Collecting stories, collating conversations and rekindling old friendships
"The Ladysbridge Stories project continues to gather momentum as more ex-patients and staff come forward with memories to share and stories to tell.
We were delighted that so many familiar faces joined us once again at the C-Change offices in Aberdeen and that ex-staff members’ Alastair Minty and Jim Cook popped in to contribute to the session. The BBC also dropped by to hear what we’re up to!
Throughout the project we’ve been collecting imagery and building a picture, through writing, drawing and storytelling, which illustrates the day to day life at Ladysbridge Hospital. We’ve continued to map the site, designing a key of symbols which represent all areas of this remote hospital, from the kitchens and briquette shed to the farms and fields, the flora and fauna.
The sessions are industrious and conversation lively. Some of the stories are moving and often difficult to tell but many are also funny and heart-warming.
It’s so good to see old friendships lost with the closure of Ladysbridge hospital being rekindled through the Ladysbridge Stories project."
-Sharon Quigley, Project Ability tutor
The final Ladysbridge Stories workshop will take place on thursday 22 March in C-Change Aberdeen.
"Hard to believe that Project Ability artist Jonathan McKinstry and I are half way through this eight week project at the Douglas Centre, Dundee. Time seems to have hurtled by as the group has embraced each session with a real enthusiasm and produced some lively artwork.
We have continued to introduce ideas around playful mark making, like painting with edges of card instead of brushes. Jonathan had described to the group this technique he had seen in a film whereby a surface layer of paint can be scratched into to reveal a contrasting ground colour underneath – otherwise known as sgraffito !
The Dundee Artists tested these methods out using silhouetted images and a bit more drawing from observation."
-Meredith Crone, Project Ability Tutor
The two artists met up twice already, familiarising themselves with each other's work and discussing how their respective practices can feed this collaboration.
Cameron showed Gregor some of his work currently in our gallery and in our shop, and they then went to Wright's studio near Trongate 103.
We are very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the next ten weeks!
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.
Our Shop Item of the Week takes a break for our dolls exhibition to introduce you to one of Scott Smith's newest prints, 'Orange Fox'! Scott Smith's talent for drawing animals and birds has no end - the simplicity in his line work captures the very essence of whatever beastie he is working on; always with the added charm and character that is unique to a Scott Smith artwork. We can't get enough of his most recent round of wild beasties. We're introducing the Orange Fox today but we also have squirrels, elephants, tigers, baboons and more. For today though we have added this little guy to our online shop at only £25!
Artwork of the Week and Doll of the Day is this cobalt blue ceramic bust by Dumitra Keogh. 'Miss' has traveled to the Project Ability all the way from Ireland to be part of our 'can't take my eyes off you' exhibition. We are delighted to welcome 'Miss' in to the gallery and invite you to come by and say hello! Along with 'Miss' we have over 70 artworks all about the doll. It is a show not to be missed. Up in our main gallery at Trongate 103 until February 24th!
January 2018 saw the beginning of a new project for Project Ability artist Jonathan McKinstry, myself and a group of nine service users of the Douglas Community Centre, Dundee. At the end of January we embarked on an eight week course of Visual Art Workshops.
The first two of these took the form of playing with different media and exploring possibilities. In the first week participants drew and painted with combinations of handmade and professional artist’s tools and implements. There was a bit of drawing from observation and plenty of use of the imagination.
The second week involved some more beautiful mark making, but this time in the form of monoprints.
We will continue to explore techniques over the coming weeks and as we get to know one another I suspect some folk may get hooked on certain art media and wish to delve deeper !
Two Project Ability tutors, Consuelo and Celine, have been going along to The Happy Club in Easterhouse for the past couple of weeks. The Happy Club is an ongoing evening club for young people with autism and their parents and these were the start of a six week series of workshops with the two tutors.
Consuelo has been working with the group for quite some time already, but for Celine it was the first time she had been along.
'The art workshop is just one of the activities available to the young people. There's some stiff competition from the computers but there are quite a few budding young artists who have joined us and been very focused in making some wonderful artwork.
The first couple of weeks we have been experimenting with printmaking and we plan to do some work with clay and textiles for the rest of the sessions. As you can see from the photographs, there has been an explosion of colour and creativity so far!
Our newest artist in residence started last Thursday, and has already settled perfectly in the studios. Previously based in London, Sarah Kudirka has recently moved to Glasgow, and is using the residency to further her cityscape polaroid project. A great way to discover a new city!
"I am working on a big series of paintings about walking and looking up at the sky squeezed in between tall buildings: a simple idea but a compelling project. Each image is made over a Polaroid snap I’ve taken in a city where I live, work or travel. Since starting this project in 2012 I’ve made hundreds of vivid images that have been recognised as “beautiful and accessible” and “highly innovative”.
Sarah aims to make 100 polaroid paintings of cityscapes from the city centre during her time at project Ability, as well as work on canvas. You can follow her progress on our residency instagram @PA_Research_Residency
Our Shop Item of the Week features one of the selection of ceramic masks made in our Aspire workshops for the dolls exhibiiton, can't take my eyes off you. This mask has been made by Project Ability artist Robert Cornish, and has a subtle beauty and elegance to it. There's something quite strangely life-like in the tones of the glazing of this mask. It is intriguing to look at, and has been made ready to hang on the wall. This is just one of several ceramic masks in our galler shop just now, all for sale at £25 each. You can also find it in our online shop! You can see them all when you come to visit the show. It is up until February 24th!
Our Artwork of the Week and Doll of the Day features eight little peg people! Edward Henry made four warriors and four monks for the 'can't take my eyes off you' exhibition currently up in our gallery at Trongate 103. Henry has borrowed this clever technique and made it all his own. There is so much character and charm in the simplicity of these artworks. Henry has a fascination with other cultures, and explores his curiousity through his art. These Maasai Warriors and Tibetan Monks are the artist's most recent look into another world. Come by to see the show, it's up until February 24th!
Last Wednesday, January the 24th, the walking group headed out to Platform to visit a very interesting exhibition by Helen de Main and the women of the Platform knitting group.
Inspired by the Conscious Raising groups of the 1960's the show uses photos and text based on themes explored through conversation with the group. Childhood, motherhood and expected female roles were a main topic of discussion and the women shared old photographs of themselves in childhood or with their families.
The exhibition is split into two sections; You Know, Things Like That takes the photographs and blows them up covering them in pastel print of knitting patterns reflecting the group's purpose to meet and knit.
Inbetween the photos are exherts of text from conversations that took place, they reflect the topics explored and are all in pale tone to match the photos.
What's Expected follows one woman's childhood and uses photos printed into glass that project onto the wall behind. The woman in question happens to be Project Ability artist, Foxy, and it was a pleasure to see her work from outside of our studios.
Helen de Main works at Project Ability one day a week on developing enterprise projects such as the recent, very successful pop-up shops.
For the past few months, Cameron Morgan and Glasgow-based artist Charlie Hammond have been meeting every week for their collaborative residency. The pair got to know each other's work and to create a series of prints inspired by Charlie's matchbox collection.
"I liked working with Charlie very, very much – he has a good sense of humour, is a lot of fun, and has a really good nature. I really enjoyed myself’ said Morgan.
The residency, which ended last week, resulted in an impressive body of work.
"Working together with Cameron has been a joy", Hammond said. "Like many good collaborations we started with no clear direction but found our way through action, the work itself the result of these ongoing and very natural conversations.
Cameron’s energy is infectious (though a few more tea breaks wouldn’t hurt!) and his ability to translate the essence of an object into a direct and playful drawing or ceramic allowed us to progress quickly, screen-printing layer upon layer and developing the works far beyond our initial thoughts.
Not only have we ended up with a great body of work but also a great friendship."
Cameron and Charlie's work will be on display in our gallery in a short exhibition in early April.
"My name is Drew Walker and here is a summary of my experience in Project Ability in January 2018.
My week-long short residency at Project Ability revealed to me a place where there was great respect and a dignified approach towards people working as artists with backgrounds of mental illness, learning difficulties or physical disabilities. However, these do not hinder or impact upon the creatively enriching experience, which exists within the shared working space of Project Ability, where the immense variety of talent and creative process surrounding me was amazing to witness.
I contributed to my short residency as an artist who experiences mental illness and a PhD researcher who is looking into art-process, mental illness and recovery. So, I divided my time to do the following:
1. To observe the working processes of the artists working in the Reconnect, Aspire and Create spaces and their engagement and interactions with staff and volunteers.
2. To understand what provision and structure was deployed in the delivery of activities.
3. To bring my own art practice into the Reconnect space, using a collaborative method of creativity.
I began my experience by observing, photographing and talking to staff, volunteers and artists. I had decided to create one of my ‘dead-wooded’ creatures, a staple symbol of my art practice and an integral part my process. The ‘dead-wooded’ stag represents my own recovery process from mental illness. As my art practice parallels and enriches my research, I wanted to share both aspects during my week. My goal was to create a portrait of Project Ability using the language of those in the Reconnect, Create and Aspire spaces.
Conversations occurred naturally whilst I was working and I decided to use some of those words and phrases, placing them on the sculpture of the stag. I wanted to reflect the artists’ thoughts as people, at the core of it all. The stag was painted white and the lettering in a variety of colours.
A few days into my residency, my dad who is my artistic collaborator and who accompanied me at Project Ability, spoke to me about the idea of accompanying the wooded stag with found material from Glasgow. Seizing upon this notion, we found two disused damaged yellow traffic cones in the nearby vicinity of the Glasgow Green. We painted them and transformed them into sculptural pieces to enhance and draw attention to the stag.
Making my art was only one part of the story during my residency, but it did provide the nexus for many insightful conversations and interactions with those who were curious about the stag. I immediately found a connection with the other artists and the staff in the space, feeling very welcome. I was greatly impressed by the sheer variety, resources and freedom found within Project Ability through the engaging activities of Aspire, Reconnect and Create. I understood that the space is a lifeline for some and a platform for every participant, by being together whilst creating art. I found the approach of valuing artists’ work, providing opportunities for exhibiting and potentially selling pieces to be crucial to the humane attitude in Project Ability. Here, the people are acknowledged as artists. They are not labels or categories of people with various diagnoses. The respect I noticed in the atmosphere showed that clearly.
I sincerely hope that in the future more places like Project Ability emerge, providing spaces for the therapeutic process of making art, whilst not being isolated or in a clinical setting. It’s a safe, friendly environment that puts the individual first. There should be a ‘Project Ability’ in every city and town. I know that had there been similar provision for me during my early stages of recovery. I would have greatly appreciated and benefited being in such a place.
Thank you to everybody in Project Ability for making my short residency so rich and inspiring. I would love to come back."
Shop Item of the Week time! This week we bring you this super sweet greeting card designed with Michael McMullen's 'Indian Puppet Dolls' from the exhibition 'can't take my eyes off you'. This quirky card is a great way to say hello and let someone know you're thinking of them. And it could be perfect for Valentine's Day! This little piece of merchandise has been made especially for our dolls exhibition, and there are only 20 left. You can purchase one from our online shop or in our gallery shop at Trongate 103. Come by and check out the show, you can see Michael McMullen's Indian Puppet Dolls and so many more!
Artwork of the Week features our Doll of the Day - 'Doll' by Sandra Ormiston. We love this doll and her 80's glamour! If you haven't been to visit our latest show, 'can't take my eyes off you', there's still plenty of time. We've got 60 artists on show, a mix of artists working in support studios and emerging and established artists working independantly. You can read more about the show here. If you'd like to see more of Sandra Ormiston's artworks, please follow this link. 'Can't take my eyes off you' is up in the Project Ability gallery at Trongate 103 until February 24th!
We are delighted to announce our support for PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave the first British women the right to vote.
PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm, as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.
PROCESSIONS will invite women and girls across the UK to come together on the streets of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London on Sunday 10 June 2018 to mark this historic moment in a living, moving portrait of women in the 21st century.
Project Ability is one of 100 organisations working with women artists up and down the country in the lead-up to the event, as part of an extensive public programme of creative workshops to create 100 centenary banners which will form part of this vast artwork.
The banner-making workshops will focus on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign and will be spaces to consider the power of the vote today and our shared future. The banners made will represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds.
A group of women from our ReConnect and Aspire programmes will work with tutor Sandi Kiehlmann over the coming months.
Helen Marriage, CEO Artichoke said:
“The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including XXX, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork. What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday 10th of June will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”
PROCESSIONS is commissioned by 14-18 NOW and produced by Artichoke. With support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
(Image taken from http://www.processions.co.uk)
Thanks to the enthusiastic response of participants and their willingness to share their stories, we had yet another great session in Aberdeen. There were some new faces amongst the group which was great!
In the morning session we discussed the idea of creating a map that references the history of the site, the wards and individual memories attached to them. We already had prepared an outline of the map which we put up on the wall to discuss how we can populate it. One thing we were quite keen on working together was the map key. Using certain locations like the farm, gardens, patients training area, we asked the participants to help us create a visual representations for these locations. Charles made a fantastic collage for the patients training area. Others have made great drawings of animals that were found within the grounds.
After lunch we worked a little bit more on the map’s key drawing, and dwelled more into people’s memories, making lists of things people would like to add onto the map. In the afternoon we also had a visit from Alastair Minty who had worked in ladysbridge hospital in the late 80's. Most of the participants knew Alastair very well and were very keen to talk to him. Davie has prepared questions for him and we did a great round table interview / discussion with Alastair. This has been a fantastic opportunity for the ex patients to share their side of the story and ask questions. Also a great opportunity to find out more about the work Alastair has been doing over the years and how his time at ladysbridge hospital affected his career.
The next workshops will be on Thursday 15th February in C-Change Aberdeen.
Shop Item of the Week features this Rock n' Roll style cushion designed by Tommy Kemp. Made from crushed velvet fabric, this cushion measures 42cm x 30cm and can be purchased from our online shop or gallery shop for £25! It's a one-off so no chance of spotting the same design on anyone else's sofa. We've got a variety of cushions in our Trongate 103 gallery shop at the moment, all made from drawings and paintings by Project Ability artists. Support us and the artists that work here by popping into the gallery & shop or having a look at our online shop!
We're very excited to announce our Artwork of the Week, ahead of the opening of 'can't take my eyes off you' this coming Saturday! Margaret McInnes has painted this lovely Matroyshka doll for the show. Using a colour palette all her own, McInnes has exquisitely drafted this composition and included every last detail of these charming dolls. We've got a plethora of Russian Dolls adorning the Project Ability gallery, along with a huge variety of all sorts of other dolls. It really is a must see show, with over 55 artists involved. Margaret McInnes' painting is the perfect way to get this show started! This coming Saturday, from 1-3pm we welcome artists and the public along to our Trongate 103 gallery.
Last year, the Project Ability writing group worked with artist Joanna Peace and poet Anthony Autumn to produce a podcast, which was then broadcast during the Radiophrenia festival. During the making of the podcast, Media Co-op filmed the process and made a four minute documentary about it. In it, people who’ve never made sound art before, never been on the radio before, and never made films before, reveal their own creativeprocess – with courage, frankness and humour.
Jane, a Project Ability participant said “I hate it when things are patronising; but the thing about Project Ability is, you are not there as a person who has mental health problems, with a
label over you. You are there as an artist. For me what this whole thing has been about is my work is recognised as valid. It’s not an experience I’ve often had."
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.
Action Space artist Nnena Kalu will be in residence at Project Ability in April and will make a large installation in our gallery for Glasgow International.
We are looking for large quantities of the following materials:
-old VHS videos
-offcuts of carpet or fabric
-plastic wrap, bubble wrap
If you have any of these lying about that you are not using, we will happily take it off your hands! Just get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or drop them at:
Project ability, 3rd floor, Trongate 103, Glasgow G1 5HD.
Shop Item of the Week; our last few Superheroes calendars! If you haven't picked up one up yet there is still time. We only have ten of these left, and then they are gone forever. The superhero artworks inside all come from our Superhero exhibition from 2016. You can check out some images from the exhibition here. Below are a few images from the calendar itself. You can come by our gallery shop for a look or buy one now from our online shop! Ten pounds!
Artwork of the week is 'Sunbathing in Largs' by Doreen Kay. This painting is another one that is currently on show in Mono as part of the Project Ability @ Mono exhibition. This painting was created in our Aspire workshops in 2017, and we all fell in love with it. Doreen Kay has a varied practice of painting, drawing and textile work. Often she paints herself on holiday, as is the case with this painting. The figures in the work are dramatically posed, making a striking composition. We love this painting and although it is still January, it brings hope of warmer weather and sunshine!
Shop Item of the Week brings in 2018 with this lovely Scottish landscape by David Bradley. This vibrant painting measures 24 x 37.5 and is for sale both in our gallery shop and our online shop for £40.Our gallery shop is closed until January 20th, but our online shop is always open!
Bradley has been working at Project Ability for several years and has developed a great style for painting the human figure alongside the Scottish landscape. The simplicity of forms and vibrant fresh colours are signatures of Bradley's style. Although he removes all complexities from his compositions he captures the movements of people very delicately and usually adds a bit of playful distortion to his perspective. Together these stylistic traits have made his landscape paintings quite popular in our shop. This is a one of a kind so if you're interested you can find it in our online shop or contact us if you want to see it in person first.
Our first Artwork of the Week in 2018 is this stunning drawing by Smith Scott. This simple portrayal of a large swimming pool is currently on exhibtion in Mono at King's Court in Glasgow. Just around the corner from us! We are currently showing work by nine artists working with us. Mono has been a great supported of Project Ability and the artists who work with us, and we are always excited to show work with them. If you haven't seen the show yet there's still time. The work will be on exhibit until January 14th. You can read a bit more about the show here. And if you'd like to see more of Scott Smith's artwork you can check out his artist's page here.
Our final Shop Item of the Week for 2017 is none other than this slipcast ceramic aubergine! This life sized piece of ceramics is available in four glazes; black, aubergine (pictured) green pepper marble and green marble. Slipcasting is a technique which allows the maker to create as many of their product as they like. It is especially useful for complex shapes that can't be made on a potter's wheel. You can find these aubergine in our online shop for £15 each, and also in our gallery shop at Trongate 103. We close this afternoon for the year but we'll be back in 2018!!!
Ramma Stacks, Fethaland Shetland, by JR Ewen is our Artwork of the Week. This gorgeous water colour and ink painting takes reference from the striking landmark on Shetland. Ewen, originally from Shetland, captures the raw beauty of this faraway land, and adds to it a creative interpretation with a composition of loose brush strokes with a strong but sketchy form. This painting can be seen in our gallery at Trongate 103 up until tomorrow afternoon! It is for sale as part of our Christmas show titled, 'Scotland: The Land Beneath Our Feet'. We have a lot of amazing artworks for sale, including this one, so stop in for some last minute Christmas shopping! Our gallery shop is packed full of unique gifts too.
"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."
- Ladysbridge Stories - February Workshops
- On the Road: Douglas Community Centre, Dundee
- Cameron Morgan and Gregor Wright start their collaborative partnership
- Walking Group - week 3: Maryhill Burgh Halls
- Shop Item of the Week - Orange Fox by Scott Smith
- Film & Animation
- Recruitment & Volunteering
- Trongate 103
- Walking group
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