Hello everyone. I’m Sam and this is the first time I’ve written on the KDD & Co blog.
Why does this feel like I’m sitting in a circle telling people I’m an alcoholic?
“It’s been 22 hours since my last drink.”
I’ve been working here at KDD & Co for over a year now. I’ve been a blazing dunderheid* for much longer. Since being asked to look after the wholesale side of the business you will most frequently find me in our Glasgow warehouse shipping our books to retailers. That’s not all I do – my tidying, sweeping and vacuuming talents are legendary in these parts. I also use humour as a defence mechanism to mask my working-class discomfort. (Shite– I let the cat out of the bag.)
Today’s post is inspired by a visit to a local art and craft exhibition and reading the “Elevate” chapter in Kate’s recent book, Wheesht:
“…by simply communicating to an audience [all] creative acts contain within them an immediate element of collaboration to even exist at all. To a greater or lesser extent, then, all of the work we make is a result of the cultural context within which it has been formed and nurtured.”
Kate Davies – Wheesht: creative making in uncertain times
The creative act of making this post is itself a collaboration. From assisting Jane in her art practice and here in the KDD warehouse, to learning about photography and borrowing Tom’s old camera, to working with Kate and learning about the many different kinds of collaboration in her books – I am able to bring you this post because of the spirit of collaboration integral to KDD & Co.
I am also inspired by the greater community of makers I’ve been fortunate enough to visit throughout Scotland. Today, my focus is a community project that stands at the heart of West Kilbride. This wee place and its people have been working together for two decades to find ways of weathering the storm of hardship and economic downturn – to celebrate shared culture, creativity and craft.
It is with this spirit of community that I’d like to share with you a selection of the work currently on show at the Barony Centre’s exhibition, Making Waves.
West Kilbride was good to us. Jane and I first shared a studio in the Craft Town some years ago, as you can see in this post from Kate in 2017. This wee village is a hotbed of creativity which helped nurture and inform our own creative endeavours.
It was great to see a selection of Jane’s new work here in the Barony centre. These pieces gain a new context from their situation in this welcoming space, and a set of new meanings too, by being positioned alongside the work of her talented local peers in the exhibition.
One thing that was quite apparent at this show is that many of the makers really undervalue their own labour. Some of the works here are too cheap, considering the time, effort and skill that I know went into them. So here I am – like some kind of working class hero for creatives of Scotland – hoping to boost the confidence of makers by featuring my fairly shonky photographs of their work on a popular knitting blog!
“Who does he think he is – Airchie?!”
Themes of community, collaboration and creativity are also at the heart of a year long project Tom and I have been spending much of our time working on – People Make Glasgow. A snapshot of Glasgow’s broader historical and geographical context at a particular moment, in our forthcoming book we investigate and celebrate making in Scotland’s biggest, most diverse, and most creative city.
Making Waves is showing until 21st March 2020 at the Barony Centre, West Kilbride, Ayrshire.
(If you’re thinking of visiting and have never been to West Kilbride before, please don’t imagine it must be next door to East Kilbride – ‘cos it ain’t – and you’ll be in for a heck of a detour!)
If you would like to inquire about any of the works above, please contact Claire Edgar at Craft Town Scotland.
My thanks to Kate for allowing the patter of a gingery boy* from a forgotten Ayrshire valley to grace the blog.
*dunderheid = idiot
*boy = 40 year old man not fully grown