Community Arts Project

The Scheme's Community Art Project will see three permanent pieces of art installed near, or on, the new flood defences.

It is hoped that this project will:

  • Provide a creative mechanism for the Scheme to continue to engage with the local community;
  • Help create a sense of community ownership over the flood defence infrastructure and the public spaces created, or regenerated by the Scheme;
  • Help 'soften' and enhance the flood defence infrastructure;
  • Help the Scheme to link and blend with the local natural and built environment;
  • Provide a link to the town's heritage and environment;
  • Enable the creation of high quality art works;
  • Enhance footfall and visitor engagement with the Scheme through the wide promotion of these art works.

The project is being taken forward in three stages:

  • Stage 1 - Conceptual proposals - Autumn 2016
  • Stage 2 - Development of proposals to full designs - January to April 2017
  • Stage 3 - Construction / Installation - From April 2017

Stage 1 was undertaken in Autumn 2016 - we received 18 proposals and following a full review invited 11 artists (and a total of 13 proposals) to progress to Stage 2.

Stage 2 will continue until early April 2017. During this stage the artists will develop their conceptual proposals to a full detailed design. These designs will be presented to the local community during our Public Exhibition at Philiphaugh Community Centre on 27th and 28th February. This will offer the public the opportunity to give the artists feedback on their proposals before the Stage 2 deadline in mid-March.

Also during Stage 2, many of the artists are leading workshops and other sessions for local school children and the wider community. These are intended to give the community the chance to help the artists develop and finalise their proposals.

In early April, three contracts will be awarded and during the spring / summer three artworks will be installed (one in each zone).

The Proposals

Three zones have been identified as shown on the plan below:

Community Art Project Zones

Details of the 13 proposals being considered are provided below.

We would encourage you to provide comments on the proposals using the feedback page.

Zone 1 - Long Philip Burn - 4 proposals

The Spirit of Black Bob Walk, Black Bob Heritage Group

Spirit of Black Bob Walk

Provide a family of robust forms and objects that evoke the world of shepherding, largely unchanged since the fictional Black Bob lived near here. The art will be placed to complement and enhance the routes through the landscape. We will work with groups and artists to develop all elements.

In particular - build a large well-crafted stell with permanent seating and robust ground surface to support a wide range of uses. Work with the community to explore ideas for the use of the stell and provide a launch event. Commission and build a large unique stone piece that embodies the qualities of a cairn. Make three large durable sculptural objects spaced along the footpath. Each will use tough materials and objects common to sheep farming. Each will embody ideas through facilitated sessions with schools and the community. Provide an introductory panel at the entrance from Bannerfield. Create a durable graphic display near the stell. This will set the scene and focus on the spirit of Black Bob and elements of the wider context of sheep, shepherding and rural life, and maybe a dash of his adventures.

Hives of Industry, Gordon Rogers - Structure and Agency Ltd.

Zone 1 Roger

This work will use the new re-meandered route of the Long Philip Burn as the basis for a timeline of Selkirk's Industrial History.

This will take the form of several artworks celebrating the links between the town's industries, the surrounding natural resources (the river and the wider landscape) and the way that geography was has been woven together by the town's mills - combining the river's power, the landscape's flora and fauna and the skill and labour of the town's people.

Sculptural representations would be made of key industrial buildings from points in the town's history and development - in particular the buildings and industries that took their power and resources from the river.

The artworks will take the form of a series of sculptural beehives - each representing key industrial buildings past and present. The colonies of bees within will represent the industrious labour of the townsfolk, drawing in the local raw materials, and with their labour, and refining them into honey.

Surrounding the timeline sculptures a planting scheme of symbolic species of flowering plants and trees as forage for the bees and will represent the resources consumed by consumed by Selkirk's industries and will include plants that are natural sources of dyes for the woollen industries, among them Alder, Blaeberries, Wode and Madder.

The Pikeman, Ruaraig Maciver - Beltane Studios Ltd

Zone 1 Maciver

I would like to site the sculpture at the circular clearing on the higher ground toward the western end of the zone. The sketch indicates how the sculpture would be viewed on approach from the lower path.

I have chosen to explore the theme of the Battle of Philiphaugh but in a way that avoids glorification of warfare or the celebration of a victory of one side over another. My proposed sculpture is of a foot soldier from either army, who in the chaos of the battle has lost his sword and is desperately trying to defend himself with a broken Pike. Common soldiers in this conflict would have been driven less by ideology than by the need to provide for their families. Unfortunately they were far more likely to lose their lives than their superiors. At the end of the battle the Royalist foot soldiers who had been abandoned by their cavalry asked for, and were granted, quarter. They and the camp followers including women and children were marched to Norham where they were executed at a place still known as Dead Man's Field.

Mungo Park Sculpture Trail, Natasha Smith

Zone 1 Smith

I am a Border's sculptor and my work will be in the park of Long Philip Burn.

My proposal is based on the adventures of Mungo Park and his exploration of Africa in the 18th century to map the course of the River Niger. I associate the Burn with the Niger and will create a series of stone works within the park. These will comprise text carved on the cope stones , and 5 mile stones, drawing the visitor in. There will also be 2 slate benches , one near the beginning of the park with Foulsheils carved on it, and one at the end with Timbuktu The quest will be to find Timbuktu and with it the last mile stone and a stone sundial. There will be an accompanying trial leaflet. I wish to take you on a journey of discovery along the meandering burn and excite your interest in the inspiring adventurer, Mungo Park. The qualities this young man from Selkirk had are worth celebrating and relevant today. Each milestone will show one aspect of his character and have a carving of elements from his travels as detailed in his celebrated book - Travels in the Interior of Africa. Three of these will be designed by the children and young people of Selkirk.

Zone 2 - Bannerfield Plaza - 4 proposals

Marion Parola - Bespoke Atelier Ltd.

Bespoke Atelier Proposal

We discovered the bank of the river Ettrick with a local walking group. One of the striking architectural features are the pitched roofs of the mills as well as the varying levels which the town was built on. During a workshop with the after school club, we looked at re-creating with paper the structures of woven patterns inspired by the local textile industry. The children also created 3D models to inspire the idea of a sculpture on the bank of the river. The site chosen is a natural meeting point due to its location being at the junction of two paths and near the staircase of the footbridge at Bridge Street. From our research and community engagement we have decided to create a wooden sculpture designed to gather, pause and play. The overall shape of the piece is playful, inviting people to use the artwork in their own way. Semi-circular forms invite children to move under the sculpture, pitched surface areas promote lounging in different ways while flatter areas allow for more traditional sitting positions. The skeleton of the piece is made of steel which is then covered with oak sections cut in a variety of woven inspired patterns.

The River Calling, Lara Green

Lara Green - The River Calling

I propose a dynamic curvaceous sculpture in stainless & galvanised steel, inspired by flowing water.

Parts of the sculpture would be designed to capture the sound of the river and enhance it. Instead of the horn of the mills calling people to work, today the river calls us to come and play, to walk, explore; activities which enhances our wellbeing. It is also the quiet call for help, as many species it supports are under threat.

The sculpture would be tactile; you could sit, lie, climb on or under it, explore the shapes and read the text and listen to the sound. The sculpture would incorporate text written by Selkirk residents or derived from conversations about the river in their lives today and throughout history. Text would be etched into panels and cut out of the metal. Completion of the Flood Protection Scheme is an ideal moment to re-evaluate the town's relationship to the river. I plan a series of workshops and a community event at the riverside intended to foster a sense of connectivity.

The final sculpture would draw attention to & celebrate the amazing river environment of Selkirk.

The Meeting, Susheila Jamieson & James Gordon - Jamieson & Gordon Ltd.

Zone 2 Jamieson Gordon 1

The work is about the river and the salmon run. It is also about environmental change and its impact through flooding.

It is positioned close to the Arches on the Bannerfield side of the river. Final location still to be decided. Local whinstone boulders are used as a support for a tree/river-like form of thick oak boarding. Riven and hand finished oak is taken from a tree on the Philiphaugh estate. It will be split and worked over the summer close to the sawmill. The structure will be strong, fixed with stainless steel rods and resin anchors. It can be sat on, played on and met at. The stones will be carefully positioned and carved and polished in a simple way to echo the flow of water, whinstone polishes like glass.

The community have been involved from the start in conversations about natural materials and the river. They offered the name - a place name for the spot where tributaries join upstream from Selkirk. Schools/youth group and a local care home have been involved in discussions about the design. It is likely to be possible for older children and adults to help carve the designs. The creation/production of the artwork will take place over a 2-3 week period in the summer with the artists working permanently on site.

The Great Ettrick River Mosaic, Joy Parker

Zone 2 Parker

The Great Ettrick River Mosaic celebrates life in and around the river, its changing moods, colours, shapes and movement. It will rise up the ramp wall on the north side of Bridge Street Footbridge.

Creation takes time, and participants from the community, young and old, will contribute drawings, photographs, ideas and - eventually - the mosaics themselves.

The journey has begun. Participants, who live or work or play in Bannerfield, are keen to create. The design shows just a few of their ideas - it would be impossible to show all their inspiring productions here.

The finished work will feature mosaic circles between 30cm and 90cm in diameter, stuck onto mesh that will be embedded in cement adhesive on the wall. These circles will be made by individuals or pairs in the WASPS studios and each will have its own unique style. Around these circles, Selkirk artists Joy Parker and Carole Pollock will apply shards of broken mirror and mosaic tiles directly onto the wall, making shifting patterns and currents that will lead the eye up into Selkirk. But look closely into this watery world, and you might see a frog, some tiddlers or even a few freshwater pearl mussels!

Zone 3 - Riverside Corridor - 5 proposals

Proposal 1, Steve Tomlinson

Zone 3 Steve Tomlinson - Proposal 1

Two life sized horse sculptures that work as both focal points and as part of a trail along the river to celebrate The Selkirk Common Riding.

The 2m high works would be fabricated in zero maintenance corten steel, which forms its own protective oxide coating.

Each horse would sit on a plate of corten, to prevent grass from growing, and would have corten lettering welded to it in the form of sentences or poetry on the Common Ridings theme.

Proposal 2, Steve Tomlinson

Zone 3 Steve Tomlinson - Proposal 2

A series of four 2m high standing panels in the shape of the profile of a horse.

The outer frame support would be fabricated in flat steel bar (100mm x 12mm). The internal areas of the horses would contain imagery about Selkirk - its past, present and future (in flat steel plate) that are developed from the community consultations.

The horses would be fabricated in low maintenance acid etched galvanized steel. They would stand on a narrower plate than Proposal One above, but similarly, could have text applied to its surface.

The Standard Bearer, Ruaraig Maciver - Beltane Studios Ltd.

Zone 3 Maciver

The Common Riding crossing point is the focal point of this zone and it is here that I would like to site my proposed sculpture. I would build out a stone clad platform from the level of the footpath toward the river at the top of the slope where the riders descend to the ford. The sculpture would be visible to the riders from some distance upstream and would rise up against the sky as they pass beneath it. Viewed from upstream the sculpture would appear as in the sketch with the horse and the Standard Bearer pointing to the crossing point.

I would hope that this sculpture would add to the sense of drama and pageantry of the day and help fix it in the memories of the people involved. Using galvanised steel in this open manner would enable a sculpture of significant scale, in this case life size , to be built . The ability to see inside and through sculpture like this adds to the appreciation of the forms and volumes created.

For visitors to Selkirk I would propose to provide a bronze plaque outlining the traditions of the Selkirk Common Riding.

Selkirk Common Riding Mural, Chris Rutterford

Zone 3 Rutterford

Chris Rutterford, one of Scotland's foremost muralists, has gained widespread acclaim for his spectacular artworks, many of which feature depictions of large scale crowds and community parties.

Chris has designed a Selkirk Common Riding mural for the wall in zone 3. The mural would be approximately 150m long and built onto a series of independent marine plywood panels. The aspiration of the mural is to forge a seamless marriage between professional painting and community-generated artwork that celebrates the Common Riding.

Chris will professionally render the dynamism of the events while also painting the portraits of notable characters from the ridings and marching bands. He will then collaborate with local schools and invite the broader public to join in painting during a two month open studio in town. Participants will be invited to paint themselves and family members into the mural, building a spectacular and vibrant crowd of spectators through 'selfie' portraits. Their engagement and artistic application will be intrinsic to the success of the project. The painting would then be thoroughly weatherproofed and hung on the wall, creating a new landmark and tourist attraction. To ensure that the mural has a broader footprint, the project will be documented in a fun time lapse video.

A Selkirk Legacy, Svetlana Kondakova

Zone 3 Kondakova

My proposal is a large mosaic stretching across the flood protection wall between the new Crossing Gate and the Bridge Street footbridge.

Common Riding is the main theme for my artwork as it is the most cherished aspect of Selkirk's heritage and allows me to directly portray members of the local community. To this end, I reached out to online groups and organised an event to gather people's experiences and photographs of Common Ridings from across the years. I had a fantastic response and the photos and information provided have been interpreted into the mosaic design.

Another part of the mosaic will depict a kelpie symbolising the floods which form another important part of local history. A prominent community figure will be shown 'taming' the creature. This will serve as a metaphor for the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme itself and relate to the roots of Common Riding when the aim of it was to protect the town and its people.

Finally, the artwork will be tied together by mosaics of leaping salmon, representing local wildlife. These will be personalised and created by the locals, via a series of creative workshops.

Weave, Susheila Jamieson & James Gordon - Jamieson & Gordon Ltd.

Zone 2 Jamieson Gordon 2

The work is about the river and the textile history of Selkirk. It is also about environmental change and its impact through flooding. Five large local whinstone boulders positioned on top of the flood protection bank, just past the Common Riding entrance gate. Riven and hand finished oak boarding woven between them. The timber is taken from a tree on the Philiphaugh estate and will be split and worked over the summer close to the sawmill. There will be some text on the wood , possibly this line of poetry:- 'Weave well the bright threads'.

Some elements of wood may be coloured / stained. The stones will be carved and polished in a simple way to resemble giant rollers. Whinstone polishes like glass. The community have been involved from the start in conversations about natural materials and the river. Schools/youth group and local nursing home have been involved in discussions about the design and will continue to be involved in a practical way with the carving. It is envisaged that the creation of Weave will take place over a 2-3 week period in the summer with the artists working permanently on site.