I’ve had a change of scenery recently…
At end of last week I said cheerio to Shetland and my loved ones to head off for some new arts experiences. I was delighted to be offered a position at Scottish Sculpture Workshop as their Programme Assistant for a couple of months. I arrived on Monday and was welcomed into an energetic and inclusive team of people, there is a LOT going on here! The current group of artist in residence are just coming to the end of their stay and following that there are several projects I will be working on with the SSW team, plenty for me to get stuck into.
First and foremost SSW is a Residency space, offering practicing artists from all over the world the space and facilities to make work. I am blown away at how many people come to use SSW and the places they come from are very far reaching. The studios and workshops are situated in remote Lumsden, Aberdeenshire with a population of just 300. Now, this is actually quite a large population compared to what I am used to, for exampled Fair Isle currently only has about 60 residents!
But SSW is a very different kind of remote, it is an inland community, sitting between Aberdeen and Inverness and is very much an agricultural, forest area. Somewhat different to the islands I am used to, which are surrounded by sea and have hardly any trees at all. Lumsden is easier to access than somewhere like Fair Isle, but is most definitely still remote…just the way I like it. As an artist it allows you to switch off, focus on work and get started on that long list of ‘things-I-need-to-try-in-my-art-practice’. I’m excited to get some work started.
I’ve got plenty to keep me going in my position as Programme Assistant, but it is so interesting to see the work that other artists are making while here. There are currently sculptors, printmakers, jewellers and writers all making very different work.
I was excited to see my first iron-pour this week. The technicians took several days to prepare the materials and tools they needed to complete this pour and it was all building to the moment of forming the pieces for the artists involved. Observing the skill and confidence in pouring molten metal was exhilarating, it appeared to be an act so full of stress, energy and excitement.
I really must try some metal work while I’m here, a great opportunity for me to learn some new skills and techniques. I’m eager to make use of the technicians’ vast knowledge.
As my first week here draws to a close and I feel myself settling in, I am starting to look to my sorrounding environment and colleagues for inspiration. I really am excited but the ethos of SSW and how their work really revolves around community, sustainability and supporting artists.
“SSW is a making and thinking facility offering the time, space, support and facilities to artists from all backgrounds to develop their practice, with an emphasis on experimentation and exploration of sculpture within the expanded field.”
“Through a series of curated projects, collaboration and skill exchanges between visual artists, local specialists and the wider North East community, SSW promotes a dialogue that considers our rural locale within a globalised society..”
During my time here I will also be writing for the SSW blog, so please give it a follow and you can see what is all going on here in Lumsden – https://scottishsculptureworkshop.wordpress.com