Eyemouth, No Sea

Eyemouth is of course a town in Berwickshire, Scotland. The trick in a single-sheet origami fold of a vintage map is to not only try and pick out the key place names but to ensure the folds correspond in some way to the cartography. Here, a simple triangle pleat has been repeated in such a way that the folds represent ships as seen from above.

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Weft and wove

Finished this afternoon, this piece of origami art was folded from a single sheet of giftwrap designed by artist and illustrator Catherine Lindow with whom I was exhibiting at the recent Kinghorn Summer Exhibition.

I have another couple of sheets but as a ‘sketch’ for a more fully-finished piece I rather like the slight imperfections.

In creating this piece, I wanted to pull together ideas about community and people-watching but also, ambitiously perhaps, drag Celtic knotwork into the 21st century because nothing in art better symbolises the unseen links between us and the ties that bind us together.

One-sheet folds

Some folk visiting The Summer Exhibition at Kinghorn Community Centre (until 4pm, Saturday 6th August) have been expressing doubt that those framed maps were folded from a single sheet, so I’ve created the above model.

The magic of the fold is what you see when you turn it over because it still won’t clarify how the square-twist fold works but to see what I mean, you’ll have to make the trip to Kinghorn before this Saturday.

Sleepy royal burgh by the sea hosts top arts event

In a surprise move that caught many Fifers unaware, artists from around the Royal Burgh of Kinghorn put some of their recent work on public display.

Overheard among the punters were comments such as: “I had no idea we had so many talented people living here”, and “Oh, you know what? That would look great by the stairs.”

Baffled by the anonymous big blue fire door in the local community centre, many folk had come from as far Kirkcaldy or even Edinburgh and were not to be put off but instead bravely sallied forth into the interior of the building (previously a primary school) and we’re delighted by the sounds of music boxes and astoundingly contemporary visual work.

It’s not too late for you to see these wonders of Fife. The women seen above were saved before they could be carried by the monotype that had so entranced them and revived by refreshments in the café next door. From Monday 1st until Saturday 6th, the artists will continue to bravely display their work from 10am until 4pm at Kinghorn Community Centre.

Kinghorn Summer Exhibition

Rose and I have been invited to take part in this year’s summer exhibition in Kinghorn (details in the image above).

There’s some fantastically talented artists involved so well worth the trip by train from Edinburgh or Dundee. Folk in Glasgow will be off driving, at least until Network Rail pull out their proverbial finger…

Workshops

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In something of a first for us, we were invited by The Fife Coast & Countryside Trust to demonstrate some of the techniques that we commonly use in creating our range of products for retailers*.

We have been so busy recently that this is the first occasion on which we’ve had chance to write a post about not only the workshop (which was held at The Harbourmaster’s House on 27 November) but also about the valuable work that the Trust undertakes.

Preserving our natural heritage is an intensive labour of love for the people of Scotland.  The current state of the economy may be placing unusual pressures on how we might use our landscape commercially but the wildlife we have here affords us many more opportunities than simply building more eyesores.

The Fife Coast & Countryside Trust is tasked with managing more than 70 sites across Fife on behalf of the council and you can see part of their work in the management of the Fife Coastal Path.  Compare what we have here with the midden across the Forth that is Edinburgh’s sea front.  The Trust is proof that if you take responsibility for land management, you enhance the opportunities for the people living and working in the landscape and not just for the benefit of the wildlife but this costs money.

Oi! Panda may be a business but we’re part of a community and so we were more than happy to play the role of guinea pigs and lead the first workshop. We chose to demonstrate a number of folding and cutting techniques which would give attendees the confidence and ability to make Christmas cards, decorations and baubles from paper.  The emphasis was on re-using and upcycling papers such as old music scores, wrapping paper and so on.  We’ll be blogging these demonstrations later.

Feedback from participants was fantastic and, more important, very positive.  We learned a lot ourselves and would be happy to give tips to anyone doing something similar (though in essence it comes down to good planning, practice and rehearsal).  More important, we had so much fun doing this that we decided we definitely want to do this again!

There are plans to create a regular program of events in the coming year at The Harbourmaster’s House which give everyone in the community here in Fife an opportunity to support a worthy cause while also learning something of the craft and history of the region? so why not visit The Harbourmaster’s House or get in touch with the Trust to ask about these events.

If you think you’ve got the skill to lead a workshop or to give a talk on an aspect of Fife’s history, why not get in touch with the Trust directly by emailing ask.us@fifecountryside.co.uk?

One event we’ve heard discussed as a possibility for the events program is a history of brewing in Fife.  Related to that, I wonder if anyone could give a talk on the history of the glassworks that used to be here in Kinghorn, source of the sea glass we find on the beach.

* If you’re interested in getting your hands on a journal made from an old map of Fife, then you’ll find on sale in the cafe at The Harbourmaster’s House.  Sales of journals – and tea, coffee and cake – help support the work of the Trust.

Sending Christmas cards

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When you make greetings cards for a living, should you send cards you’ve made or cards you’ve bought?

Having spent the past few months making countless numbers of Christmas cards for retailers (of which the three above are just some of the designs we supply) and as this is our first weekend off in months, we thought we’d sit down and write our seasonal greetings to friends and family when we’re suddenly struck by just that question.

It’s a great dilemna to have (and a great way to get back into blogging having been too busy to do anything but fulfil orders).  We love the cards we make but friends and family have seen our designs either online, in retailers or at the craft fairs where we do our market research.

We also occasionally find cards that we like so much, we buy.  Kinghorn-based artist Catherine Lindow has produced some wonderful cards from the paintings that she’s created of local scenes.  We also have cards designed by more famous artists including the genius pop-up paper artist Robert Sabuda.

We figured that if we send out cards we made, it looks like we haven’t made much effort but then people who know us may be looking for something a little different anyway (like a Christmas greeting in German or Swedish – though if you happen to know anyone who has an umlaut character for letterpress, preferably size 18, please let us know).

This year’s solution has been to randomise the pile of cards.  If you get a card from us that we’ve made, it’s because we thought you’d like it.  If you get a card from us that we didn’t make and you think ‘huh?’, it’s because we’re either supporting local artists or because we just really like the card.

Next year, we plan on making a special range of cards that will be exclusively for family and friends which is what we would have done this year had we not been so busy.  As I said, it’s a great dilemna to have.  Believe it or not, I’ve already begun designing Christmas cards for our 2013 range – with the promise of leading more tutorials and other interesting projects in the coming months, things are looking good already.