Peter Jones is one of our resident artists at Tribe Porty. The abiding theme in his work is buildings, he is drawn to the stories they tell and the people they represent. Peter has already published a series of books that focus around Kirkcudbright, Portobello and Falkland. Whilst trying to establish a place to centre the next book around, the thought came to mind, why not a Craigmillar book of paintings?
Craigmillar is not an obvious choice when Edinburgh is renowned for it’s beautiful tourist hotspots like Stockbridge and The Old Town. However, these places have long had their stories told and celebrated, this next book was about not making the obvious choice. Craigmillar is one of many hubs surrounding Edinburgh that can be looked down upon and this project aims to celebrate a place that is often overlooked.
Peter also works with Inspiring Scotland, a national charity and funder of charities which seeks to support those affected by poverty and those that are at a disadvantage. One of its funding programmes is Link Up, which has a core belief that,
“…the ingredients for lasting change already lie in our communities in the shape of the passion, strengths, skills, knowledge and interests of local people, and when people are connected and energised, radical change can and does happen.”- Inspiring Scotland
The spark of an idea to focus a new book on Craigmillar coincided with covid and the first lockdown and changed the pathway for the project. It gave another local community in Gallatown supported by Link Up not just the desire but the need for a painting group. Funded by Link Up and facilitated by Peter, free watercolour starter packs were sent out to people in Gallatown. The Gallatown Watercolour Group had continued support from Peter with weekly painting tips and a facebook group for sharing and discussing. This led to the beginning of Craigmillar Art Group. Over time, and another lockdown, this developed into zoom sessions with discussions on artists and remote drawing sessions in both communities.
As the restrictions of the pandemic eased, the Craigmillar Art Group started to meet together for a series of outdoor workshops entitled ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ which were supported by Link Up and Connecting Craigmillar. These took place in Magdalene Community Garden, Portobello Community Garden on the prom and Craigmillar Castle Park.
Due to the circumstances of the pandemic, not only was a community of artists connected but the beauty of the everyday and what we have on our doorstep was celebrated. A common occurrence that happened during lockdowns was that people noticed small and local interests that were once overlooked. Instead of being ignored, we found a way to celebrate and appreciate them. This is where Peter’s two worlds coincided and the two projects became organically intertwined.
From these events, Peter’s next book became a collective project and will host not only his own work, but work from the Craigmillar Art Group. The book will feature drawings and paintings of local buildings nominated by residents and has received funding from Creative Scotland.
If you would like to pick up your sketchbook and get involved with this growing community, you can join the on location workshops happening in May/June. The book launch will take place at Craigmillar & Niddrie Arts Festival in August and you can find Peter’s work at Art Walk Porty this September.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you at our next Tribe Talks hosted by Ori Halup on June 30th. This Tribe Talks is an evening all about coffee. We will be talking about coffee sourcing, processing, roasting and brewing methods and of course tasting a large range of coffees. Ori will aim to help you understand better what it is that influences the flavour of coffee you drink all the way from farm to cup while talking a bit about how the sourcing works. From fair-trade to direct trade and everything in between.
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