Thursday, 17 October 2013

Art in Glasgow

Glasgow School of Art Library

I've just arrived home from a few days away in Scotland, a very pleasant and welcome break. The main purpose of the trip was to visit a friend who is building a passive house in a small village not far from Perth but we also took the opportunity to explore the area; Perth, Stanley, Blairegowrie, Dunkeld, Birnam and Pitlochry. Beautiful countryside - mountains covered in trees, lochs and rivers with rocky rough water and picturesque old stone buildings. Just as Scotland is shown in all the tourist brochures.

We also went to Glasgow to visit the Glasgow Print Studio which occupies an impressive three stories of a modern building. The ground and first floor are large, airy gallery spaces with the workshop itself housed on the second floor. Other arts organisations such as Project Ability are based on the remaining three floors including a performance space. Sadly we weren't able to look around the print workshop as there was a class going on; maybe next time.

And of course, we had to have a tour round the Glasgow School of Art building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1897. I'm not a huge fan of Mackintosh but was interested to see how well-preserved the building is, being stamped with the designer's signature embellishments right down to the door knobs and lamps. I was also interested to know how the building functions as an art school today with so much of the original layout and features still intact. Sadly, we had a somewhat sanitised view of it (we weren't allowed in the areas where the students work; fair enough I guess) - there was little evidence that it is (or was) a working art school apart from the odd notice board or group list pinned up. The young woman who conducted the tour, a current student, was confident and poised - nothing like I was at that age! The studios we did see housed only marble statuary or were completely empty so it was difficult to get a sense of how cramped the space might have been or the sort of work the students would have made. Having said that, it was interesting and I recommend it to any Mackintosh fans who find themselves in the vicinity.

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