Working with The Weavers Incorporation of Dundee part of the Nine-Trades Incorporation of Dundee has enabled me to take looms into care homes to reminisce with the elderly. The weaving projects have brought so much happiness; it helps break the ordinary, mundane routine to engage, talk and weave with the residents. The project involvement can range from merely establishing and making sure that the weaving is progressing, taking new looms into the care-homes and or establishing long-term weaving projects with the care-staff and residents. This project is undertaken by Sandra Thompson who organises the project and the care-home that need the weaving looms. I work with Lorraine Welsh my full-time weaving assistant.
Working in varying environments
Understanding the Arts and Dementia
Working as a team and establishing a continued network
short-term weaving project
Oakland Day centre was my first tartan design project, Oaklands Day Centre contacted me, I was then tasked to create a dynamic seven-session workshop that ran over a few months. My lead role on this project is to take weaving into a day-centre, I help the service users design and weave their tartan, I established an evolving practice that has continued till to-date I facilitated the workshop this project lead onto the intergenerational weaving project.
Feedback: Ashleigh’s visits to the centre created much interest, as many of our service users used to work in the Dundee jute mills as spinners or weavers. Watching Ashleigh work at the loom brought back many fond memories for some people, they enjoyed reminiscing about their past working lives and chatted with him about his work and the weaving process. We even had an impromptu “singalong” rendition of “I am a Dundee Weaver” performed by staff and service users alike. Ashleigh was keen to promote active involvement in the weaving of our tartan. He encouraged service users to sit at the loom, patiently explaining the procedure and gently guiding them through the various stages. The workshops were a very positive, stimulating and meaningful experience for service users as they realised they were able to master the basics of the weaving process and could see first-hand the tangible result of their collective effort.
“I am interested in seeing the process and watching how the loom works, as my late wife was a weaver” (Daniel)
“I can now say, ‘I am a Dundee Weaver’ hee hee” (Tam S)
“I’ve fair got the hang o’ this now” (Elma H)
“It’s nice and relaxing, just watching…and chatting too” (Jean W)
“It’s lovely watching the concentration on peoples’ faces turn to smiles as they manage to accomplish the process and see the tartan emerging” (staff member)
Designing and teaching the tartan workshop to the elderly
Weaving with a time-scale and sensitivity
Starfish Theatre company
2002 - 2006
Starfish theatre company initially Jumpstart ran by Prism Arts. This theatre company was established to run workshops for the service-users with specific needs. In my time with this theatre company I was a participant for a short time getting involved in various theatre plays, I then joined the company as an artist coordinator helping facilitate textile workshops and helping with a large group, and one-to-one arts activities with multiple participants. Over my five years helping out at Starfish as an art volunteer the skills I acquired were varied, from set design, textile workshops, sound and computer technician & impromptu musical stand-ins as a punky pineapple.
Facilitating workshops with the disabled
Developing individual art workshops
Theatre Design & Textile design
Working and developing skills with clients with ‘specific needs’
Computer set design
stART (Strathmore and the Glens Community Arts)
I attended as a participant in stART arts festival in 2007 on my first event I took a workshop in basket weaving, and this is where I start my journey into weaving. From the very first basket workshop to the first steps in another weaving workshop in textiles this was my journey into becoming a weaver. After been a participant in various art festivals in 2010 I started becoming an arts co-ordinator helping design and develop workshops and becoming a committee member in 2011, in 2013 I held my very own workshop in my newly established studio in Blairgowrie, My time with stART has evolved, and it has reflected on my practice. In 2018/2019 I am taking on a lead role in managing an event running in partnership with stART creating community lead workshops.
My practice as an emerging professional artist.
Facilitating large group workshops.
Committee Membership involvement.
Facilitating and managing large-scale projects.
Pitstop weaving shed
2013 - 2014
In 2013 I was contacted by Pitstop in Forfar to help them establish a weaving workshop, my first task was to train up 3 participants to help them gain confidence to facilitate the upcoming workshops. I then was contacted to help establish and promote workshops with Pitstop Youth Project in Forfar. I was drafted in to see if I could organise the weaving shed, fix and maintain weaving equipment, organise and tidy up the basement and develop a funding application to create a permanent base, my other involvement and role was to facilitate weaving drop-in sessions to the youth on a weekly basis on Monday after schools project. This project was short lived due to funding complications.
The synopsis on my funding application “If I get one weaver interested that's the tree growing, weaving is not for everybody people will come and go, and new weavers will start, I cannot guarantee a hive of activity every week. It will have it up's and downs; When the tree has roots, I want to take the tree and plant an orchard. I want to get more funding to run lunch clubs for the elderly, start involving the community, Pitstops has been gifted looms, yarns and brought equipment, we still need to find some funding or sponsors to get the ground tilled fully ready. We need a few more looms to facilitate growth, I want to expand the equipment range, To include other activity for those who have a limited breath on weaving for those who want to come on Monday but weaving is not for them. I want to be able to offer other fibre classes to give everybody a chance a trying out something new. – Felting – Spinning – Knitting – Crochet – Dyeing – The list is endless…“Relationships are built and trust in adults this more easily established - Relationships with the youth is built on learning there tastes Music… football? Just talking to them and having a joke can build and break barriers….”