21-29 September 2019
Falkirk’s inaugural Arts festival looks like its been going for years. Relaxed, friendly, and informative, artists and craftsy folk take over the streets of Falkirk with aplomb and bombast. Visiting the Falkirk Sewing studio in Callendar Square shopping Centre (Venue 15) with an agenda, I wanted to use the services of furniture restorer Honey Georgina Lyon. She is one of many artisans who rent a space within a space in the shopping centre, brainchild of Uatandua Kahere, a young entrepreneur with a ready smile and can do attitude.
After leaving my chair with Lyons I got chatting with Jaya’s Clay (Jaya Navindgi) who has been making murals with her unique clay recipe from India for over twenty years. Navindgi runs classes in pottery mural/3D picture making and she was happy to stop her work and show examples of her students work in progress.Roya, an art restorer has found her inspiration for her abstract Kandinsky like paintings from Kahere’s patchwork and unique take on kiltmaking with foreign flags. This is the first upcycled Union Jack that I truly appreciated. Vintage Eva has been experimenting with encaustic art and her postcard sized pieces are cute and a throwback to the nineties when a fair percent of the artistic community were brandishing irons and wax.
Over in Venue 5 Howgate Shopping Centre you can enthuse over Galyna Lee who is a self taught artist with a love of elephants. Having lived in Scotland for the last twelve years she uses mixed media and photography to portray and explore her love of animals and landscape. Rhona Morrisons range of work is a stand out at the Falkirk Arts Festival. The Cumbernauld based artist returned to creating work when she retired in 2018 after working in the NHS for over 30 years as a consultant forensic psychologist. Her work is worlds away from her former career path. Dr Morrison’s practice utilizes a wide range of mediums, ranging from felting, acrylic and pen and ink but for me the pieces that stand out at the monochromatic watercolours of various scottish locations. These clean and beautifully executed images are a must see. A selection of her work can be found in Venue 11 ( Corner Cafe, 9 Kirk Wynd).
Summing up I would say that this Arts festival has started off well organised , clearly signposted and if this is the start of a symbiotic relationship with Falkirk and the rest of Scotland then it is in good stead to keep its friendly atmosphere as it organically grows into a bigger monster hopefully as successful as the Kelpies.