Our current Blueprint100 team, Jordan Chisholm, Kyna Hodges, Claire Bell and Blossom McCuaig are all coming up to the end of their year with us and we’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the team for all of their contributions this past year. It has been an incredible 12 months working with Jordan, Claire, Blossom and Kyna and we’re excited to see what the future holds for these talented individuals.
The current team have been reflecting on their time with the Stove and are sharing their highlights, their triumphs and what they have learned on their year-long journey with us.
After a 4 week university placement at The Stove, Jordan joined the Blueprint100 team in August 2018 for an initial 6 months and continued for a further year with the new Curatorial Team. Jordan’s practice stems from both an interest in care and a performance art background and is deeply rooted in having conversations.
“My time with blueprint100 and The Stove Network has been incredible. It has been testing, eye-opening, uncomfortable, safe, uplifting and warm. I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime, to try and fail and try again and get some things right whilst learning how to respond to the things that don’t go how you once wanted them to.
Some highlights, for me, were being given the lead artist role for the Nithraid 2019 Salty Coo Parade; this project allowed me the opportunity to pay many young artists to contribute to this day (some from my own uni class, which felt liberating!)”
Claire joined the Blueprint team last year after hosting a series of Life Drawing classes as part of the Blueprint100 regular programme of activity. Claire’s creative practice is grounded in drawing and mark making, as she observes, captures and plays with these to uncover the hidden patterns and connections within.
“A big part of my experience, for me, has been the huge amount of varied learning experiences I have had; through getting involved with a great variety of events and activity. There was Nithraid, in which I assisted the running of workshops such as flag making, as well as making costumes for the procession, which I also took part in through the town centre. Other events I’ve contributed in both big and small ways, are: Drawing Queer, Behavin? Festival, Mental Health Week and our monthly ‘Open Studio’. Although brilliantly varied, this work was very different to previous experience I had had. I felt at times that my overall ‘journey’ lacked focus, however, I ultimately found such value in not thinking too much about ‘is this exactly what I want to be doing’ but just doing it anyway. I encountered so many interesting moments along the way and learned much more than I ever would have by staying with what I already knew.”
Blog Post from Community Artist and Stovie Kirsty Turpie
Growing up in the small town of Lockerbie, I was surrounded by a great sense of community. Some of my favourite memories include going along to coffee mornings in the town hall with friendly faces serving tea and cakes, doing arts and crafs at Brownies and playing board games at the youth club. All of these experiences gave me a sense of belonging and connectedness. When I began volunteering and working with Creative Futures in Lochside in Lincluden I quickly began to feel this sense of community once again and it is this feeling that made the experience of working for the project so exciting and unforgettable. Over the two and half years that I worked there, the project became increasingly integral to providing opportunities and events to allow the coming together of the communities in North West Dumfries. I was proud to be a part of it and to be the one that was now helping to provide the type of events and activities that I once loved as a kid.
One of my highlights event wise was the two day Hell’s Kitchen Masterchef challenge in 2018 as it got young and old involved and allowed the public to come and share in the experience at the fnale meal on the Saturday night. The challenge was launched at Summerhill Community Centre in June by Scotland’s national chef and TV personality Gary MacLean. Teams of six were urged to sign up for cooking challenges over the summer with the fnal two day challenge including a master class by Gary MacLean. It took some time to motivate the community to sign up to a team but the perseverance was worth it as so much fun was had at the challenge.
On the Friday night teams were invited to Lochside Community Centre for the canapé challenge. There was a table of ingredients and a list of canapés they could make. Local MP Emma Harper joined the line up of judges and all of the teams got in the spirit and tried their hardest to impress with creative and tasty canapés.
First was the marketing challenge where they had to come up with a community event that they would hold with an imaginary £300, second was the cooking challenge with chef Gary MacLean and third was the hospitality challenge where they had to dress and set a table. Whilst the teams were doing their challenges I held activities to keep the children busy which included making chocolate crispy cakes, designing fruit faces and colouring in. There was a real buzz around the community centre all day and into the night with the community meal and challenge awards ceremony.
I was asked to co-host the awards ceremony with Gary and we even had a red carpet! The competitors of the day and the winning team The Rhino Chef’s were very chuffed with their achievements. The Rhino Chef’s won £300 to fund their community idea from the marketing challenge. Fast forward a year later and this idea became a reality with North West’s Got Talent going ahead at Lincluden Community Centre… another fantastic night!
The Hell’s Kitchen Masterchef challenge is an example of many of the things that I enjoyed about working for Creative Futures… providing events across many diferent venues to get as many groups involved as possible, seeing community members find new skills and be proud of their efforts, having to take on more roles than just artist, running workshops in a large variety of themes, learning a lot about event organising and running and seeing community groups receive funding to do their thing. All of this and I’ve not even touched on the creative side of things…and there was defnitely a lot of that over the two and a half years.
My frst two creative remits were to work with the community to create new artworks for the Lincluden rhino statue, and to collaboratively design and build a commemorative statue for Lochside Primary School…not the smallest of tasks! It took over a year to see both of them to fruition and the journeys for both of consultation, research, development, collaborative work and creation were immensely enjoyable. And what was the material / technique that I fell in love with over this period…if you’ve seen or heard about the projects then you’ll know that it’s MOSAIC! Yes, all of those tiny pieces of shiny colour perfect for surviving outdoors and an activity that all ages can get involved in.
For the Lincluden Rhino statue artwork creation I held mosaic workshops at Lochside Gala, Nithraid, Lincluden Community Centre and worked with the Primary 3 class at Lincluden Primary school. To compliment the rainforest themed mosaics created I invited pupils at Lincluden Primary School to come up with rainforest designs for the metal work. This led to the fnal stage of the upgrade…the two day spray paint workshop at the rhino statue. We had the Creative Futures sound system along with us and had 30 children join in over the two days which created lots of hype about seeing the completed renovation. Local roofer Gary Barsch helped to install the mosaics and in May last year we held the launch party. Likewise with the installation of the Lochside Primary Commemoration statue local builder Malcom Campbell helped by laying the concrete base for the structure. It was great to work with local people on all levels to make the art projects happen.
After the completion of the rhino statue artwork and the primary school statue I wondered what would be next, but there wasn’t much time to think because there are so many active organisations in Lochside and Lincluden with plenty of ideas and it was coming in to summer… a busy time for providing events for young people and families. First stop was the YMCA who had just moved in to the former Lochside Primary School and had a newly found huge space to decorate. The building was our oyster! I took on the role of helping the young people decorate their reception area with a day to night themed mural.
In the summer holidays mosaics returned as I ran a workshop for the young people to create an under the sea mosaic for their art room. Through providing these workshops I built up a good relationship with the young people and felt proud to see them trying new creative skills and take ownership of their spaces. The summer continued with the creation of a bottle cap mural for LIFT’s NANA’s Park community garden space, and the Creative Futures summer theme Fashion & Festival leading up to the Day of the Region Fashion festival.
The creativity continued in to Autumn with October Holidays Art in the Park and painting a mural on the Pop Eyes Park electrical sub station with designs and help from the Lincluden Rainbows and Brownies. It was fantastic to be able to work on such a variety of projects and not only allow community members to join in on art projects but actually get them involved in brightening up the spaces in their area to make them more exciting and enjoyable places to be!
My fnal task at Creative Futures whilst packing up my stuff was packing up the Creative Futures room to be moved over to the projects new room at the YMCA centre in Lochside. It felt like an appropriate end to be seeing them off on to their new chapter as I was going off on mine. It was an amazing few years of creativity, community and fun… and I’m excited to see what all of the projects, local people and young people that I worked alongside get up to next.
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.
You know how names for things at The Stove can be a real challenge (err opportunity?) ….never more so in the case of our new Project Manager! The job title went through unimaginable twists and turns (you might remember it was advertised as ‘Organisational Manager/Projects Coordinator’). Anyways we are delighted to announce that Stove member Ailsa Watson was offered and accepted the role –the first task Ailsa tackled was the job title – ‘Project Manager’ it is!!
Those paying attention will remember that Ailsa joined us in April initially as our Finance Administrator.
A rare photo of Ailsa
Ailsa says she is ‘not really be from anywhere’ – she was born in Paisley and grew up on the West Coast before a globetrotting existence led her back to Glasgow where she met and married a dashing Doonhamer. She is an Art Graduate who has followed an amazingly impressive career path through a mixture of high profile arts jobs and working within the commercial digital sector. Naturally one of the most impressive things on Ailsa’s CV is her role as a producer on The Stove’s ‘First Foot’ project in Jan 2012 – she has been a member since the get go.
Ailsa and her husband have been living between Glasgow and Dumfries for some time whilst looking for the right opportunity to move to the South West full-time. The next bit of good news is that the couple have found a place on the outskirts of Dumfropolis and will be flitting Glasgow in August.
Ailsa is looking forward to seeing more of her D+G pals, making new acquaintances and working with the wider community
This feels like a really significant move for The Stove Network to be now working with genuine administrative and managerial capacity. It has been a long time coming, but that is part of the essence of working collectively – things do take time – but when they do happen we know that we have all travelled together to reach this place.
We had an amazing response to our call for people to take on this role – including others form our incredibly talented membership – it was a tough, tough task making this decision and we’d like to thank everyone that applied…there were many other people that we are sure we will be working with in the future.