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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The Friday Group goes to Dunoon

Last week, the Aspire Friday Group took a trip to Dunoon with tutor Valerie O'Regan. They enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in the town, sketching in the harbour and taking in the views.

The group also spent some time in the Burgh Hall, where they were greated by Jenny Hunter, the Programmes Coordinator, who showed them around their Artist Rooms Andy Warhol exhibition. A great occasion for more sketching!

The group had a fantastic time and will be looking forward to coming back to Dunoon in the future.

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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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Artwork of the week - ‘Laundry Day’ by Jim Feeney

'Laundry Day' by Jim Feeney is our Artwork of the week! This painting has Feeney's signature brick reds and browns, surrounding the figure in the foreground and the laundry hanging above her. As usual with Jim Feeney's paintings, there's little guessing that Glasgow is the depicted subject, and certain visual clues help to place the scene quite awhile back in Glasgow's contemporary history. 

This is a very fine example of Jim's work, beautifully painted and nostalgic. You can see more of Jim's newest oil paintings in our Gallery II until 23 September. Titled 'squalor', this exhibition focuses on Glasgow, its people and its streets. Read more about the show here and stop in when you can. We also have Leslie Thompson's solo show in the main gallery, up until 23 September as well.

 

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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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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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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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Ladysbridge Stories - September workshops

The Ladysbridge Stories workshops return to the Arts Centre Aberdeen on Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 September.

On Tuesday 12 September, there will be a bus trip to the site of Ladysbridge Hospital in Banff: meet outside ACT at 10am and return at 4pm. Lunch will be provided in a local cafe. Pleas book your place by the 1st September.

On Wednesday 13 September, in the morning, we will be visiting the NHS Archives of the Ladysbridge Hospital, located at Robert Gordon University. Meet up at ACT at 10am, we will be back for lunch and will follow up with an afternoon session of workshops and discussions until 3pm. Lunch, tea and coffee provided.

On Thursday 14 September, we will host a day of visual arts workshops from 10am-2pm at the ACT. Lunch will be provided.

All three days' sessions are FREE. For more information and to book your place on the bus trip, please contact Project Ability: info@project-ability.co.uk or 0141 552 2822.

Click here to read more about our Ladysbridge Stories project, in partnerhsip with C-Change and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

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On the Road: Dundee - Douglas Community Centre

"At the end of July Cameron Morgan and I ventured out on another intrepid 'On the Road' trip. Although no strangers to Dundee, we were visiting the Douglas Community Centre for the very first time, which seemed like a busy hub for the surrounding local area. It was there that we met a group of artists who made some really impressive and highly individual designs for our canvas tote bag project.

A nice surprise for Cameron was the chance to hook up with his pal Ross Inglis. Cameron and Ross met when they were both recipients of the RSA Lifetime Fellowship Awards in 2016 and Cameron also attended this year's ceremony while Ross played the bagpipes.

We 're hoping to build closer links with the group at the Douglas Community Centre, Dundee and collaborate on some more art in the near future."
-Meredith Crone, Project Ability tutor

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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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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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Meet the Maker: Lucy Gordon

Last Friday, we launched a new series of talks, visits and workshops called Meet the Maker that Project Ability artists are invited to attend. Over the course of the next few months we are inviting artists and makers working in the city to present their work, either at Project Ability or in their own studios. We hope to introduce our artists to new works and give them an opportunity to find out more in depth about different artist’s practices. We also hope to give insight into artist’s professional practice and how they present their work in exhibitions, events and online.

For the first in this series we were delighted to be joined by Lucy Gordon. Lucy is a painter and illustrator, who lives and works in Glasgow. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2002 and since then has continued to develop her practice in her home studio, exhibiting regularly and presenting her work at makers markets. Within her works she uses literary references, childhood memories and everyday banality, to create fun and often surreal images of animals.

The event was really well attended by artist’s working on our Aspire and Reconnect programmes. Lucy showed some great examples of her work and talked about her experience of being an artist which sparked a lot of discussion and questions amongst the group.

The next event in this series is happening on Friday 25th August, 1-2pm, when we will be taking a trip to Fireworks Studio to meet ceramicist Garnet McCulloch.
http://www.lucygordonart.co.uk/

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Royal visit at Project Ability

On Monday 24th July, we were delighted to welcome Princess Eugenie in our studios, accompanied by Glasgow's Lord Provost Eva Bolander.

After a short meeting with our Director Elisabeth Gibson, where she learnt more about our charity and the work we do, the Princess was introduced to the Aspire, ReConnect and Create artists present on the day and spent some time in the workshops.

She took time to talk with everybody, signed our comments book and even took part in our young people's performance workshop!

"What an amazing organisation. Thank you for sharing with me and I hope to see you all soon. 
Eugenie"

For more photos of the Princess's visit, please see our Facebook Page. 

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Artist Residency / Creative Partnership opportunity

Project Ability has a new opportunity for a visual artist to develop a creative partnership with artist Cameron Morgan, FRSA

Cameron Morgan is a prominent learning disability artist.  He has received a professional development award from Creative Scotland to support his continuing artistic practice.  He is based in Glasgow and works in Project Ability’s studio in Trongate 103.

Fee: £2000
Closing date: 25th August 2017, 5pm.
Interviews: 1st September 2017, Project Ability, Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD

This is a call for an artist to open their studio to Morgan and share their practice.  It’s a “residency”, in your own studio; a day a week over 12 weeks to reflect, create, experiment, and learn while collaborating, conversing and working alongside Morgan.
What you choose to do and the approach taken will be a conversation negotiated between you, Morgan and facilitated by Project Ability.  Possible project outcomes if new work is made is a shared exhibition or artist talk.
This is the first of three opportunities that will be offered over 12 months.  Your commitment to the partnership will be approx. 12 days, 60 hours.

Morgan has exhibited widely and received public and critical accolades for his work.  He is expert in creating temporary gallery installations; large scale paintings worked directly onto the fabric of the gallery and his humorous ceramic sculptures.  He spent much of 2016, in the studio working on his Glasgow International commission TV Classics Part 1 (http://www.tvclassicspart1.co.uk): Project Ability, April 2016 and Put Your Sweet Lips Closer to the Phone: Tramway, September 2016. 

Learning disabled artists are under-represented in every area of contemporary visual arts; their work is not held in national collections and it has little exposure in public galleries.  The work is seldom researched, documented or critiqued.  There are a few notable artists who are change makers.  Through their talent and determination and the expertise of their support studios, their work is reaching audiences.  Cameron Morgan is a change maker.

The project explores the nature of artistic collaboration, knowledge and skill exchange and works towards a more equal and improved integration of inclusive arts practice. Project Ability supports artists with learning disabilities to develop their artistic practice and contribute to the contemporary visual art landscape. 

Interested? Send a covering letter describing your interest in the project, your C.V. and 6 images to director@project-ability.co.uk by Friday 25th August. 

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Summer workshops public performance

The first of our two week-long performance workshops will be drawing to a close on Friday. The young artists involved spent the week experimenting with music, textures and movement, responding to our current exhibition Young Talent through the medium of performance art.

Led by drama artist Clare Hume and with tutor Allan McKeown, these multi-sensory workshops have been a great opportunity for our participants to explore art via a more unconventional channel.

The group will be showcasing a performance for the public on Friday 14 July, at 1.30pm in Trongate 103. Everybody welcome!

Next workshop: week starting 24th July. There are still a few places available, call us on 0141 552 2822 to book a place. 

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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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Cameron Morgan - Arthouse residency Week 2

"A great second week with Cameron in The Arthouse, Wakefield!

We had 3 very successful days in the studio with the hugely talented Richard Marsden, finishing off prints and started 2 new ones.

The drawings Cameron made after our trip to The Yorkshire sculpture park was turned into a 5 colour screen print. Quite the task, but not only did Richard and Cameron manage to get the colours separated and screens made, they also managed to make many great prints from the screens. The colours chosen really worked well and popped.

Cameron now knows every stage involved in making screenprints, from simple 2 colour prints right up to a massive 5 colour print,and loved the whole process.

We also managed to have days out to The Yorkshire sculpture park, Barbara Hepworth museum and the beautiful city of York, I’m sure these will inspire many more pieces from cameron in the future. I must admit it wasn’t all so cultural as we also spent an evening watching Wonderwoman in the cinema and each morning started with a swim.

All in all a great week! So many new skills added and inspirational artwork seen."
-Jason Davis

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Ladysbridge Stories now on social media!

'Ladysbridge Stories', our collaborative project with C-Change, is now on social media!

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to be kept updated about this captivating social history project focusing on the stories of people with learning disabilities who lived in the Ladysbridge Hospital in Aberdeenshire.

A dedicated website is currently under construction and will be launched in the coming weeks. If you have any information about the Ladysbridge Hospital or would like to share your story, please contact us on info@project-ability.co.uk or 0141 552 2822.

Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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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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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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Cameron Morgan - Arthouse residency Week 1

Cameron Morgan is now starting his second week in residence at the Arthouse. Technician Jim Ewen spent the first week with him, and brought back many photos and many stories. 

Tuesday 20th June: we started the day meeting Richard Marsden -the screen printer- who would be working with us exploring the process. We jumped straight in, turning Cameron’s picture of the combine harvester into a 4 colour print. This involved quite a lot of preparation of scanning editing and colour separation on the computer. Printing the images onto acetate. Coating the silkscreens, then exposing them, and finally, washing and drying the screens. Next, Cameron mixed some ink and taped up the excess areas of the screen. Now we were ready to print and 10 sheets later we were done. The first colour of the combine was done.

We stopped for lunch and in the time we had left we made some experiments using tape. Set a shape with tape on the back of the screen and then use ink to make some interesting colour prints. We learned how the ink mixes on the screen and how to mask off areas like a stencil.

Wash up time and that was our first day with Richard. We had a break and then came back for the rest of the afternoon. Cameron worked on a new drawing of an agricultural windmill or water pump as they were used, and I made some experiments with paper stencils. We decided to make Cameron’s drawing into a stencil and started cutting it up. It felt good to be thinking up ideas and just doing it. Just a few hours ago we didn’t have the confidence to do that. Now it felt natural, like we knew what we were doing. And it worked, we got a good print from the paper stencil.

Wednesday started with the aim to complete the combine harvester. Another 3 colours to print. Because the ink was water based and because of the weather, the ink dried quickly so we could over print after about 40 min. The finished edition of 10 prints were just stunning. A major achievement in so little time.

In-between the colour printing, when Richard washed the screens or prepared the next one, Cameron got on with developing the windmill print. He traced on top of the print where highlights should go and then made another paper stencil. This time with a grey ink. It was coming on really well. We removed the stencil for the final print just to see what would happen- a ghostly image of the windmill appeared. Later on Cameron would draw on top of this print to create a fantastic finished piece.

After a very busy day, it was time for dinner. We tried the Thai Street Food Wakefield and it became our favourite restaurant.

On Thursday the plan was to do another of Cameron’s drawings. This time of a tractor ploughing a field. We were going to do 3 colours in just a few hours. With screen printing there are always test prints before the good paper goes in. we had built up many such prints and they were overprinted with each new colour. The result was a stack of chaotic and beautiful prints which could easily go into the coming exhibition.

The final edition of the tractor was finished just as the photographer arrived so Richard decided to make another colour experiment print. Making a shape with tape on the screen Cameron then literally threw ink at the screen. Almost got the photographer too! He made some great prints with bright, bright colours.

Again in-between printing the tractor we worked on the windmill print. Cameron made a third stencil for which we printed in pink. He also over drew another of the ghost prints. They turned out great, and with that Thursday was done.

Friday started early. It was my last full day with Cameron. I would be going home on Saturday and Jason Davis would be coming down to take over my duties. Richard wasn’t working with us today so we had to carry on experimenting on our own. Through the week I had been making experiment prints with paper stencils and then overprinting with an exposed screen with a drawing on it. My drawings and paintings are all based on an imaginary place called Zillerholm. It allows me to mash out lots of different places and cultures in one place. The prints I made tied into this as well. I was really pleased with them but I didn’t need to do anymore of them. So today, Cameron and I worked together, using everything we had learned, to make hybrid drawings and prints.

We started with some quality paper, Fabriano Rosapina, and using watercolour, graphite and ink, made some paintings which were all about mark making and colour. Then we tore them up. We prepared the screen with a landscape format and attached strips of tape. Cameron mixed some bright colours and then we started printing. At first on fresh paper and later on the torn up paintings.

We over printed some twice, and on some prints used Cameron’s tractor plough image as well. It was a really fun day and we got what we wanted -the happy accident. It turned up everywhere. The paintings we torn up were printed really randomly, however when we fitted them back together in 2s and 3s it worked so well. They were meant to go back together. We were really pleased, the creative gods were blessing us today.

We cleaned up the studio and as I sorted out all the prints we had done over the 4 days, Cameron started over drawing 2 of the prints. He created a couple of gems. And with that we were done. A nine hour day. My legs were aching. I needed a sit down and a cold beer. I got both. It was a real pleasure working with Cameron and I really enjoyed our chats in the evenings over food and beer. I’ll miss Wakefield as well, the Arthouse staff and the sun. Time to go home.

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On the Road: Buckie and Keith

As part of our trip to the North East, Project Ability’s ‘On the Road’ artists visited Burnie Day Centre in the historic fishing town of Buckie and the Keith Community Hub, located in the centre of Keith, a country town famous for its Country show, traditional music and its important position on the ‘Scottish Malt Whisky Trail’.

Keith and Buckie, though very close in proximity, are both very different towns in look and feel; one coastal and the other rural. We received the friendliest of welcomes in both venues and were amazed at the enthusiastic and focused response, by both groups, to our sessions.

On day one we were treated to a tour of all Burnie’s marvellous, purpose-built facilities, such as its brilliant soft play room, snoezelen multi-sensory environment, activities rooms and even a trampoline room. Laid out in the shape of a horseshoe, Burnie encloses a beautiful sensory garden, which was buzzing with bees.

In Keith we were given a preview of the group's beautiful collaborative collaged wall mural which now brightens up one of their main meeting rooms and can be enjoyed by many of the groups who share facilities at the centre.

We’d travelled north to Elgin on Sunday with a car stuffed full of clay, plaster, drawing inks and an array of objects to inspire participants, such as ceramic skulls, Indian block prints and plastic toys. For both workshops we devised sessions which could offer our participants a series of tactile and multi-sensory activities, resulting in beautiful pressed clay plaster reliefs. These reliefs explore a number of processes rolled into one to ensure that everyone can connect and engage on many levels. The sessions involved lots of rolling, pressing, printing, pealing, measuring, mixing and tapping.
-Sharon Quigley, On the Road tutor

Burnie Day Centre,
28 Highfield Road
Buckie
Moray

Keith Community Hub
26 Mid Street
Keith
Banffshire
AB55 5AH

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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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Heritage workshops at Linn Park Adventure Playground - Week 4

For the last of our heritage workshops with schools and youth groups at Linn Park Adventure Playground, children and young people explored weaving and carpet making, inspired by the Geddes Carpet Factory and Dye Works, which once stood where Holmhead Crescent and Holmhead Place are now. 

In the 1700’s the factory was one of the area's main employers and those taking part in the workshops were very busy producing their small masterpieces.

We have an exciting programme of activities taking place at Linn Park Adventure Playground over the summer for children with additional support needs aged 5+ and their families. 
Booking is essential, contact Linn Park Adventure Playground on 0141 633 1493

Friday 30th June - Rag Rug Carpets and Weaving Workshops, 10am-12noon & 1-3pm

Friday 7th July -  Foraging for Foliage Walk, 10am-11am (Access to the park via steep slope with steps and uneven terrain.)
Paper Making Workshops, 11am-12noon & 1-3pm

Friday 21st July - Foam Printing Workshop, 10am-12 noon
Tie Dye Workshop, 1-3pm

Friday 28th July - Foraging for Foliage Walk, 10am-11am (Access to the park via steep slope with steps and uneven terrain.)
Printing From Found Objects Workshop, 11am-12noon
Textile Printing Workshop, 1-3pm

Friday 4th August - Rag Rug Carpets and Weaving Workshops, 10am-12noon & 1-3pm


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

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Meet the Volunteers - Robyn Boyle

"I’ve known of Project Ability since a lecturer suggested applying to volunteer when I was discussing my plans after studying at Gray’s School of Art. I’ve been following a plan towards studying a masters in Art and Psychotherapy for over 10 years. It’s the only career I’ve ever felt compelled to pursue. I have a deep desire to help others in any way I can, which combined with my engrained creativity would make it the ideal job for my personality.  I’ve always admired the work Project Ability does and really wanted the opportunity to learn from them and the artists supported there.

As part of my journey, over the last two years, I have been working as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties, mental health illnesses and physical disabilities. I have incorporated art workshops and community based creative activities - when appropriate and if time allows - with the people I support, including helping to remodel the bedroom of a young woman I support to include a large sensory corner where she can spend some time out of her wheelchair.

In my job I have many other responsibilities, so having the chance to be immersed in a purely arts based environment at Project Ability, has been amazing. The feedback from the tutors has also been encouraging, especially when they have recognised the benefits of something I’ve tried with the artists they support.

A lot of the art workshops I have facilitated at work or other places, I have volunteered and have funded by myself. Having the time, space and resources at Project Ability has given me the opportunity to experiment more with people. Engaging with the artists to identify what they enjoy has been a big highlight for me. This has been particularly helpful with the non-verbal artist who I have spent the most time working with. The flexibility to switch to different materials and processes has helped me support him without creative limitations.

Focusing solely on art as a method to enrich people’s lives has been one of the most valuable periods of time I have spent volunteering. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge and learned new techniques to support people which will help me in future projects.

My own art practice has benefited too.  While supporting one of the Saturday artists, I have made examples pieces to work from. There’s been quite a few moments where I have made work completely divorced from my usual palette and style because I haven’t been aiming to produce ‘art’ or been too precious and concerned with the result, yet I have liked the outcome more than I usually do. Working with the artists has definitely taught me to make work I enjoy making removed from my own expectations and standards I tend to place on myself.


I have been sad at the end of every session because I’ve been having far too much fun!  I will definitely miss working with all of this group of inspiring people, but I’m so grateful that I have been fortunate enough to have worked with the artists alongside the tutors."

Thank you Robyn!

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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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New artist in residence opportunities

Project Ability is delighted to be able to offer two opportunities to Glasgow based visual artists, interested in making and experiencing our unique working environment. 

Our residency programme gives opportunity to artists to develop their practice, within our busy working studios. Your experience with us will give you the chance to engage with our artists, be influenced by their practices and give you time and a space to create with us.

We have two opportunities available, one for the calendar month of August and one for the month of September.  All interested artists are invited to submit an artist cv along with a short proposal of how they could use their time with us to our Volunteers Co-ordinator, Tracy Gorman at volunteers@Project-ability.co.uk.  Any enquiries regarding these opportunities should also be directed to Tracy.

The deadline for all application is Monday 26th June. Good luck

(image: Florence Dwyer, ReSearch residency 2016)

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New volunteering opportunities starting August 2017

As our spring workshops draw to a close, Project Ability is gearing up for our autumn 2017 programme due to start later this August. We are looking for a wide range of visual artists, who are interested in experiencing our creative programme of workshops. Our studios offer a vibrant and colourful working environment for our artists, tutors and volunteers alike. Volunteering with Project Ability will challenge you, no matter what stage you are at in your career.  It can open up your practice and introduce you to new ways of making art, we hope you will be energised and inspired by your experience with us.  Please look at the ‘Meet the Volunteer’ feature on our website, to be inspired by the past and varied experiences of our previous volunteers. 

We are welcoming applications from both graduate and undergraduate artists, with experience in ceramics or printmaking and across the visual arts, to support our ‘Aspire’ participants in the making of their artwork.  Our Aspire programme is for adults with learning disabilities. Volunteers should be able to commit to at least 2 hours a week, each week, for 8 weeks.  Workshops take place from 10am – 12noon and 1pm– 3pm, Monday to Thursday and 10 – 3pm on Friday.

We also have an opportunity to volunteer with our ‘Sunday Social’ group, an afternoon workshop giving opportunity for adults, from across our programmes, to socialise and make art.

In addition we would also like to recruit artists for our ‘Create’ Saturday workshop programme.  With opportunities from 10 am to 12:30pm to volunteer with our youngest artists aged 5 – 12 years and from 1pm to 4pm to support young people aged 12 - 21 years.  We also have further opportunities to volunteer with Art Matters; a designated studio time for young adults 21 – 28 years, from 4pm – 6pm.   Successful applicants should, as much as possible, be able to commit to 8 sessions, with further opportunity to extend their experience, possible.  

Finally, we have further opportunity to volunteer within our ReConnect programme, which supports artists with lived experience of mental ill health.  ReConnect supports artists to develop their individual art practices in a supported studio environment.  We would like to recruit visual artists who enjoy engaging with others and talking about art, who would like to support and contribute to our open studio. Opportunities are available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 10am – 1pm.

If you have any questions about any of our opportunities, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Tracy Gorman, our Volunteers Co-ordinator at volunteers@project-ability.co.uk

Download the application form and send it back to Tracy at the email address above by Monday 26th June.  Good Luck.

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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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