New for Old

Set in the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

9 – 22 May.

A collaboration set up by the British Council, between British and Thai artists. The project took a group of British artists to a town in the North of Thailand to look at different techniques used in arts and crafts. The older styles used by the Thai designers were combined with the modern techniques of the Brits to create the exhibit.

Each artist in the programme has a display of artwork combined with a story of their background and how they were influenced by the project. At the weekend, artists are around to discuss the impact of the project and offer workshops to the public to share some of their new skills.

I got the opportunity to volunteer with them and learn how it all worked. Whilst I was there, we also created a live stream of the work, which you can find here. And I got to learn to weave, and now have a beautiful bookmark to remember it!

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Skills

I learnt how to weave with Sam, a Scottish designer that worked professionally in Sydney and now produces tweed in the North of Scotland. Using simple methods to show beginners how to weave, combined with the use of material dyed with indigo in Thailand. This provided a very different twist on old techniques. And something I have never done.

Anna builds volcanoes out of little coal rocks that wash up on the shore. By drilling tiny holes and threading in string, she can create interesting shapes by attaching them to frames. Then, my favourite bit. She writes a little story or poem and hangs it inside the artwork. Each piece stems from an idea she has and jots down in a little notebook. About something she’s seen, the weather, a feeling, a day out – and the story inside explains it.

How can you go learn more about the project?

All week the exhibit will be open (for free) at the Botanic Gardens.

But the best bit. Next weekend, on Saturday 21st at 11am. Social Entrepreneurs in Thailand will be hosted in the Lecture Room on Inverleith Row. There is a talk with the artists and the British Council.

You can see from the live stream today what the Carol, Sam and Naomi thought of their trip to Thailand and getting to work with new artists.

But next week, the Thai artists will be coming here to talk about what they thought, which I’m sure will be as interesting and exciting.

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