Creative Scotland Open Sessions.

Open Sessions

I attended the Creative Scotland open sessions on Tuesday. Creative Scotland Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries. Note the word development.

They have had a lot of bad press and are now holding these open sessions to ‘listen’ to the people . Whilst I applaud an acknowledgement of issues and I am hopeful that its not just hot air to quiet dissent , i also feel that its like me getting a new boss and they ask me to tell them what to do  for them to do their job. But knowing there is a problem and acting on it is very positive…..I look forward to the ACTING on it part.

It worrying that they have been given so much power and don’t have the knowledge and skills to deliver. That they have to hold EXPENSIVE consultations to know how to do what they are set up to do.

I also feel that they way they are holding them is a bit skewed. I was sat at a table with people who give out jobs to artists. I was ‘put down’ a couple of times when trying to make a point and some of my points didn’t make it to list of points being taken forward. This also happened to another person.

One of the issues here in the Highlands is that everyone knows everyone and if you have your card marked you don’t work…so stepping out of line is very hard if you want to work and eat. Even just speaking up is doom here.  We don’t have a choice of organisations to go to for work. Often one person holds a position which decides who gets work. We don’t have independent arts bodies, so if you don’t agree with a decision  or say something wrong (whatever that might be) you are out.

This was present at the open session. I wish I had gone to a session elsewhere so that I could speak openly. But perhaps I was on the wrong table?

So what was it like….. firstly there was the usual lack of communication… We arrived early to get lunch ( we didn’t want to be distracting with harmonised tummy rumbles)  We sat in the cafe as all the good and the great filtered in. No one said where we were to go. No signs. So we just waited until 11.50 and asked at reception. We were told everyone was waiting in the restaurant .. so we went in looking lost… and eventually just took a seat. Other artists came in and recognising us from the gallery sat with us. Then a massive buffet of cold wraps and sandwiches came out. No one said it was for us, we were left to glean it from the people around us. We didn’t know there was going to be food or this opportunity to ‘network’ Not that it was as everyone just sat in their own group …wouldn’t it have been better to give us all a number then number the tables so that we were mixed? Opportunity missed.

Our invite said it started at 12 noon. No….. people were still drifting in at 12.30 so now I figure we didn’t get some vital info that others had. Then without notice people started to get up and drift off. Again no announcement or sharing info. Lots of people looked lost and then just followed the others into another room.

CS Open food

The ‘up’ of the event was that Pat Kane of Hue and Cry (eighties band) was facilitating the event and he was really good at it. At times he used word that were beyond me and in fact there was a lot of that around the room. Something I think the creative industries love… it makes them feel highbrow. A musician commented on this after we left… the use of language /jargon /buzzwords which makes them feel elite.

For me ( and some of the other artists I talked to) the day was very interesting, but we felt on the outside as a large percent of the debate was on organisation funding.

The people who attended were very articulate and passionate about the Arts in Scotland. There was a lot to take in and the points made were extremely valid. At other tables there were amazing debates and lots of conversation. At Q&A the issues raised and suggestion made were enlightening and spot on. You can read about it here

I was also disappointed with the numbers…. one artist raised the fact that had someone not told them, they wouldn’t have known the event was on. This was echoed by others in the room. Perhaps the spend on sarnies would have been better used on an advert in the ICA? or maybe Hi-arts should be using its extensive mailing list ….this is important after all.

An artist at my table and I tried to bring up that we felt the funding funding funding culture was wrong, that people need to find ways to generate some of the finances required and that Creative Scotland could be providing support to do that. It didn’t get written down on our tables page to be added to the brain storming at Creative Scotland. We also felt (as did Northlands Glass) that they should do more to ensure that communities have some kind of legacy from arts events etc. and that Creative Scotland could do more to support that through skills and help to raise their own funds.

Often as an artist I have to find money for projects I am working on. I either have to bootstrap (work else where to fund it) or just add in my own earnings to complete it. This is the experience of most artists I have had contact with.  So to sit at a table and listen to nothing but give us the money was very disappointing. Esp as Moray has just had 100% arts funding cuts which we all can’t rule out in the Highland Council region… lets also talk about Creative Scotland as a support and knowledge base, which brings me back to the fact that it is a development agency.






Have a swatch of Capitals – Reliever on that YouTube hingummy


Back to the future…..ish.

I haven’t written about the gallery or studios for some time. The gallery used to be down stairs….I loved it, but the public found it intimidating.  They would look in and rush off. Not everyone off course, but 3 out of 4. … That’s a lot. I loved the double height, the light,  in fact everything… other than the fact that it was the lead in… I wish the double height was upstairs. Due to the intimidation factor Kev has moved crafts down stairs and the gallery is now upstairs. A much less ‘gallery’ space. To me it feels shoe-d in… But we have to do what we have to do. So we have moved everything about. We had chairs and a sofa where you could sit and read or craft, but this made Speed Crafting really difficult AND I was running a cafe more than doing any workshops….. I could do that anywhere…its not what I set out to do. I also feel there is a whole load of amazing cafes around us… why take custom from them for something we didnt really want to do. So this week the chairs have gone and one large central table is going in… I am super excited. It feels more like what we wanted to do. So upstairs has gone from picture one to picture two. ( no great table yet) shop-2-318x318 2012-10-07 16.43.05

Getting back to it.

This is going to be a nothing post. I would suggest you get a coffee and just take time to let your mind wander…….

I am writing this as I need/want to get back to blogging. I have kept meaning and wanting to, but because I have left it so long it was hard. Then more passing time and it became a ‘thing’.
So here I am, breaking the tension and silence.
Another excuse has been that I have moved to blogging on the iPad and I didn’t really understand the layout etc. I didn’t have time to learn it until a few grabbed moments this morning.

I am now feeling ready.

Thank you for your patience.


London Baby – the final part…phew

So this is my last post about our trip to London Top Drawer. I will post once more but about the Tate Modern.

We were so excited about going to London and then realising we could take in the Tate was just the icing on the cake! We left Top Drawer at 3 to make sure we could get there before closing. The last part of Top Drawer was very disappointing for us. All imports and a bit tacky, so it was easy to leave.

Actually we were starting to feel yuk… the processed air and hum of the aircon was horrible. ( what country bumpkins we are)

So….The Tate Modern.

Wow… What a building. The main hall is amazing.

I took so many photos. There was such a fantastic mix of work – Literally something for everyone.

I am not going to say more…just go.

London Baby – yes there’s more

This photo is rubbish…sorry. But its a design hero of mine…. Wayne Hemingway! I nearly went up and asked for a pic…. But then I caught myself on.

His stand was all about recycling and vintage.


The ‘butt’ is a bit too far for me, but the bed was amazing. The use off vintage furniture was great…simply painting a drawer brought them bang up to date.

London Baby – later that day

I am posting images that I need to credit. I will come back to these and do it. I dont have access to my notebook. Sorry .

The show was truly massive. We arrived as it was opening and immediately felt under dressed. Wow some swanky people attend these things.

We went into the interiors hall first. We had gone to find new girts for Hung Gallery so felt we would leave that until last. We thought we would rip around the interiors area and then cruise the gifts section…then at 3pm leave to catch the Tate Modern.

But as it was our first time at this show we didnt know how big it was. Or how boring it could get. Dont get me wrong….We loved it and there were so many lovely things, but lovely is a little insipid isnt it? And I am afraid there wasnt a lot to make you gasp or even just a ‘must have’. I thought that perhaps everyone is playing safe due to the current climate ?

anyhoo . enough chat and on with the images…We stopped for tea course to gather our energy and had a lovey Scottish treat……

I could go on about each photo..What I liked and what I didn’t, but we would be here for ever. I am always quite critical of layout and function. I am drawn in by how its presented and then how works. I hate getting ‘stuck’ in a stand, I don’t like stupid layouts where if two other people are looking you have to hang about waiting to see.

Food and bags on stands are a total no no to me. I don’t mind coffee etc…but its a show case of your work…have some pride. ( and take a tote to hide it in) if you can’t be organised with your stand how will you be organised with my order?

Maybe I should have split it into the good the bad and the ugly. But you know what you are looking at and can decide for yourself.

London Baby – Top Drawer

Eeeekkk we are country bumps. We traveled to the show from Euston Station. At rush hour….Pah. Idiots.

It was scary fun…if you know what I mean. How people do it every day I just don’t know. Also we were struck by people demeanor…sullen, in their own bubble and rushing like ants. We were pushed, tutted and  felt on the underground…eeeeuuuw. But it was kinda fun.

Anyhoo…. Top Drawer. I am just going post a few pictures and talk about them today. More tomorrow etc.

2013-01-15 09.18.57 2013-01-15 09.19.05

Beautiful window displays

2013-01-15 09.45.42

There is always time for tea

2013-01-15 10.26.44 2013-01-15 10.26.58 2013-01-15 10.26.49

This was so inspiring. The chunky knits were amazing.

The show was really REALLY big.

2013-01-15 09.45.52

2013-01-15 10.42.55

London Baby…the next morning

I wasn’t going to post until after we had been to the show……but grrrrrr. Had a great nights sleep. The sheets were fresh and the bed was great. I was up early -6.30 and I like a cup of tea first thing. I had checked that the dining carriage was 24hr so I was happy to head along and grab the opportunity to charge Ingrids’ phone at the plug point in the dining room.

When I arrived a steward was just sitting. The door to the kitchen was open but no one inside. I assumed the steward was from the kitchen but he didnt even aknowledge me until I eventually asked if I could have a tea… Yes kettle, cup, bag, spew HT milk. Not hard. He barked at me that the steward I wanted was doing his till and paperwork. That I would be getting tea in my berth at 7. Disappointing considering this is the time you get up and want tea? Why not do it sooner or later? Others drifted in as I sat waiting for the phone to charge and they got the same barked comment.

Would it really hurt to just get the kettle on? They take your money everywhere else… but can afford to turn away 10 or so sales? no one actually came to the table with the paperwork on it in the 1/2 hr I was there.Image