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Craftivism at The Stove


Every Wednesday during November, The Stove is running a series of ‘craftivism’ stitch in’s. These are drop in events running from 5-8pm, anyone is welcome whether you come with craft skills of your own or whether you’d like to learn some basic techniques in a friendly and open environment (we have cake!).

What is Craftivism?

Craftivism is a form of ‘slow-activism’, sharing crafting skills in a social space, inviting discussion and reflection whilst making – engaging in the time consuming processes of stitching and making. It is a growing movement of crafters and open-minded people, looking to create new ways of exchange and discussion on issues and topics that we hope to share with others. Come along for a blether, a cup of tea and help contribute towards some of the projects we are currently working on. These sessions are self-led but with plenty of support from our Herald Moxie, and craftivist Joy Cheroukai.


Why Now?

The Stove is participating in ArtCOP, an international cultural programme that coincides with this years Paris Climate Conference (also known as the COP21) in December. We are looking for new ways to talk about the environment and the constantly changing nature of our world – what is changing for Dumfries and Galloway? What does anyone mean about climate change? Do we need a new language for talking about global climate issues? What has Dumfries got to do with it?


Our craftivism group is working towards two projects:

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve is a national campaign from the Craftivist Collective and the Climate Coalition, and asks everyone to think about the things they are passionate about – and in turn, how they could be affected by changing climates and rising temperatures.

The Stop Climate Chaos Rally is on the 28th of November, Scotland’s Climate March will take place in Edinburgh. The Stove has been invited by the Crichton Carbon Centre to join their bus to take part in the rally, and stitchers and makers at our Craftivism sessions are working towards a large banner that can be carried in the march, made up of smaller patterns and designs using unwanted fabrics.

We will be having an intensive banner making weekend before the rally on the 21st and 22nd of November.

If you would like a place on the bus (travel expenses covered by The Stove), please get in touch as we have limited spaces [email protected]


Drop by any Wednesday evening to find out more, or speak to Moxie on our Stove Herald facebook page


Feedback – it’s a real thing

From Moxie DePaulitte – The Stove Herald

Throughout the year, we like to make sure we keep in touch with all our members and ensure that everyone has chance to easily express their hopes, wants and needs relating to the development of The Stove and joint creation of a better Dumfries. Whether that be more formally at the members ‘Housewarming’ event; ‘Cultural Wayfinding’ sessions; via Tea with Moxie (yep, that’s still going if you want a natter and a cuppa!); at drop in sessions; during live events; the speechbubbles project; or just casual encounters in the street: the core team are keen to hear thoughts, suggestions and ideas on how to take things forward.

Moxie at work at Guid Nychburris
Moxie at work at Guid Nychburris

The Stove has really blossomed since opening its High Street doors earlier in the year and there are lots more exciting adventure on the horizon so here is just a quick recap of the kind of things you were asking for and what we’ve done by way of response.

Spoken Word and creative writing was very high on people’s agenda and an increase in events was suggested by many. April saw Open Mouth blast onto the scene with Sarah Indigo and Eryl Shields leading performance and creation workshops with school students during the day. The success of this has led to Brave New Words being developed into a regular Open Mic night at The Stove, the next of which is this coming Friday October 30th, and is open to all (musical or spoken word, Brave New Words is open to all original writing). In the run up to Christmas, various other word based events are planned, including Wagtongues Pop Up Bookshop at the end of November and there is an open-call out for new writing for exciting art installations in the closes of the town.

Brave New Words - poetry slam September 18th 2015
Brave New Words – poetry slam September 18th 2015

A number of conversations around food were sparked at the Housewarming event, perhaps sparked by the delicious Chai Tea made by Open Jar and the Bannocks baking on the open fire in the square! People were keen to harness the power of nourishment in all its senses, suggesting gatherings; gardening experiments where people could come to learn how to grown and learn how to cook seasonal produce; cup return schemes for our café and film evenings and talks linked to food and produce. We’ve also been in talks regarding community gardens, rewilding, and working with groups around the region to provide a chance to explore the lines where the act of growing becomes art.

The amazing Alic Thompson from Social Bite talking food and social enterprise at The Stove (
The amazing Alice Thompson from Social Bite talking food and social enterprise at The Stove (

The latter was explored during our recent film season at The Stove where films such as Moo Man, Vanishing of The Bees, and The Lunchbox were accompanied by wonderful talks and equally wonderful tasty, relevant treats.

We also had an incredible talk by Alice from Social Bite who shared their journey from scratch to building an amazing network of Sandwich shops which help the homeless back on their feet and into work.

Work has started on The Stove Café which will provide a vibrant meeting place in the heart of Dumfries and a base for further creative exploration of how we think about, grow, distribute and cook food. The tender was won by Angela and Colin Green and we are very excited to see what this new development brings.

Stove members at Housewarming talking about ideas for the future
Stove members at Housewarming talking about ideas for the future

We are really keen to hear from people who might like to host groups in the early evening (for example we have a regular Craftivism (Creative Activism) workshop beginning on October 28th) which will encourage people to linger a little longer once the shops have closed, and build on our commitment to breathe new life back into the town centre.

The Craftivism workshops also touch on a couple of other points raised by members. It became apparent that people were keen to form Skill Sharing groups and to engage in Mindfulness initiatives. Craftivism encourages both and we hope will be the catalyst for other Skill Sharing/Skill Swap events to be born.

It was suggested we take ‘The Stove’ outwith the building and do more projects around the region. One such project involved The Young Stove working with a group of school aged children in the woods near New Galloway where they ran a workshop called Survival Art School and then showed the youngsters around their own show at Gatehouse of Fleet., another was the co-production of EAFS; a wonderful Off Grid Adventure in the grounds of Morton Castle that, amongst many other magical things, encouraged the sharing of food as a point of human contact and engagement, calling on that primal need to break down modern social barriers and open up a world of friendship and communication around shared nourishment.

Rajasthan heritage Brass Band at The Stove
Rajasthan heritage Brass Band at The Stove

People asked for Drumming and what a line up we gave them! Not only did we fill the day with the incredible Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band, who brought huge smiles to everyone they encountered, but then an evening which gave way to a spectacular workshop with local drumming groups which brought the community together in a loud and joy filled way.
Thinking of the future vision, in addition to calls for giant water slides, segways instead of Orange Bike Schemes, permanent Block Parties, Adult Ball Pits and Drive in Cinemas, it was clear people wanted to feel the love coming back into the town centre.

Phrases like:

“Let’s celebrate what we have and what we can be rather than focusing on what we don’t. We are a vibrant town with vision. Work together to make it happen.”

“Keeping Dumfries’ heritage but being more upbeat and welcoming to new things”

“Convert dead shops into flats = get people back into town.”

“Use empty shops as art galleries/installations – artists get work shown, town gets colourful, vibrant art instead of empty shops full of litter.”

have been repeated in various forms and, although a little less exciting than gigantic bowling alleys made of foam, are a little more tangible and form a good starting place for change.
It’s obvious that the regeneration has already begun with many people commenting on what a positive difference having The Stove present on the High Street has already had but there is, clearly, much more to be done.

We had some great public sessions working with Lateral North to discover how interventions and Cultural Wayfinding could help develop Dumfries, help her be more welcoming, and make it easier (and more exciting) to navigate, just as it has in other towns; and there’s more of that to come with an event surrounding Norway House next month.The building itself has had a wide range of personalities since its birth. It’s provided a messy space for The Young Stove and other artists, been an exhibition space for a range of artists, housed workshops, meetings, gatherings and music gigs. It’s welcomed a wide range of people through its doors from immensely varied walks of life, and that makes us very proud. It’s also become an ideas exchange, a place where people can come to give inspiration and take it, to bring ideas and help them grow.

Radio DMC
Radio DMC

Music has been another hot topic for members and the public and we have been growing a Music strand since The Stove began through our Dumfries Music Conference – since 100 High Street has been open this has continued to blossom through partnerships with other local music groups, such as Small Town Sounds, Music Plus and Electric Fields. These partnerships have led to great gigs showcasing local talent such as Rudi Zygadlo, MØGEN and Mark Lyken. You can even learn guitar at The Stove now with guitar teacher David Bass.

Other things that have come up in chats include:

  • Partnerships with the Crichton Campus – exciting news on that next February
  • Fast Public Broadband – big up to Ailsa for making The Stove the first business with fibre-optic broadband in the town centre
  • Space for screenprinting – we’re supporting Upland and Maklab in trying to start a facility at Maklabs premises on the High Street
  • Classes in IT and Film Editing – our digital making suite will be taking bookings soon…watch this space
  • Support for research projects into Environmental Issues – Stove was the base for the recent Environmental Art Festival Scotland and watch out for ArtCOP Scotland @ The Stove in early December
  • More for young people in the town – the Young Stove continues to flourish and is integrated into just about everything we now do
  • Be part of making Dumfries better – The Stove continues to be a place that people come to debate and take positive action for the town…we are taking an active part in the current debate about the Whitesands and there is exciting news coming up about major improvements to the High Street.
'Not to Be Sold Separately' an exhibition by Young Stove
‘Not to Be Sold Separately’ an exhibition by Young Stove

So, let us know what you think. Book in with Moxie for a cuppa, send an email or drop our Herald a line on Facebook. The Stove is ever evolving and its quiet energy is building all the time; so get in touch and let’s see how we can sail together into the next phase.

PS if you are ever wondering what is going on at The Stove then please check our Events Calendar – here or to check back over what has been going on our Blog – here


Ode to a Moody Cow

From Moxie de Paulitte

Nith Raid (65)

She can be a moody cow
This town of ours.
Swinging between
Udderly lovely and
Udderly unbearable
Just as her unmarked udders
Back and forth
Almost clanking
Like a long forgotten souvenir Swiss bell.
Heave with untapped potential.
Nostalgic for a time long gone,
That was never really there,
endless sunny days
And sweet pasture.
Of not having to lock front doors
And Tender Loving Care,
Where the milk of human kindness flowed abundant
And you knew the names of all your neighbours.

Moody she may be
But her mind is open
As she stands by the river
sniffing the air
And smiling at the head scent of a
On the

She welcomes the change,
This moody cow.
happy that her milk,
can nourish.
Her wisdom valued
Just filtered different.
No longer weighted down
By burdens of her own making.

The sun returns
Igniting hope
Flooding dark,
moody corners.
And she can flourish in its glow.
this Moody Cow
This town of ours.

A tide turned.
Goodbyes waved.
Missions accomplished.

Nithraid was concieved as a public artwork to activate the riverside in Dumfries in the summer of 2013, and bring new focus and people down to celebrate the Nith. Now in it’s third year Dumfries is preparing to welcome sailors up river to the heart of the town when Nithraid 2015 will sail into town on Sunday, 2nd of August. Nithraid is free and open to all to attend, and last year saw crowds of 4,000 lining the banks to watch the winning boats cross the finish line. Find out more about this years Nithraid here

The discussion is open, and we invite contributions to our artistic conversations – whether you have been involved in Nithraid in previous years, are interested in the changing face of public art and when a sailing race is also an artwork, please get in touch via the comments box below or to send your contribution please email [email protected]

Image: Nithraid 2013. Tom Telfer.


Stove Member Profile: Denise Zygadlo

Following on from Tea with Moxie, our  herald, she has become interested in the many different kinds of members in The Stove Network. She’s been catching up with and speaking to various members, and we’ll be introducing one every Friday over the next wee while. Interested in chatting to Moxie? You can get in touch with her on The Stove Herald facebook page here or by email.

This week Moxie has been speaking to Denise Zygadlo.

Denise has lived in Dumfries since 1980, moving from London with her husband to start a cabinet making business and bring up 4 children. As the children grew she gradually returned to her artwork, beginning with running art classes and community projects, making quilts and wall-hangings (e.g. 1996 Thornhill quilt hanging in Thomas Tosh.)

Having studied printed textiles at Winchester art school, her interest is in printing and cloth, and she has developed her own practice, focussing on drawing and looking at the relationship between the human body and cloth, through the use of the photocopied image and transfer-printing onto fabric.

Her work has been exhibited in Glasgow, Edinburgh and in ‘Affordable Art’ shows around the country and abroad and she has had 2 solo shows in The Mill on the Fleet and Gracefield Arts Centre.

Portrait of an Artist – a short film by Jo Hodges and Roger Lever

Did your life take an unexpected direction?

Suddenly finding myself saying “further education in art” when asked about career moves at school. Finding myself moving to Scotland. Finding out I was pregnant with our forth child and singing with him 23 years later on his first album. Becoming part of the psychology dept in Dumfries. Being a mushroom on wheels with Oceanallover. And lots more

What is your greatest fear?

Driving on an 8 lane freeway in America

Tell us about your creative process.

Looking at inspiring images, talking to inspiring people. Making notes; drawing.

What is your earliest memory?

Dressing up box.

What drew you to The Stove?

The first meeting at Parton – The energy, vision and determination of the core group and the excitement of it all happening in Dumfries.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 11.49.27

Share your hope and dreams for The Stove?

That it becomes a place that everyone feels comfortable visiting and enjoying.

What keeps you in and around Dumfries?

Family; friends; landscape; art opportunities and support.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?


What’s been the most exciting part of the Stove Process for you?

Seeing the activities they create and put on outside in the centre of town where everyone can get involved.

What makes you feel alive?


What songs do you carry closest to your heart?

Ella Fitzgerald songs and stuff by my son Rudi and ‘Loving you’ by Minnie Ripperton.


What’s your role within The Stove organisation?

Ordinary member that likes to get involved.

How would you like to be remembered?


What’s the best piece of advice you have ever got?

Let go.

What’s your dream for the arts in D&G?

That it continues to grow in all directions as it seems to be doing now.


Stove Member Profile: Mark Lyken

Following on from Tea with Moxie, our  herald, she has become interested in the many different kinds of members in The Stove Network. She’s been catching up with and speaking to various members, and we’ll be introducing one every Friday over the next wee while. Interested in chatting to Moxie? You can get in touch with her on The Stove Herald facebook page here or by email.

First up this week, is Mark Lyken!

Mark Lyken (1973) is an audio & visual artist. He creates musical and sound pieces, film, paintings and installations. His recent residency work has explored relationships to place and the complex interactions between nature, industry and culture. He is particularly interested in revealing the musicality of the environment and regularly collaborates with other artists and specialists from different research fields. In 2014 Lyken and Emma Dove established the Glasgow based Art label, ‘Soft Error’. Mark is also a Cryptic Associate Artist.

Tell us about your creative process.

It’s a process of gathering, layering, refining and removing, I think that holds true for if I’m painting, making music or working in film. Our work over the last three years has had high levels of public engagement which is a new development, particularly for me as my default mode is hermit!

Working collaboratively with Emma over the last few years has been a real eye opener, we make work together that neither of us would make apart. It’s quite an odd thing and one that we are wary of questioning too much in case it stops working!  You each have a voice but combined it’s something more than the sum of its parts.

What drew you to The Stove?

I genuinely believe they are making a real difference and I think the way they present themselves is pitch perfect. The residency seemed like an excellent way to continue a line of work we are interested in ie: relationships to place but in a completely new location that was culturally and geographically unfamiliar to us. We knew that we would have to move down to D&G lock, stock as we would have struggled to get under the skin of the place if we hadn’t been living down here.  6 months is a very short time to be in a place and any work created in that time can only ever be a snapshot but I imagine this work will be part of a larger whole. We’re not in any hurry to rush away.

What time of the day do you like most?

Between 7 and 9am. I find that a super productive time. If we are filming, that “Golden Hour” before Sunset can be very magical.

Which films changed your life?

Tarkovsky’s Solaris, Blade Runner and Clerks. For widely different reasons but all made me want to become involved in film making in some way.


What keeps you in and around Dumfries?

Well at the moment, Emma and I are completing a 6 month residency with the Stove, we had assumed we would head back to Glasgow afterwards but are becoming gradually seduced by the region.

What songs do you carry closest to your heart?

It’s an album and it’s called “Raining” by Rolf Julius. Rolf was a sound and visual artist from Berlin, who unfortunately passed away in 2011.

It’s a very simple record, I think it may have been part of an installation originally. It’s nothing more than field recordings of rain with some very subtle electronics. His concept of “Small Music” and the overall aesthetic really speaks to me. Another one is a series of pieces called “The Disintegration Loops” by William Basinski. It’s one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

The story is Basinski set out to digitise old magnetic tape loops he had. He loaded up the loops, set them playing and hit record, gradually over the course of 40 or 50 minutes the tape literally disintegrated as it repeatedly passed the play head, the sound becomes gradually more distorted and has bigger and bigger gaps until there is nothing left to play at all. It’s hypnotic.

Actually you should link to one of them here

Who, from throughout history, would you like to sit and have a good chat with?

Andrei Tarkovsky, although I would need a translator as my Russian is pretty bad.


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I came runner up in a Star Wars short story writing competition in 1982 and received a letter of congratulations from C3PO and a Chief Chirpa figure.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever got?

Show don’t tell.

What’s your role within The Stove organisation?

At the moment I’m an artist in residence along with Emma Dove. Beyond that I hope to rent a studio space within the new Stove building and use that as a base for upcoming projects. I find The Stove a really exciting organisation and imagine the relationship will continue.

Tell us your passion:

Modular Synthesisers.

Read more about Mark and Emma Dove’s collaborative residency project HAME, which is part of the Stove’s Open House here


The Stove’s Herald!

A while back we put out an opportunity for something called a ‘Public Communicator and Herald’ – We had a strong sense of the spirit of the role, but found it very hard to describe exactly so the selection process was a very 2-way process. After much conversation and inspiration from all involved in the process, Ladies and Gentlemen we are very proud to announce that our Herald is Moxie DePaulitte!

Hello there, I’m Moxie and I’m delighted to be able to introduce myself as The Stove’s newly appointed Public Communicator and Herald which, at the risk of sounding like a Valley Girl, is just like, totally, you know, the coolest job title ev-ah.

I’ve been asked to write a short post introducing myself but, although I’m really good at talking about other things, I’m really don’t excel at saying things about myself so I enlisted the help of my four year old. This is what she said:

“She is nice and cuddly and warm. And she has a really nice job. She do some importment stuff and she always loves me and she always does nice stuff for us. And she uses all her money up for food for us. Her name is Moxie she does some pretty good stuff. Can I go back in the paddling pool now, please?”

So there you have it; a definitive guide to me, my work and my new role.

I think she’s pretty much covered everything but, just in case any of you aren’t fluent in Preschooleeze, I’ll translate…I’ve been involved in the arts for as long as I can remember and love the passion, power and opportunities the creative process stirs up. Sadly, however, art works are frequently just presented to us and the glory and excitement of this process is missed because we don’t know the why, the what, and the wow.
A lot goes on behind the scenes and, when a group is so absorbed in a project, it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows the back story; the reasons and the nuances behind a piece. It’s not transparent. So, this is where I come in: Part of my role is to help more people become aware of and involved in that very process; to make sure everyone understands what’s going on and that the cogs are visible as they’re turning.
The lovely people at The Stove know it can often feel like events go on around us and happen to us rather than with us and for us and they would very much like that to change.

On funding bids they probably call it ‘Building Stronger Community Relationships’ but, luckily for me, that translates as ‘meeting up with people for a cup of tea, chin wag and a biscuit’, so get in touch! Share with me your ideas and questions; I’ll be delighted to talk them through with you. Let’s see how we can get you involved.

email me [email protected] and I’ll get back to you.

Be part of something brilliant. You really can help shape Dumfries into the town you know it can be.

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