's of around 800 men all seated at a dinner just to show that it was possible.

We were then taken up to the roof area, where the new build has created a floor where the original decorative beams have been preserved. The hall opened in the 1870's was taken over by The Maryhill Burgh Trust in the 2000's and has been renovated and saved from dereliction. They have preserved 11 original stained glass windows, which are on display in the main hall, as well as other artefacts in the new section of the building.

The gates were designed by Andy Scott, who did the Kelpies, and are based on the firefighters who worked the area in the 18 and 1900's. 

After our tour it had started to snow so we split and some of us walked along the canal and others returned back to the city to head home.

-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group - Week 1: GoMA

Our walking group kicked off 2018 with a visit to Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art to see the current exhibitions there. There was a rich variety of works to see in every part of the building with a wide range of themes, styles and mediums on display.

Two solo and two group exhibitions are in the four main galleries along with permanent displays that document the history of the building from the residence of a wealthy merchant to the municipal gallery it is today in the balcony spaces. It was a lot to take in.

One of the exhibitions, Taste, which can be found in gallery 2, is composed of works from the Glasgow Museum's collection and includes pieces by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fischli/Weiss, Andy Goldsworthy, David Hockney, Eduardo Paolozzi, David Shrigley, Stanley Spencer and Andy Warhol. This will be an ongoing exhibition that will will periodically change with rotations taking placing over the coming years. A highlight for our group was the short film The Way Things Go by Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. You can watch a short excerpt here.

Other exhibitions on the day were: solo exhibitions by Aaron Angell and Stephen Sutcliffe and Polygraphs: Truth, evidence and the authentic voice, a group exhibition that explores our connections to the arms trade, slave trade and feminism and includes works by Barbara Kruger, kennardphillips, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hito Steyerland, Alasdair Gray and ex-Project Ability tutor Beth Forde.

More information on all these exhibitions and more can be found here.

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Walking Group - Fiona McIntosh workshops

"The last two Wednesdays, the 6th and 13th December, the walking group were in the studio producing artwork with a theme of what community means to us, to accompany Fiona McIntosh's exhibition in the Briggait, which we had previously visited.

A lot of fantastic and diverse work including drawings, prints and 3D pieces have been produced, with everyone having a varying ideas on what the theme meant to them.

On Friday the 15th we were able to revisit The Briggait to see our work displayed and it looked great. The exhibition runs until January 26th and I recommend a visit."
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking group - Week 24: The Briggait

On the 29th November the walking group headed to The Briggait. Now an arts venue, the Briggait was originally built in 1873 as Glasgow's fish market. Transformed with offices around the edges, the main space in the center of the building makes an excellent area to display art installations.

We went to meet with the artist who currently has work displayed there, Fiona Macintosh. Her exhibition,‘My home is your home, mi casa es su casa’, is a series of prints that accompany an amazing biography, ‘ROSA of the Wild Grass, The Story of a Nicaraguan Family’, about Rosa and her journey of over 30 years through adversity to keep her family and community strong.

The work covers a range of emotions as each picture is from a different time in the ladie's life, some depict extremely happy times with parties and loving family moments, others are often heartbreaking and poignant like a picture of a pregnant Rosa holding a gun to protect her unborn child.

Many of us were very moved when talking with Fiona and hearing her personal experiences of being lifelong friends with Rosa and her family. The exhibition is on until the 26th of January and artists from both the walking group and the ReConnect program will be producing work to be displayed in the later half of the exhibition so expect more news on this soon.
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group - Week 23: Tramway

Our walking group braved the Scottish weather last week to make a visit to Tramway in the South side of Glasgow to see a trio of exhibitions. First stop was upstairs to Narrative: The Koestler Scotland Exhibition 2017, a display of works from prisons, secure hospitals, secure children’s homes, immigration detention centres and community justice services across Scotland.

The work in the exhibition is hugely varied and thought provoking and produced a wide range of responses from the group. Author and poet Jenni Fagan curated the show and said 'I believe creative projects are hugely important to rehabilitation in ways that we are probably only just beginning to understand'.

Next stop was the huge Tramway 2 gallery to see the Amanda Ross-Ho exhibition, Untitled Period Piece. The scale of the work with gigantic trousers and pattern pieces feels like a visit to a tailor's workshop in Alice's Wonderland. It felt like the perfect location to model the new rain-capes that were bought with a Scotmid community grant and have an impromptu photo-shoot - with help from one of the exhibition invigilators!

The last exhibition of the day was Momma! Momma! by Megan Rooney, a strange and in places unnerving installation that makes you wonder 'what just happened here?'

Some of the group had a short walk in the rather wet Hidden Gardens before everyone went their separate ways.

You can find more information about these exhibitions at http://www.tramway.org/strands/Pages/visual-arts.aspx

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Walking Group - Week 22: The Lighthouse Poster Exhibition

"On Wednesday the 8th November, the Walking Group went to The Lighthouse to visit an exhibition of posters and have the chance to make our own.

The International Poster Exhibition is part of Graphic Design Festive Scotland and showcases 140 posters and sets of posters, including the top three winners. Festival founders Warriors Studio, Jamie McIntyre former art director of It's Nice That, Jaemin Lee director of South Korean studio Fnt and last years winner Koos Breen recent graduate of Royal Academy of the Arts, the Hauge, made up this years judging panel.

The competition received 6095 entries from 81 countries and we were told about how hard not only the judging process was but to chose only 140 to exhibit. The posters were diverse, from moving images you would see on a bus stop to South Korean dream like glittery comics, to adverts for events and political pieces.

It was impossible to choose a favorite, fortunately we didn't have to. After looking around we got to take part in a poster making workshop each choosing a message we wanted to convey to the world.

The posters were simple, we all got one blank sheet of paper and a selection of letters to cut out and glue, the task of making them interesting and meaningful feel to each of us. I really enjoyed working on my poster and enjoyed seeing the different styles of work and how different countries view poster making."
-Morag McGilchrist

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WalkingGroup - Week 20: the Tenement House

"On Wednesday 11th October, the walking group took a rare morning trip to visit the Tenement House in Garnethill. It was a wet day so we took a brisk walk through George Square before heading to the Garnethill area via Sauchiehall Street. Once there we were given a private tour of the house and museum.

The tenement itself is amazing to see, Miss Toward who lived there with her mother Mrs Toward until her death, had collected and saved everything. The wealth of information about the time period and how Miss Toward lived was vast due to her desire to not waste and throw stuff away.

The house is set to be staged as it would have been in the late 1800’s with the gas lighting restored. The furniture is exquisite with a gorgeous grandfather clock over 200 years old in the hallway.

In the kitchen the original range and Belfast sink are still there and the bathroom has been restored to show what Victorian indoor plumbing was like.

Downstairs there is a museum area with more information about Miss Toward and her mother, and more items of theirs as well as information on life in Glasgow at the time, why tenements were built and how they housed different people."
-Morage McGilchrist

You can find more information on the Tenement House here

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Walking Group - Week 19: GSA

Last Wednesday the walking group had the pleasure of again visiting the Glasgow School of Art. We walked leisurely through the city center, enjoying the good weather before arriving and seeing the first exhibition.

This was a fabulous event hosting work by Friday's Aspire group and organized by volunteer Jonny Kirkwood. It featured beautiful work displayed over two rooms and we were fortunate to have two of the artists, Cameron Morgan and Doreen Kay in attendance with us.

We then went into the Vic Cafe to see Jonathan McKinstry's mural Not The Last Supper. As I remember being a huge fan of the original painting it was amazing to see it so large and perfectly recreated on the wall.

We then returned to the Reid Gallery to see SoFA Presents: East and West Walk Forward School of Fine Art. A fabulous exhibition with paintings, prints and sculptures from China. The exhibion runs until October 29th. We also were able to see an exhibit of post war print design for fabric which is in the main corridor outside the Reid Gallery.
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group - Week 18: Panopticon & Holmwood House

Last week the walking group went to two venues that couldn't be more different. Firstly we went just two doors down and around the corner to the Britannia Panopticon, the oldest surviving music hall in the world.

Inside is a small museum of the history of the venue, featuring posters, programmes, costumes and props. The music hall, in its day, hosted a variety of shows, from comedy to drama and musicals, with many famous acts passing through, notably Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

Currently they screen films and host variety shows and music nights as well as being open in the afternoon for free viewings of the displays. The venue features a bar and has merchandise for sale. It is an amazing place simply oozing history, some less savory than wholesome but all interesting and worth a second visit. Find out more at http://www.britanniapanopticon.org/

We then took a bus through the south side of the city to visit Holmwood House. Built in the late 1850's by Alexander 'Greek' Thompson for James Couper and his wife, the house is now owned by the National Trust but has been many families homes before becoming a nunnery.

The Couper family made their money in paper and founded the Couper Institute. The detail in the house is exquisite and no section was build and decorated with less than the main house, meaning the servants quarters, kitchen and coach house are all as fabulous as the main home.

There is a stunning garden and vegetable area. I personally found the serving area in the dining room to be the most stunning feature and was interested to hear that the nuns had used it as their altar during their time at Holmwood. More about the property can be found at http://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Holmwood-House
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group - Week 17: GMRC

On Wednesday 30th August the walking group went by train to Nitshill to visit the Glasgow Museums Resource Center. The center houses artworks and artifacts that are currently not on display in museums within the city.

It was opened in the early 2000's and expanded when the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was being refitted to accommodate more pieces, it currently homes over one million paintings and artifacts and it is simply not possible to see everything in one go.

On this visit we got to see items of social history including home appliances and ceramics. Fascinating were the early TV's, washing machines and even a circular dishwasher. We saw a scale model of Glasgow made post world war two that was to help plan and design the reconstruction of the city after the blitz.

Upstairs we saw ceramics and glassware both functional and decorative from a variety of time periods and places throughout Europe. Personally I enjoyed seeing some of the Glasgow factory tea sets that were familiar to me. More can be found out about the center at http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/GMRC/Pages/default.aspx Visits can be arranged and also they do tours at set times, but you are not able to just drop in like the cities other museums.
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group - Week 16: Glasgow School of Art

"On Wednesday 23rd August the Walking Group were invited to a tour of the Against Landscape exhibition in the Reid Gallery at the Glasgow School of Art.

We were treated to lovely weather and enjoyed a stroll though the city from Trongate 103 up to GSA, via George Square. Once there we met Caroline Grape who would show us around and talk about the pieces and artists a little. She was very nice and had a lot of information about the work and also how the gallery works.

The GSA students themselves invigilate the gallery between lectures, giving them an experience in another area of the broader field of art. We saw many works in a wide variety of mediums including video installations, photography, paintings and sculpture.

We were also shown how the exhibition had been installed via basic wooden stacking blocks made especially so they could travel and be used to display work anywhere. It was actually the final day of this particular exhibition but the gallery space was fantastic and I would recommend keeping a look out for further exhibits on there, you can check out their website at http://www.gsa.ac.uk/visit-gsa/exhibitions/"
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group - Week 15: Galgael

On Wednesday 17th August the walking group got the opportunity to visit and receive a tour of The GalGael Project in Ibrox. We meet with Dorothy Graham, Programmes Manager, and were immediately treated to a tea or coffee before we even started our tour, a very welcomed idea.

We split into two groups for tours as there was a large group of us that day, and in a fun way to choose who went first we decided those who had hot drinks should stay and finish them! As a tea drinker, I took the second tour. Dorothy explained the history of the project which was started in 1997 by Colin Macleod, a community activist who wanted to build a sense of community after failing to stop the motorway being built. He had family roots in the northern Scottish islands and was interested in sailing and boat building, especially traditional wooden boats.

The project began as a boat building one and grew into other wood crafts, with boat building still at its heart: on our visit no less than three boats were in various stages of completion. Participants learn basic wood cutting and carving skills before going in to build simple items like boxes. Once the basic skills are mastered they can choose to make just about anything, we saw small ornamental items, furniture, musical instruments (including a harp and piano) large scale ornamental pieces and even a spinning wheel.

On the tour we were taken through the workshop and shown the various areas of space available, including some areas rented by professional wood craftsmen who then work alongside the other participants. No prior experience is needed and we were told most people have never worked with wood before they started.

They have an open evening every Thursday and we were invited along if we could make it, it is open to anyone and a meal is served -participants and community members alike attend with family and it sounds like a great social gathering. The project was amazing and I would suggest anyone interested in working with wood take a look at their website which can be found at http://www.galgael.org/
-Morag McGilchrist

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Walking Group -  Week 14: Edinburgh Art Festival

Running alongside the Edinburgh International and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals is the Edinburgh Art Festival, an exciting programme of exhibitions and events across the city.

Our walking group outing last week began with a bus journey to the capital followed by an energetic walk from the bus station to Inverleith House.

The house is set in the grounds of the Botanic Gardens and is currently showing Plant Scenery of the World, a varied exhibition of contemporary and historical works looking at the history of botanical collections and display.

A hike back into the city led to Fruitmarket Gallery to see an exhibition by Brazilian artist Jac Leirner, a wonderful display of works made from everyday materials collected by the artist.

You can see the full Art Festival programme at https://edinburghartfestival.com/
Inverleith House exhibition info at http://www.rbge.org.uk/the-gardens/edinburgh/inverleith-house
and Jac Leirner exhibition at http://www.fruitmarket.co.uk/

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Falkirk bus trip

Last Wednesday around twenty Project Ability artists went on a day trip to Falkirk. We were able to fit in two attractions The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies.

We met in the Trongate 103 lobby for a 10am departure and were in Falkirk within an hour. We spent an hour at the wheel, exploring the visitor center which is well equipped with toilets, cafe and shop before having a chance to see the wheel in action.

We watched in awe as a canal barge sailed into the bottom section and was amazingly lifted to the top as the mechanism did its magic. In return another barge was brought down and its passengers able to disembark.

At this stage some of the group split up to walk along the canal bank through Falkirk to the Helix Park where the Kelpies are located. The rest of went back to the bus after taking numerous fabulous photographs.

We drove for around ten minutes to the next location and got our first glimpses of the huge metal sculptures from the bus. Once at The Helix we were able to walk down to the statues and see all around them, even getting close enough to see the inside through the gaps in the metal.

There too is a visitor center with information on the construction of the work, a gift shop, more toilets and choice of cafes to eat at. The Kelpies are depicted here as two large horses heads but mythical creatures are shape shifting and can take other forms, horses were chosen for this piece to represent the heavy horses that worked on the canals in history pulling barges.

We ate our lunch in the large, comfortable picnic area and it was then that the rain decided to prove to us it had indeed been forecast, a small shower had everyone pulling out coats, umbrellas and heading towards the visitors center for shelter. Once the rain was past and we had reunited with the walkers we returned to Glasgow and were back by mid afternoon.

For more information on these attractions please visit: https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/falkirk-wheel/  and  http://www.thehelix.co.uk/

(Blog by Morag McGilchrist)

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Walking Group - Week 10: Pollok Park

What a wonderful day for a walk in the park and what a wonderful park to walk in. Pollok Park in the Southside of Glasgow is not only the biggest park in the city but one of the most beautiful – especially on a sunny day. Our walking group were very pleased to get one of these last week for their trip and thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine. The Burrell Collection museum is currently closed for refurbishment but there is still plenty to do and see in the park.

There was wildlife aplenty with ducks, damselflies, newts and bees being spotted and lots of birdsong heard from the trees above. The group also had the great pleasure of seeing the shire horses grazing in the field and then being led along the riverbank.

It wasn’t the first time the group had been to the park but it was their first time to find the carved dinosaur bones in one of the cultivated garden areas.

For more information about the park visit  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollok_Country_Park

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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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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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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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Walking Group -Week 7: Alexandra Park

The name Glasgow is derived from the Gaelic word 'Glaschu' which means 'green hollow' or 'dear green place'. The name is still a very appropriate one as there are more than 100 parks and green spaces scattered across the city.

One of the favourites of these is Alexandra Park to the east of the city in the easily accessible district of Dennistoun. Our walking group travelled there on a 38 bus and enjoyed a good leg-stretching walk. For most of the group it was their first visit to the park but for one person it brought back some early memories as her parents had lived next to the park and she had been their several times as a child. She remarked that it 'seemed much bigger then'.

There was a great deal of wildlife activity around the pond with squirrels, crows, pigeons, swans and many other water fowl so it was a bit of a nature lover's paradise with many photo opportunities.

After the tour of the park, many of the walkers went their separate ways but a couple of people carried on walking. The next stop was a visit to a little known statue of Buffalo Bill in the grounds of some flats on Whitehill Street. The sculpture is a bit of a mystery as several web searches have not revealed the name of the artist who made it, so if anyone knows, please tell us!

Finally, an impromtu visit to Market Galley on Duke Street to see 'The Minch' reveals a series of fascinating interactive installations by Suzanne Déry and Susannah Stark before a walk back into town.

You can find more info about Alexandra Park here  and 'The Minch' and Market Gallery here 

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