Made in Easterhouse maps a thriving ecology of making, a constantly shifting and growing constellation of imaginative and transformative acts undertaken not within the art or other commercial market, but in domestic spaces, and for their own sake or for the sake of others. Making in this sense creates both things and time - its repetitive and attentive process requires embodied relationship with materials and resources, as well as the development of skill through repetition and familiarity. 
Ruth Little 

Grow your own

Throughout the project connections were being built with Wellhouse Allotment Society. I was amazed by the variety of produce 'Made in Easterhouse' and care and generosity shown to the participants through Connect Trust. As a visitor to the allotments I was made most welcome  and on each visit, left with gifts of plants, fruit and veg.  In exchange I returned to show the guys how to make chutneys and jams. Jams and chutneys were tasted at housing association meetings and the activity not only provided a social learning experience but a new produce celebrating the allotments which could be sold at community fairs. A Connect Trust volunteer began to design a new label and the Made in Easterhouse lable incorporated. In addition golden raspberries contributed to cake filling in preparation for a local charity sale and allotment potatoes and onions were transformed into Potato Pakora by Jason. Small acts of generosity and exchange have formed an essential part of the project. Colin Tennant and Jason Singh (collaborators on the project) both have visited and been inspired by the allotments through photography and sound.    

photograph by Colin Tennant

Mapping the Micro 

Throughout Jasons time involved with Made in Easterhouse, we have walked and talked through ideas of micro/micro in Easterhouse exploring ways we could draw attention to the detail of a large and vibrant area and community.  

In initial focus on Making in Easterhouse hand made objects were documented but the idea is explored further though focus on nature made and formed in Easterhouse. Focus shifted to the often overlooked aspects of the area such as plants or lichen. Field recordings through a hydrophones and Binaural recorder picked up the minutiae of Auchinlea Pond or the sounds of Canaries in Wellhouse allotment. You can find out more on Jasons blog here and watch a slow film of his macro photographs and  recorded sounds. This combines beautiful images and field recordings from our early morning visit to the dawn chorus back in March at Cardowan Moss.

Mapping the move 

Through exploring the social history of Easterhouse I have been interested in the movement of people from the East End of Glasgow to Easterhouse and in mapping the distance. On Sunday 16th October, Myself and Jason walked from Duke Street to Easterhouse and mapped the 4.5 mile journey through data and micro photography. Wearing a Garmin Forerunner, Jason tracked our data. This has produced visual data which has sparked ideas for animation, visuals and possibly further exploration through stitch and textiles. 

On our walk we stopped to take micro photos along the way. This created a visual diary of the walk through texture and colour and has provided beautiful photographs highlighting the macro in an urban setting. 

Do a turn 

Through initial conversations with older people in Easterhouse, many spoke of family parties where family members 'do a turn' or a party piece through song or word. This sparked ideas of creating a cross generational event where celebrating local talent of many sorts. Exploring Made in Easterhouse further we visited the Musical Group at Kelvin College who are a group of young people who meet each Tuesday and Wednesday. We were made feel very welcome by those attending and came across Jack Bestow, a young musican in the group.  As a result Jason spent some time recording with Jack and the results can be found here

I have been artist in residence at Platform in Easterhouse for nearly a year now working with groups from housing associations from the surrounding area. Our Made in Easterhouse exhibition is currently on until 27th November at Platform.  The exhibition celebrates and elevates making in Easterhouse.

'The year-long project is both a celebration of the ubiquity of human creativity and a material survey of its small-scale, intimate and place-based manifestations.  Deirdre has explored the theme of ‘Made in’ through a previous residency in Timespan Helmsdale.

Over the course of the year, through sewing bees, informal maker gatherings and map-making sessions, Made in Easterhouse became a hub of community-based making and the memories and lineages of craft knowledge contained within it. It honours both the conviviality and the individuality of Easterhouse's maker culture and the myriad forms it takes and has taken throughout the history of the area.

The exhibition includes examples of knitwear, sewing, dressmaking, painting, ceramics, jam-making and make-do-and-mend knowhow. Each object is presented as an artifact of value - many kinds of value -and as a gesture of respect both for materials and the handmade, and for the investment in place that they reflect. '

 Text by Ruth Little 

In addition I have been collaborating with photographer Colin Tennant and am currently collaborating with Jason Singh this week. Throughout my residency I have been documenting all things Made in Easterhouse which includes hand crafted items but also snapshots of nature 'made' in the area.  From 10th - 20th October I am collaborating with Jason to explore the micro of Easterhousee in sound, visuals and textile. We will be blogging daily on our progress and discoveries.  You can find Jasons Blog here 

I am currently artist in residence at Platform Arts in Easterhouse working with older groups across the housing associations in the area. Research into both past and present aspects of Easterhouse is leading towards a range of digitally printed tablecloths for a spring tea dance at the venue. Social media is playing a large part in documenting creativity in the area through @map_making instagram and twitter accounts and the hashtag #madeinEasterhouse.

The tablecloths will be in use at a tea dance on 1st April and part of an installation in collaboration with sound sculptor Jason Singh at Outskirts Festival 23rd April at Platform Arts, 

photos by Alan Dimmick 

The Kildas exhibition is now installed at Glasgow School of Art until 28th February.  
I will be doing a lunch time talk on Monday 22 February 2016, 13:15-14:00Bourdon lecture theatre, Bourdon building, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G3 6RQ
In an illustrated talk Deirdre Nelson will present her journey to The Kildas of Scotland, New Zealand and Australia and introduce the ‘saints’ met along the way. As a textile artist Deirdre explored new ways of working through jewellery techniques . Her research, processes and materials will be explored in a humourous talk of her 2014 Commonwealth project. 
All welcome, no need to book.

The Kildas will be on exhibit from 19th January to 4 February at the Reid Building Glasgow School of Art . More information HERE 

The two names of the island group Hirte and St Kilda, have aroused discussion and controversy for over 200 years and much studying of maps and books can be done to investigate their origins. There are many myths surrounding the origins of the name St Kilda but one fact is clear. There is no ‘Saint’ Kilda.

On a modern day pilgrimage in search of ‘Saint’ Kilda, I travelled to the St Kildas of Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. The resulting works reward and celebrate ‘saints’ met along the way. Silver Coins from Scotland, Australia and New Zealand have been repurposed into medals. These are combined with wool from each St Kilda region (from Soay and merino sheep) and Kildas sand embedded in bio resin. The ongoing project links both past and present, north and south and the people who inhabit the Kildas. The exhibition will travel to Comar on the Isle of Mull, Glasgow School of Art and Barony Centre West Kilbride.

The Kildas was part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. The Cultural Programme is a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland

This is a story of an archipelago named for a saint who didn't exist, which became the prison of a woman whose funeral preceded her death, who gave her name to a boat which sank after sailing to a nation that hadn't been born and whose first inhabitants it didn’t acknowledge. A ship of fools, maybe. A ship of storytellers…The islands were named for the non existent saint; the woman for the islands; the boat for the woman, and 2 suburbs in distant parts of the Commonwealth were named for the boat.

These islands, these suburbs, these stories are spun from three of the six St Kildas on earth. Each is a real place of stone and sea, a place where indigenous languages shaped to their landscapes were eroded by a rising tide of English. And each is simultaneously a fabrication: misnamed for something that came before it; a progressively receding echo of an error which carried a myth on currents that bore the Scottish diaspora away from home during the Clearances of the 19th century.

It's made by weavers of textile, song and sound, and the form it takes here tonight is just one of the many forms it's taken over thousands of years. History is an unbroken current of material and energy flows, and in those flows vortices sometimes form and these spinning cycles, these Kildas, these loops in time, have a structure which is complex, ubiquitous, beautiful, temporary and true.

The world spins. We spin. Migrating seabirds like the Arctic tern loop the spinning world. On St Kilda, men with loops or snares caught seabirds on the high cliffs and stacs. Loops of wool made socks and sweaters, with patterns, like tunes, carried from island to island, in Gaelic bho ghlùin gu glùin, from knee to knee. Knitted things pass like stories from person to person, like fishing nets, hand over hand, constantly maintained, mended, adapted - navigational lines linking place to place, and bringing us home again.

The word 'yarn' is connected to the Old Norse garn or gut. There are 74 Gaelic words for yarn and the winding of yarn. Human beings have been spinning yarn from fibre for 20,000 years, spinning yarns from their guts for at least as long, binding meaning into their lives by looping the past into the present, the world within into the world beyond. Wherever we are on earth, there's a St Kilda behind us and a St Kilda ahead; mythical St Kildas we have brought into being collaboratively, through acts of place-making. Stories extend us, they strengthen and connect us; they propel our migrations and loop us back into the places we've left behind'

Ruth Little 

Data, sea, sign and song. 
Sleeping Starfish at The Glad Cafe 15th October. ( work in progress event) 

Many thanks to everyone who came along to The Glad Cafe  for Sleeping Starfish (a work in progress event in collaboration with Inge Thomson.) Kerri Whiteside of Flora and Fauna Scotland spoke to us about Marine Protection, I presented recent work exploring bird data and knit and experimented with creating an animated backdrop for Inges performance.  The projection played with ideas of graphs, coastlines and knitting patterns. Inge Thomson and Fraser Fifield performed beautiful new music + all was BSL signed by Karen Forbes. 

'Sleeping Starfish is a work of environmental advocacy and a love song to an island and its waters and its people. A couple of weeks ago Deirdre steered me to a talk by the writer Taiye Selasi on identity and belonging. ‘How can I come from a country?’ she asked. ‘How can a human being come from a concept?’

Fair Isle is not a concept, it’s a place. A place of elemental forces and ragged boundaries, unprotected from fog, wind and storm, but equally uninsulated from the actual rhythms and processes of this world. You can love the concept of a nation, but you can only know a nation through its real places and people – through embodied relationship, through a sense of place, through intimacy with its patterns. ‘My experience’, said Taiye Selasi, ‘is where I’m from.’

Fair Isle’s patterns are changing – there are new arrivals in its waters, new absences from its stacs and skies. But there is always a thread on Fair Isle that knits sea to land and land to mind and body in tradition, in memory and in practice. Resilience – that most coveted attribute in our times – means adaptive capacity; maintaining identity despite change. It’s a learned skill, and it lies in relationship. These makers and maintainers share their experience of island resilience, so that, tonight, we can all be from Fair Isle.;

Ruth Little 2015 

Listen in to BBC Culture Show ( 38 mins in ) 

Surrounded by a relentless sea, Fair Isle is an island of strong traditions and fierce beauty. Celebrating this, and running in support of the island's bid for marine protected status, two artists are knitting together waves of sound and yarn, stories and starfish. The project also celebrates creative generations of Inges family through stories, music and knit. Exploring coding and counting, both Inge and myself have been exploring the craft and ecology of Fair Isle. 

Inspired by the many aspects of data counting on Fair Isle, I am counting birds and stitches and translating bird counts into knitting patterns.  The work is experimental at this stage but I hope to develop work which will become part of Inges performance.
Sleeping Starfish will present a work in progress event. ( as part of Luminate Festival)  7 pm Glad Cafe . Inge Thomson, Frazer Fifield, Kerri Whiteside  Deirdre Nelson,

I am curently in Fair Isle and have spent the last two days with collaborator Inge Thomson.  Although I have been to the island before, it's been a real privilege to be on the isle with Inge and to experience the island with her.  Last year  I had the opportunity to travel to Fair Isle with writer Ruth Little, film maker Andy Crabb, writer and actor Peter Cutts and photographer Jennifer Wilcox as part of the Sea Change project with Capefarewell.  Inspirations gathered on that trip have been blogged here 

This year I return to continue my research and refine ideas in a collaboration with Inge Thomson. Inge has been experimenting with translating the coding and pattern of Fair Isle knitting into sound and I have been very interested in the colour and softness of landscape, ecology and waters of Fair Isle.   Gut weed coating the edges of the rock, graphs of bird sightings and sonagrams of seabirds are providing lots of ideas in digital print and stitch. 

Fair Isle's maritime environment is very rich, both at the natural environment and human community level. The two aspects are inextricably linked and a threat to the first has serious implications for the second. The Fair Isle community has witnessed an erosion of that richness and is concerned that, without concerted action, the resource will be devalued or lost.

Fair Isle has a wide range of maritime attributes and issues which are important and deserve urgent measures for these assets to be safeguarded. The Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) was set up by the people of Fair Isle to help achieve this.

In 2012the Fair Isle community presented a petition to the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee asking for the Council of Europe Diploma condition that - Fair Isle waters should be designated a Marine Protected Area -  be honoured and implemented. 
The island is now being considered by the Scottish Government as a Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area (MPA). In 2014, we still await the outcome.   Fimeti. 

Inge Thomson dips hydrophones into the water at Gunglesund

We will be presenting a work in progress event 15th October 2015 at The Glad Cafe in Glasgow. 

photograph by Robin Gillanders 

The costume is now complete for Sing Sign in collaboration with Hanna Tuulikki. for the upcoming performance of Sign Sign in Edinburgh Arts Festival 2015

Inspired by a map of Edinburgh, Hannas graphic drawing of the Royal Mile has been digitally printed onto Tyvek to form a scroll down the front of the costume. In addition 
 collars and cuffs, on loan from National Trust of Scotland, have inspired exagerated Tyvek collars. These decorate felt Baroque inspired coats. Flashes of gold and lace can be seen in pleats and cuffs.  

The performance and installation.

"SING SIGN: a close duet is a vocal and gestural suite devised for the historic ‘closes’ of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. In these confined medieval spaces two performers present a playful Baroque scenario. Their face-to-face encounter is also relayed in a film installation, at Gladstone’s Land 30 July – 30 August .  

Composed and choreographed in response to a street-map dating from 1765, the street layout provides a visual score. The music takes the form of a wordless hocket (a musical device where the melody is split between two voices), divided between the singers in accordance with the closes, as they branch off from the arterial high street. T­he choreography spells out street names, in a back-and-forth progression, weaving together British Sign Language, mimetic hand gesture, and exaggerated body language.

Reflecting on the nature of dialogue and bringing together the seemingly opposed forms of singing and signing, Tuulikki explores the diverse, non-sensical ways in which we experience the city, immersed in sensory data, and mediated by the language(s) we have access to."

SING/SIGN is performed by Daniel Padden and Hanna Tuulikki, and developed with Deirdre Nelson (costume), Karen Forbes (British Sign Language choreography), Daniel Warren (film), Pete Smith (sound), Robin Gillanders (photography).

Via Edinburgh Arts Festival