Made in Helmsdale is a portrait of Timespan’s parish through its makers, environment and history. Our taxonomy of Helmsdale synthesises arts and crafts; Barbara Cartland; natural history and earth sciences; La Mirage fish and chups; industry and resistance.
Made in Helmsdale is a collaborative experiment with our constituents to test how we engage and make meaning from our material world, and how this can shape the formation of local identities and how we relate to a place. The project focuses on the materiality of Helmsdale and looks at its political implications within the economic, historical and ecological abstractions of 21st century capitalism.
The collective rag bag bunch of those that have contributed to this living and historical collection include botanists, weavers, Barbara Cartland’s pals and family, the best chippy in the Highlands, polytunnel veg whizzes, shell picture makers, the knitting gals, fastidious weather recorders, seamstresses, local historians, geology enthusiasts, painters, archaeologists, fossil collectors, joiners, potters, jewellers and fishermen. There is no distinction between work that hangs in national collections or above granny’s mantlepiece and we’re erring on the side of celebrating the ‘un-professionalised’.
Made in Helmsdale will be a riot of activity with a programme of workshops in ceramic midgies and chups, pickling, foraging and food activism; a regular film club showing cinema from international community film collectives; a historical talk on the Highland Land League in relation to contemporary land reform activism and symposiums on the politics of craft and the materiality of place.
With special thanks to Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and Dundee University Collections for the loan of botany specimens and illustrations.