It's been very quiet around here recently. Very quiet indeed. But what better way to break the silence than with some photos of the opening evening of the new Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts studios in Edinburgh. The studios and gallery in Blair Street (just off the Royal Mile) opened last year with 23 makers, and the new place at Abbeymount (in an old school overlooking Arthur's Seat) has provided space for another 50. These images show the opening of Abbeymount a few weeks ago, when the doors were thrown open and makers gave hoards of visitors access to their equipment - a brave move. I was invited along by my lovely weaver friend and fellow wool fanatic, Fiona Daly, who showed me around the place (you can spy her in front of her loom in the second picture).
Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts has been built by and for the makers who work in it along with a strong team of volunteers. Apart from a small grant from Creative Scotland, it is largely self-funded. The project started in 2011 with just 5 makers and its growth over the past 3 years is testament to Edinburgh's vibrant craft world and to the hard work and determination of Louise Smith, who established the project and is behind its success. Louise studied craft at university and continues to make alongside running the studios, gallery and courses. She has built something really special, from scratch.
The makers who work at Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts, many of whom are recent graduates, will tell you just how transformative the project has been to their careers. Under the roofs of these two buildings are textile and fashion designers, ceramicists, weavers, upholsterers, product designers, furniture-makers and jewellers. The variety and diversity of makers, materials and techniques are brought together by shared space and a commitment to working alongside each other to develop their work and careers. It really is an amazing and inspiring place.
Thank you for having us, Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts, and congratulations on your new home.
All photos copyright Damien McGlynn.