Hello, it’s nice to meet you! I’m Mhairi and am the founder and Chairperson of Creative Strathaven. Before I go into detail about why I set up Creative Strathaven, here’s a bit more information about me...

I grew up in Strathaven and left to study Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2011. After receiving my BA(Hons) Fine Art in 2015, I decided to continue my studies and stayed on to do the MFA Art, Society & Publics. During that year, I was encouraged to question how the public interacts with art and the gallery space and what happens happens when the art is taken out of the traditional white cube? My time on the course ended with the Masters Show where my work was exhibited alongside that of my peers - we’d been working on our own personal projects throughout the year. After completing my studies, I moved back to Strathaven.

Gramps's Room, Masters Show 2018

When I moved back home, I began to feel very isolated from my peers and very much on my own. Having moved from Dundee, a creative hub, to Strathaven, where you have to travel out with to access the majority of creative opportunities, I became aware of the lack of opportunities for creatives in the area. I was also starting to

miss the creative community in Dundee. So, in March 2017 I reached out to the community to see who would be interested in a creative group for the area. From there, Creative Strathaven was started.

Creative Strathaven originally started as a Facebook group for people to share their work, ideas, chat and connect with one another. I’ll admit, I did sit on it for a couple of months as I worked out where to take it from there. The Facebook page was eventually set up as a way of engaging with and sharing our activities with the community.

During its first few months, Creative Strathaven held sketchcawls and the first Christmas Makers Market. The Market was such a success that it’s returning for two days this year on 17th and 18th November - get those dates in your diary! The first series of workshops were held in Spring 2018 but I needed some more help to run Creative Strathaven as it was getting to big to be a one woman band. That’s where Phil and Emma come in but I’ll let them fill you in on that.

So, what else do I do apart from volunteer as a committee member for Creative Strathaven?

Well, I wear a few different hats and am most definitely practicing the multi-hyphen method within my day to day life.

One hat is as a student. Again. I went back to uni in September 2017 to study a MA in Arts Festival and Cultural Management at QMU after being awarded a funded place thanks to Creative Scotland. The course is proving very handy for all things Creative Strathaven as I’m learning about fundraising, marketing, strategic planning and finance as well as gaining industry experience. I’m just about to start the second year of the course as I’m studying part-time.

I’m also an artist and am drawing house portraits under ‘Draw Ma Hoose’ - I sometimes paint too. It’s great to be drawing and making again after taking a bit of a break from creating my own work and I’m really enjoying working on multiple commissions just now.

When I’m not at uni or working on commissions, I’m making coffee. For a couple of days during the week you can find me at Roasted serving and talking all things food and coffee with the customers. If you’re a coffee lover or a foodie then you should definitely check it out - the coffees, food and cakes are excellent.

The last hat that I wear is that of a Brownie Leader. I’ve been involved in Girlguiding since I was a Rainbow and am now a Leader at one of the local Brownie units. It’s something that I’m proud to be a part of as I’ve made lots of lifelong friends, have some excellent role models and we are all encouraging girls and young women to be and do anything that they set their minds too.

So that’s’ve learnt a little bit about me. But I should say that I do try to do other things like go to the cinema, bake and potter about the greenhouse when I have spare time. I’ll be giving you a look at my day and some of my work during the week via Creative Strathaven’s Facebook page and Instagram. If you have any questions for me then let me know or if you just fancy a chat about all things creative then get in touch through Creative Strathaven.

Over and out.

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