Katie Anderson

Artist based in South West Scotland; interested in people, places, materials and collaborative practice.

Tag: casting

The Stories of Our Places are Hidden in the Collections We Make

Regular, or even occasional visitors to the Dumfries Hospital may have noticed a new addition in the ward areas in the past month. I was delighted to finally see the DGRI Collection Tables installed, following their completion by fabricators at the Glasgow Sculpture Studios (thanks Dave and Martyn). If you are about visiting an ill friend or relative, or are perhaps spending some time there yourself, have a look for the socialisation spaces in each ward, as nine of these contain one of our tables. There are also bonus points for anyone who spots the two tables out at Moffat and Stranraer community hospitals.

These are one of three commissions which I have been developing over the past two years for the new hospital, and comprises of a series of 11 coffee tables (nine of which are in the DGRI), filled with individual collections, filled with objects, found and gathered, and made specifically for the project.

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One of the tables in situ amongst a collection of odd NHS furniture and thank you cards

For this project I have worked with students from HNC and HND art classes at the Dumfries College, and young artists as part of blueprint100’s open workshops at the Stove. Students and artists were invited to create an object that reflected ideas of health and wellbeing, that could be a positive message for someone to spot whilst spending time staying in the hospital, or that reflected their experiences in Dumfries and Galloway. The found objects are a mixture of natural materials gathered from around the region, old postcards and curiosities linked to places around the region. We then hosted casting sessions in the Dock Park and outside in the College grounds making their objects in pewter.


Inspiration from the Viking Hoard found in Galloway, during workshops with DG College students

I was really touched by the thoughtful and considerate approach students and artists made towards the project, and the love and care each person put into their objects. The concept of giving a gift of a positive message, or moment of distraction to a stranger who might be spending extended time in the hospital struck a serious chord with many of those participating. The generosity and creativity of everyone involved was very humbling, and a treasured part of the project.

The furniture itself was designed by Dress for the Weather and made by the GSS team from a coloured MDF material valchromat, which takes on a lovely soft and tactile finish when the medical varnish, Steriguard is applied to it.

The lettering in the casing is all hand painted, a copperplate font at a miniscule 12mm letter height, and will be etched on my brain forever.

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What is of real significance in projects like these however, is a more complex notion of ownership and association. Often, a little ‘community engagement’ is sought at the beginning of such large projects. ‘Could you just run a workshop with some key stakeholders to involve them in the project?’ This can be a great starting point. But the notions that this is the beginning, middle and end of ‘community’ involvement undermines the investment, and care of all of those involved. Whoever the community might be, in this case from staff and daily users, to patients, family and friends, and the wider community – almost all of whom will use these public spaces at various points in their life, to offer a tokenistic approach towards involving other people is insensitive and in the longterm, entirely un-useful to artworks.

Community engagement is not an afterthought.

For me as an artist, whenever I involve others in my work, by invitation, direct collaborative working, conversations in passing, or any other form, these people are then welcome to be a part of the ‘artist’ role, they too are invited to have a share of the ownership of the work, and to share in the journey of the works life. This is of course, not a requirement, but is open as a means of us creating a more meaningful artwork collectively.


Token inspired by the histories of Lincluden and Lochside, created by Jimmy Russell

Over 60 people contributed unique works for the DGRI collection cabinets. I hope that everyone who has contributed a piece to the collection cabinets will have the chance to seek out their own contributions within the hospital, and share their individual stories. The tables hope to be there for the foreseeable future as a record of our moment of shared collaborative practice.

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Installation in progress

Ours is a transient community. But it would be disingenuous to claim credit for anyone else within this. I’m still hoping to get some form of permanent marking to tell the stories of those involved in contributing to the project, although unfortunately I don’t have a complete list of names.

Sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the work, without you all it wouldn’t have been the success it has become.


Stag’s head by Isla Gracie

Special thanks to Jo Shennan, who leads the art courses at DG College. Thanks also to the blueprint100 team, and Matthew and Sophie for their support with leading the workshops, and the Stove for ongoing use of the Pedal Powered Foundry.

Land Form Plastic

Every artists action leaves behind it a material trace.

New work that I have been developing is being exhibited as part of an upcoming show at the newly refurbished Kirkcudbright Galleries.

The group show, Energise, curated by Upland opens 13th October and runs for a month until 9th December.

Full details available here

Tattiefields: Developments


Experiments with concrete

Sandblasting and stencilling in the detailed work for the new pieces going to the tattiefields site next month.

The patterns reference the original landscaping design, the artwork locations and the wider map network that makes up the tattie map of the world! (With Lochside at the centre, of course).


Special thanks to Alistair of Grit ‘n’ Polish, highly recommended for any shot blasting requirements you may have. The stencils pick out really delicate details, with sharp edges and great focus.


The particularly beautiful surfaces of the concrete are in the casting, made by the extremely talented Billy Teasdale, caster-extraordinaire based in Govanhill who has put so much time and work into completing the pieces in time for the installation.


Final surface preparations to go ahead of the grand unveiling, on Thursday 13th September.

Casting in progress


Have paired up with blueprint100 to kick some work creating a collection for the new DGRI, due to open at the end of the year. Working with several different groups across the region, I am hoping to build up a collection of curiosities; small objects and ephemera, that can create conversation and distraction within some of the spaces in the new hospital.


blueprint100 are the first group I have worked with on this project, but hoping to connect with several others to make up all of the work required over the next couple of months. The objects are all being created using the Stove’s Pedal Powered Foundry – a unique and quirky kit that can enable small scale metal castings in a variety of metals and using a variety of processes.


The blueprint100 sessions fell neatly into two parts, the first in the studio, the second down on the Mill Green in blazing sunshine.


Above, Agné’s tree, and below Jimmy’s Lochside and Lincluden crest.


Thank you to everyone who donated a piece towards the collection, and the blueprint100 team for their support. Also thanks to Sophie for being my helpful assistant throughout both workshops. More workshops and objects coming soon!




During early Spring 2014 – yikes – I spent an intense month at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. Taking time out of the everyday allowed for the pursuit of obsession. I started out without direction, walking daily and experiencing my new environment as a heightened, noticing light changes, wind movements, the bright, still winter sun shining almost warm in clear skies. My residency became a desire to create an instrument to observe or experience environment in a new way. For a variety of reasons, this plan ultimately failed. But the obsession stuck. I returned back to regular speed with a hand full of test pieces, new methods, and strands – as yet unconnected.

My favourite objects were the horns. The amplification of sound – whether projected out, or listened through, was slight, and distorted, but allowed for a new listening to space. Potential. Each placing of the horns was somehow unsatisfactory, so they have sat as talking pieces to be moved around regularly, to become part of the furniture.



Sound Horn.

Some things just take time. The residency’s work continues, and the place for horns is almost here.

Sound vessels

wave decay




Creating New Narratives

A brief opportunity to write on the connectedness of artist and art object.

The act of making is a process of learning, knowing and bonding with material, action and time. Time spent on the creation of new work forms a contemplative emotional response to the final outcome/s. Each piece created in the studio becomes an attachment, an obsession, and finally an extension of the self. With each piece of work I send out into the world, so goes a little piece of myself.


In which the artist drinks from her own curated bottle collection the earthy waters from Hart Fell.

Encountering works in their new locations or homes – however rare an occurance – is like meeting an old friend, memory soft-focused but intact, engaged, attached.


This summer I set out to make a commissioned piece for Jan Hogarth’s Quest project. The work involved some exciting new challenges (ceramic shells can be done use The Stove’s pedal powered foundry, although smokeless coal is the preferable fuel), and new discoveries. After the event, the work which consisted of a set of pewter cast drinking vessels and vintage glass torpedo bottles were dispersed with the winds, finding new homes and new owners after the projects conclusion.


Process. Bonding. Knowing. Know your material.


Shaping, growing. Even accidents are not accidental.

In this way, each carrier becomes the storyteller, and are key to the history and narrative of the work. In taking a piece onwards, so they carry a little responsibility to share the stories, experiences made real through secondhand experiences, and a little part of me as maker, embedded in the heart of each piece, shaped as they are by my own sense of meaning, knowing and questioning.

justin 1

Gift. Breathe. Hart Fell water runs through you.

AMc - it takes a good casting to offer a firm grip on...

Eternity. Late night exchanges under dark skies at EAFS.

I’m hoping not that the works will be returned but that each recipient will carry the work with them, to be re-interpretted in the stories of the future where we can meet again. These are the gifts of the artist, sent out in trust, in hope of creating new narratives.

Thank you Jan for the opportunity to create something new and beautiful for Quest. More about Jan and her work available on her website here And special thanks to all those who tasted, shared and exchanged Hart Fell from these pieces. Keep them safe and tell their stories x

New Coins for Lockerbie – Part 3

Blogging back-log. Nearly a month ago, the final work was unveiled at Lockerbie Academy, the work of three artists (myself, Morag Macpherson and Kirsty Turpie), the teaching staff at Lockerbie Academy, and nearly 150 students from the school who were involved variously designing fabrics, collaging and casting. The final piece now has pride of place in the schools main foyer.

Image credit: Barry Young

Image credit: Barry Young  

It’s been a rewarding project ultimately, as over a period of five weeks we built up relationships with students, got pretty indepth into our cuttlefish knowledge, actively encouraged risk-taking and mistake making designs, and for everyone to find ‘one think they liked about their work’… They surprised me too in the end, as we had arguements over sharing art work, and heated discussions about the value of public art, and the point of art making in the first place. Pretty deep stuff from an intelligent bunch. Even if they did think MacDonald’s would ultimately make Lockerbie the town of their dreams.

Image: Barry Young

Image: Barry Young

Image: Barry Young

 Image: Barry Young

There was a pretty orange theme running through my workshops. On a side note, has anyone ever managed to buy these gloves in SMALL sizes? Really, large ones are clearly designed for giants.


What is art for? Why do we make art? Who do we make art for? I worked with three first year class groups, all of whom were buzzing with ideas and potential answers for these questions, as well as suggestions for improvement in their own locale. Debate over the cost of bronze sheep these days rose high over the classroom, I as the ever unhelpful answer could give no definitive value as to the current market value of bronze… but hey, artists can’t know all the answers, right?

Finally, a big THANK YOU to Spring Fling, the amazing enthusiastic arts department at Lockerbie Academy, the three classes I worked with and the wonderful students, Kirsty, Morag for all your patience and insight, and Barry Young for taking the photographs. Thank you!

New Coins for Lockerbie – Part Two

Do something challenging.

Do something new.

Do something that scares you. (Secondary schools are scary. Fact.)

The five week residency at Lockerbie Academy has come to an end, all that’s left is for Morag’s banner to come back from the printers, and the works to be assembled and installed in the school later this month. It’s been a great experience learning from and working with a fantastic bunch of students and teachers at the Academy. Looking back at the first sessions of “I can’t”, of blank walls of silence, it’s near impossible to imagine that these are the same people, flicking through sculpture magazines, questioning the value of public art in their communities, oozing pride and keen to take coins home to show to parents and family, focused and attentive to miniscule details in their pewter castings. We had quite a journey.




JUIN P 203lowres



Big thank you’s to Carol, Pete and the staff at Lockerbie Academy, the fantastic classes 1B, 1F and 1G, Morag MacPherson and Kirsty Turpie who have been great to work alongside with, and the Spring Fling team. Images of the final work to follow with the install later this month.


New Coins for Lockerbie – Part 1







It’s good to try new things. I’ve recently teamed up with artists Morag McPherson and Kirsty Turpie to work in residence at Lockerbie Academy over five weeks with thanks to Spring Fling. Working with some great teachers, and three groups of first year students we’ve been exploring the history of coins, and are in the process of casting our own collection of individual Lockerbie coins with the help of the Stove’s mobile foundry.


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We’ve had a lot of chat about the use of coins, the origins of their decoration and the alteration and changing face of coins and currency.




Also a bit of chat about Lockerbie’s school emblem, the flying spur and an open book, adapted from the Johnstone (Earl of Annandale) family crest. Always be prepared.

1509765_10152682727949652_5019504030893182458_n Most popular Lockerbie iconography amongst our first years? Sheep, curling, cheese and McDonalds. Go figure. We’ve since been hard at work transfering designs to our cuttlefish moulds already to get pouring when we get back from the luxurious school Christmas holidays.

More to come!

Uula Jero and his magnificent pedal-powered Foundry

Casting has excited me since art school. The excessive amounts of process, technical skill application (or not, as is often in my case), and the transformation of objects through process has had me hooked. Last year, the stove network teamed up with Roddy Mathieson‘s inspirational Mobile Foundry as part of the Creetown Ferrythorn project, where we cast a new bronze bell for the village out of the old blacksmith’s shop (full details of the project available here).

Metal casting can be seen as a bit magical, mystical and unknown; the skill levels required, the production and preparation in casting – for example – a bell, are hugely time consuming and outwith most people’s capabilities. It’s never really stopped me from trying anyways… The lack of kit and facilities also gets in the way. But, never one’s to do things by halves, the stove hit upon the notion of creating a foundry to become part of our growing kit this year and after a bit of searching around we met Uula Jero.

Specialising in pedal-powered machines and utility bikes, Uula came up with the grand idea of a pedal-powered foundry, that could be cycled about town, and after a few design sessions, set up in his workshop near Balmaclellan. Meanwhile we began honeing our casting skills…


Honeing the power of the foundry also took a few shots…


A ‘little’ practice saw our cuttlefish shell casting techniques improve astronomically when testing pewter buttons for the Nithraid prize

Sand casting early spoon tests… we'll maybe leave that one till next time...

Sand casting early spoon tests… we’ll maybe leave that one till next time…

Although, as fun as it is to shut the door to the workshop, and fill my car with cuttlefish bones (cuttlefish girl had better not be the sort of name that sticks…), this was only ever preparation ahead of taking the foundry on it’s inaugral outing to the stove’s Nithraid in Dumfries.

Organised chaos ensued. As the Whitesands flooded with people, rather than river as it is so renowned, word spread, and nearly 80 people designed and created their own Nithraid buttons over the course of the afternoon.


Image: Galina Walls.

Huge thanks to the whole team who helped out on Nithraid day, and made the whole thing manageable, including Ruth, Hannah, Sara and David.

Back to the drawing board.

Because of course, doing something once is one thing, but after a few tweaks, alterations, a lot more cuttlefish, and a material change (did you know you can cast thirty spoons out of a single bicycle frame?) – Uula and his family departed for Wigtown Book Festival as part of the stove’s Trading Journeys – on bikes.

These were of course, no ordinary bikes - with the pedal powered foundry in one, and Uunti and Arnii in the other - they headed across the Galloway Forest Park.

These were of course, no ordinary bikes – with the pedal powered foundry in one, and Uunti and Arnii in the other – they headed across the Galloway Forest Park. Image: Colin Hattersley


The pedal-powered bouncy castle fan fed oxygen into the charcoal fueled furnace Image: Colin Tennant


The first of the spoons are unveiled. A limited edition run of 45 aluminium spoons were cast as part of the Trading Journeys project. Image: Colin Tennant


Matt Baker’s lucky 45 spoon