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Community Art Projects

Following the Blairack: Weaving Beelines 2022

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This interactive project was created in collaboration with local artists, Jacqueline Briggs and Izzy Thomson for the Cromarty Courthouse Museum. We interwove Hugh Miller’s passion for learning about nature, inspiring new tales and scientific study with twenty-first century experiences of bees in Cromarty. Hugh Miller, nineteenth century geologist, naturalist, folklorist and religious reformer grew up in Cromarty, just along the road from the Courthouse, he was a dedicated observer of natural life, believing that:

“Life itself is a school and Nature always a fresh study” … and exhorting people to “make a right use of your eyes”

The Blairack project tells a beautiful visual story of bees in Cromarty through the nine observations by Hugh Miller along with six interesting facts about bees, derived from the type of scientific observation Miller employed. Each of the 15 different parts of the story was illustrated with an original piece of art work. This art story was displayed in the Courthouse garden, an entrancing small community space with wild flowers and fruit, where the painted bees were surrounded by live bees busy at work.

We also created an interactive Bee Map of Cromarty, where visitors to the museum (and now to the website) can add their own pictures and sightings of bees in Cromarty and where we all have a chance to weave beelines round the town. As well as an advertised interactive weekend where the the three of us actively engaged with visitors; there was a special session for school aged children and the map and art exhibition were on display to the end of the 2022 season. The 15 paintings are now on display in the Cromarty Courthouse Garden for the 2023 season. 

Blairack is a Cromarty dialect word.

The Sea Inside

With artists Jacqueline Briggs and Izzy Thomson we coordinated a Cromarty community Art project funded by Nature Scot. We researched the local stories and dialect, folklore, and knowledge of the sea surrounding the area, speaking to scientists from the university of Aberdeen, historians and sailors. 

Art collage packs were created using recycled materials with prompt cards including facts and stories influenced by our research to inspire the creation of individual fabric collages. We created an instruction video to go alongside them. These were delivered during lockdown. The individual artworks were sewn together onto a large sail and displayed in the Cromarty Courthouse Museum. We documented the project through  by creating a video with voice over kindly provided by those involved.

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