Snapshots & Sketches – I love this town!

Community engagement as a radical act: local children, sharing history, Inverkeithing’s community garden and beloved woodland. Conceptual art about witch trials…

Ian Walker

featured image: Janus interpretation of Ian’s work.

Ian’s work is probably the most varied in interests of all of the artists, and he was certainly one of the most prolific. What emerges is a kind of radical enthusiasm for the ideas of community life and local resource management. Ian has been involved with the Inverkeithing Community Garden since its onset, a beautiful space which offers peace and beauty to visitors, as well as a deeply satisfying activity for people who get involved with gardening and managing it. Ian has a general love for wildlife, especially trees, and he was drawn to illustrating the trees of the area. If we come to value trees, and especially trees within complex eco systems, as we really should, then Ian’s work looks like portraiture of individuals, as much as just ‘drawings of trees’. Each is recognisable to someone who knows and them lives with them every day.

Ian’s other genius is for including passers by into his work, and the project of Inverkeithing in general. When out and about drawing or doing his other art works, he not only talks to people who express an interest, but documents them in the form of photography, and later develops this further into his work.

Ian was also fascinated by the horrific crimes against the people who were tried for witchcraft in the 17th Century in Inverkeithing. He elevated his response to this with a remarkable piece of conceptual art in Witch Knowe Park, which is situated across from Witch Knowe, the place where the accused were tried and killed. He attached 51 scraps of colourful fabric, representing the number of people known so far to have died here in this way, to a small tree in the public park area. These scraps remained on the tree, to be encountered by walkers and visitors, creating a memorial. While attaching the scraps, he was approached by a little girl and her mum, interested in what he was doing, and he invited them to help. He of course recorded this with a photograph.

Ian is currently collaborating with Rosie Gibson on her Instagram ‘Idiot Wind’ project.

Noticing the details: Snapshots & Sketches

I have spent some initial quiet exploratory time with the collated work done by eight local artists for the Snapshots and Sketches project at Maker. I wanted to heed the selection, giving it some space to reveal the artists’ engagement with the themes of past, present and future. I noticed many delightful details, and captured some images to share. The work will remain in-situ in Maker now so it can be viewed from Thursday – Saturday 11am-5.30pm. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the work below.

The work has been developed in progress towards motifs which will be integrated in upcoming public realm works throughout the town centre, taking inspiration from Inverkeithing past, present and future. It is being developed by members of Inverkeithing Arts Initiative and commissioned for the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project, funded by Historic Environment Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Fife Council.  The project, running 2019-2024, is being delivered by Fife Historic Buildings Trust.

Snapshots & Sketches: an exhibition and work in progress

Making our mark in Inverkeithing – Thurs 15th – Sat 17th October. Thanks to everyone who have already been to Maker on the 8th, 9th and 10th to have a look at the exhibited work – ‘Snapshots and Sketches: making our mark in Inverkeithing.’ It’s tough just now with social restrictions to do anything very easily, and coming out to look at other people’s artwork is an act of both support and tremendous hope. This is a project whose aim is to explore and speak of Inverkeithing past, present and future, and the present time we’re going through together will be an integral part. Your feedback has been tremendously positive and complementary, as well it should be; the artists have certainly created some wonderful stuff. The work will remain in-situ in Maker now so the themes can be explored further and we can move towards developing motifs and text for the upcoming public realm project. Public viewing is during Maker’s opening hours of Thursday – Saturday 11am-5.30pm.

The work has been developed in progress towards motifs which will be integrated in upcoming public realm works throughout the town centre. It was developed by members of Inverkeithing Arts Initiative and commissioned for the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project, funded by Historic Environment Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Fife Council.  The project, running 2019-2024, is being delivered by Fife Historic Buildings Trust.

Photographic documentation, change and renewal

Inverkeithing Arts have been taking photographs of Fraser Avenue in Inverkeithing, while it has been prepared for the first part of its demolition (which begins on Tuesday 8th November at 10am). Kingdom Housing Association, who are building the new housing on the street, have commissioned this project, and made public some of the images on their website. All of these images together will create a significant body of documentation about the changes which will take place over the next few years,  and will potentially form the basis for future community arts projects about the area.

See some of the photographs on the KHA website

maker – 2A High Street

Exciting news! We are currently working on our new premises at 2A High Street Inverkeithing, busily turning it into a space from which to run creative workshops, community projects and retail space for beautiful hand made local arts and crafts. Maker – opening soon – photos of our progress to follow…

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The Place Where We Live – 10 months on

Artworks and experiences created during Community Arts Projects can continue to have reverberations, be enjoyed and inspire people long after the project has taken place. We saw this in action on 22nd June 2016 when we were invited to attend a day of celebrating pupils’ achievement at Inverkeithing Primary School. We found ‘The Place Where We Live’ – the 3D map project which Inverkeithing Arts Initiative ran with the p4 year group in 2015, proudly on display in the school hall.

IAI devised and led this project at the school in September 2015 when participatory artist Rosie Gibson asked us to help her get local schoolchildren involved with, and incorporated into, her ‘Trading Wisdom’ project on Inverkeithing High Street, part of the nationwide ‘Luminate Project on Creative Aging’.

Rosie’s project involved listening to elderly residents of Inverkeithing, and from their conversations gathering ‘nuggets of wisdom’. The nugget Rosie asked us to use to inspire the pupils’ project was from an elderly lady remembering her time as a young woman working at the Caldwell Paper Mill:

“My mothers hoose was like a canteen. We went hame fae the mill for breakfast, lunch, then hame for the tea! And my brothers were on different shifts so they went hame at different times tae!”

We talked with the children about the nugget and what it was about, and asked them to have a think about ‘their’ high street, and what they might see as they themselves walk through it every day. The children created drawings of the things they could remember, using vividly coloured pens and pieces of card…. the results were gloriously imaginative and lively. The children then stuck their drawings in the appropriate places along the roads, to create a joint artwork which we called ‘The Place Where We Live’. All of the children were enthusiastic and engaged throughout the whole day the project took place. The resulting maps were photographed and Rosie made placemats to be used, appropriately, at the Millbrae Cafe (which still uses them daily!)

The 3D Maps, and placemats, were displayed during the school’s event on the 22nd, and we were delighted to see so many visitors at the event stopping to have a look at them, very obviously admiring the children’s work. The pupils who had taken part in the project were particular proud of the maps, and enjoyed looking for their own drawings, and showing them off to their parents, grandparents and carers.

The primary school, Inverkeithing Arts Initiative and Rosie Gibson are very keen to continue working together in the future, involving local schoolchildren in community arts projects.

For more images of the maps, click here

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