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New Face of Caithness Visual Arts

27th March 2006

Photograph of New Face of Caithness Visual Arts

"FaceNorth" visual arts residency run by Northlands Glass and Lyth Arts Centre is now up and running and going from strength to strength. The residency, funded by the Scottish Arts Council and Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise agency, offers the opportunity for local community groups with little or no arts skills to engage with professional artists Kate Williams, Shelagh Swanson and Alistair Pender over the coming months. Fused glass, time based artwork and mixed media assemblage are the three main areas the artists are concentrating on.

Recently over the past several weeks they have been doing outreach art workshops with young people, ladies groups and after school groups in Wick, developing partnerships with community programmes like the Pultneytown Peoples Project and Wick Youth Club facilitated through Highland Councils Learning & Leisure Dept. The emphasis has been to encourage learning through fun practical activities. One young peoples group at Wick Youth Club has been working on a 'Scrap Heap Challenge' project; taking apart old televisions and transforming them into contemporary sculptures to examine the way we perceive television and its influence on modern society.

All the Wick groups have visited the excellent Northlands Glass studios in Lybster and sampled the delights of making etched and fused glass. Kate William's explained "The technique of making fused glass involves combining metal foils, wire and coloured glass pieces sandwiched between sheets of clear glass which are then kiln fired". The culmination of the work produced in Wick can be seen at an exhibition at Lyth Arts centre starting on the 3rd July.

The artists will soon be turning their attentions to working in Thurso in partnership with Ormlie Community Association and Key Housing. They will be working in the Ormlie centre building on the Ormlie estate between 1st April until 13th April. Lorna Simpson of Ormlie Community Association said "We are really excited in Ormlie at the prospect of the three dynamic artists planned series of workshops, particularly as the ethos of the project is an attempt to bring together all age groups and create a shared ownership in the finished artwork." The artwork sessions are open to all age groups in the Thurso area. Interested parties can contact Isabel at the Ormlie Community Association Office for more details on times and specific dates on 01847 891789.


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