The Stove Network was chosen to present a new arts event at Wigtown Book Festival 2014.
Historically, Wigtown was an important county town. With its harbor and location at the lowest fording point of the River Bladnoch, Wigtown was at one time part of a major network of land and sea routes, including a pilgrim route to Whithorn. The layout of the town is notable for its large market square, a reflection of its importance in the cattle trade in the medieval period. Taking this history as a starting point, The Stove devised a programme that breathed life back into these trading routes.
Artist Alice Francis made her way to Wigtown by horse and cart. She started at the small village of Auchencairn, 60 miles to the east, the journey took three days, along the way Alice crafted a ‘standard’ to form the centerpiece of the parade and brought some apples from her orchard for the horse, and the jam?
Uula Jero, from Balmaclellan peddled his bike-powered furnace to Wigtown, he huffed and puffed up through the Galloway Forest Park.
A flotilla of small boats launched at Creetown Harbour by the A75. The Creetown flags were raised and New Ferry Bell rung out a celebratory peel. The boats traveled with charcoal made by children from Creetown primary.
Alice and her horse set up camp in Southfield Park (the old Showfield) close to the centre of Wigtown and was joined by Uula and the mobile foundry. The boats arrived at high tide in Wigtown harbour and made their way to Southfield Park.
A special limited edition of spoon moulds where crafted by participants, all ages and abilities had a go! Additionally there were flag making and drumming workshops, and the boats and cart were dressed with bunting, so it was a busy afternoon.
Complimentary tea and scones with freshly made jam were the fare for the day and everyone was busy brambling and boiling on the open fire. Those resting, enjoyed listening to performer Moxie DePaulitte compose the ballad that immortalized the day?
Finally a procession round to the town centre began. The parade included: horses and carts, boats, flags, drumming and a travelling foundry.
After the parade, at the corner of the town hall, smelting with the mobile bicycle foundry, fueled by charcoal from Creetown took place. The moulds were cast to reveal spoons to treasure and take home. A little nod to Billy Marshall the king of the gypsies who lived to 120 and has crossed spoons on his gravestone, “May you never go hungry” to one and all. There seemed to be plenty of jam and dampers to go round too!
A surprise spoon dance performance closed Trading Journeys ’14.