Langholm Made – Artists Invite Residents to Celebrate Creativity Past and Present

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Langholm residents are being invited to contribute to an arts project that celebrates “making” and creativity in the town – past and present.

Emma Dove, from near Thornhill, and Deirdre Nelson from Glasgow, are the filmmaker and artists behind Langholm Made.

A Facebook page and introductory video have already been created to explain the project and allow people to get involved.

Deirdre, who has previously worked with schools in the area, wants to find out about all the creative things done by people in the town (in some cases these may have prompted by the pandemic).

She said: “People are incredibly creative. They paint, knit, embroider, make fabulous jams, soups and bread as well as upcycling, restoring, building sheds, growing food in the garden, making curtains and cushions and even doing repairs and restoration. They put something of themselves into all these things.
“People often don’t think that what they do is special or significant, but it is. These actions and activities come together to make our local cultures and I very much want celebrate all of it.”

Emma is asking people with memories, stories and knowledge about the area’s textiles industry to get in touch so she can make recordings that will help create an oral history archive.

She said: “They might be former workers or their families from the town’s heyday as a hub of textile manufacturing. Or you might be someone with more recent connections, or with a particular story or knowledge of our textile heritage. Whatever it is, I’d love to hear from you.”

Conversations will take place by video call or phone and people can chat to Emma individually or in pairs – perhaps with a family member, a friend or a former work colleague.

The project which is being led by Upland involves collaboration with Outpost Arts and the Langholm Initiative Textiles Eskdale Project.

Something that has already caught the team’s attention, is that decorated slates and stones bearing uplifting messages have been left anonymously on Langholm residents’ doorsteps during the pandemic.

Judith Johnson, Langholm Initiative Project Manager who runs Textiles Eskdale, said: “This is a super project. It’s brilliant that Deirdre is going to highlight and celebrate what people do here.
“And I’m delighted that Emma is going to be capturing people’s memories and experiences of the textiles industry. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a long time and I know there’s a huge amount out there.
“If anyone wants to find out a bit more about the project before contacting Emma and Deirdre I’d be very happy for them to get in touch with me.”

The artists will be gathering information from now until the end of May. Deidre will then create an artwork inspired by people’s making and by the stories Emma collects. It is hoped that this will be exhibited in Langholm later in the year.

Langholm Made is part of the wider Making Connections project being run by Dumfries and Galloway’s Upland CIC art and craft development organisation.

Amy Marletta, Uplands Creative Director, said: “Langholm Made is brilliant because it’s all about the town, its people and the creative and artistic things they do now or have done in the past, whether it’s in a textile mill, a garden, shed, studio, kitchen or sitting in their favourite armchair.
“Our hobbies, pastimes are as much the essence of our lives and culture as our work. And over the past year they have become more important than ever, bringing pleasure and fulfilment during some very difficult times.”

Get involved

To share your making, take part in the conversations or just find out more:

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