On Saturday 28th April, our Launch and Exhibition at the Granary at Strathaven Town Mill opened to the public following a private viewing for the exhibitors, their friends and family, our sponsors and invited guests. Although Creative Strathaven has existed for over a year, we decided it was time to properly introduce ourselves to the local community and celebrate the creativity within our it by holding a launch and exhibition.
For this event, we invited local artists to exhibit their work and were delighted at the response. Seventeen local artists exhibited alongside the five makers who have and will be running workshops with us. Strathaven is a quietly creative town with lots of artists and makers developing their creative practice but not a lot of people realise just how talented these folks are. By holding an exhibition, we were able to celebrate these artists and showcase their work much to the delight of many people who popped in to see the exhibition - a lot of people were pleasantly surprised by the standard and variety of work on display. We had lots of work on display from handmade bags by Audrey Steele to oil paintings by local artist Louise Higgins alongside a classical tutu by Rhona Anderson and an intricate paper-cut by Phil Wong.
The private preview held on Friday 27th April was an opportunity for the Creative Strathaven team to celebrate the opening of the exhibtion with the exhibitors, friends, family and invited guests as well as allowing us to thank the sponsors of the Launch and Exhibition for their support which we are incredibly grateful for. We wanted the preview to be more of a party than a formal event (after all, it was a celebration of our achievements and creativity). Refreshments were provided in the form of prosecco, juice, pakora (provided by the Taal) and homemade sweet treats. Local musician Kate McCabe performed a live set for us as she sang songs from her debut EP 'Woman' - she is a fantastic musician with incredible talent who we look forward to working with in the future. Local MSP, Aileen Campbell, also gave a lovely speech about Creative Strathaven and we would like to thank her for her kind words.
The private preview gave our exhibitors the chance to meet one another and talk about their work and practice which, speaking as a member of the Creative Strathaven committee, was a lot of fun. We believe that it's important for artists to meet one another and establish connections because making work can sometimes be quite lonely and isolating depending on where you are based. There is a wealth of creativity in Strathaven and the surrounding area and we are keen to establish a community of artist's and maker's so that we can all support and champion on another.
On the Saturday afternoon, we held our very first Cake and Make at the exhibition. A bit like a Knit and Natter, it was free to attend and open to everyone but other crafts were welcome. Several makers joined us for an afternoon of making over a cup of tea and some cake. There was a variety of makes being made including knitting and bookbinding. Cake and Makes are going to become a regular addition to the Creative Strathaven calendar once we have secured a venue - there is a plan but we're just waiting on confirmation from the venue. So make sure you are following us on Facebook and Instagram and are signed up to our mailing list to keep up to date with the progress of the Cake and Makes.
We said earlier that the Launch and Exhibition was a chance for us to say a proper hello to the local community. It probably sounds a bit daft after having existed for over a year and holding our Christmas Makers Market in November 2017 but we felt it was time that we properly introduced ourselves and let people know what the group is about. It was lovely to meet and chat with everyone who visited the Launch and Exhibition as well as hear about what they want to see happening in the town in terms of creative opportunities. It also meant that we could answer any questions people had about Creative Strathaven. We also received some excellent feedback about the event and work on display which was extremely positive and encouraging. Following on from this event, we are hoping to do another exhibition next year but it will be an Open Exhibition where we will put out an open call for artworks so that even more work can be exhibited - more details to follow in the future.
So what's next for Creative Strathaven?
Well, there's a few ideas in the pipeline but 2018 is really about establishing Creative Strathaven within the community as a group for artists and makers but you don't have to be an 'artist' to get involved. As long as you are creative or want to explore your creativity then you are more than welcome to join us. There are more workshops happening over the next few months as well as our Christmas Makers Market which is returning in November (applications for stallholders are open until 31st May 2018, email firstname.lastname@example.org for your application form). But we want to hear from you. Get in touch if you have any ideas, suggestions or questions for us and we'll see what we can do.
Photo credit: SE Hamilton Photography
Many thanks to the sponsors of our Launch and Exhibtion:
360 Graphics Anderson Anderson Architect The Common Greenery and The Pet Centre at The Common Greenery Gin Gin Tidy Partybiz SayItBabyGifts Strathaven Gallery Taal Indian Restaurant The Wee Farm Cattery
List of exhibitors: