Journeying, into Spring, Summer and beyond!

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The journey into Spring this year is full of surprises, such as the provisional programme for Penfest 2018 in autumn, thanks to the stalwart work of our chair Jackie! 

But let us start at the beginning of April now with a surprise double bill: the return of the arts and craft work of Fibrecraft Artist, Therapist and Instructor Laryna Wuppermann, and of her friends from the GalGael, together with the work of two special tapestry artists from a Camphill Village in Germany!


Journey, for wholeness sake

About eight years ago, during the Penicuik Arts Festival 2010, organised by Ulla, “Fibre to Fabric” a most successful community engagement project took place in different places in the town including Penicuik House. Local crafters simply shared their skills and love for creation with all ages. This continued for over a year as “Making Space Penicuik” on a weekly basis during the Town Hall Saturday coffee mornings with local families as volunteers. Now it runs monthly with Jenni Thomson and is called “Crafts 4 All”.  You might enjoy perusing through this archive of images, videos and stories from the workshop events with Laryna and Anneruth at Penicuik house, when it housed tools and wools from the GalGael trust, to engage and to inspire the local community, like the magnificent “Portal to wholeness” felt craft piece.


“Journey, for wholeness sake” is the April 2018 arts and craft exhibition at the Gallery Cafe, evidencing remarkable journeys in the pursuit of becoming whole, which is only possible through the art and craft of making, of re-presenting the world and our feelings and thoughts. The exhibition is foremost a story of Laryna, both in her own watercolour art and her fibre craft creations, inspired by nature, and is also refected  through the works of some of her friiends whom she crafted and crafts with in two intentional communities: Camphill Village Lehenhof in Germany and the GalGael trust in Glasgow. Hear Laryna speak about it in this video here , and of course do come for refreshments for body and soul into our Gallery Cafe this month and see for yourself.
But for the GalGael trust, “Making Space Penicuik” would not have existed, enriching lives. GalGael, a unique community regeneration project, working miracles with vulnerable people through traditional crafts training, volunteering an enterprise, for over 25 years,  is currently threatened by funding cuts to close its doors. Please read more about the amazing Galgael project and their plight. We are delighted to offer some beautiful wood and woolcraft items for sale this month to fundraise for the much needed boiler repair of the Galgael workshop. See the exhibition photo album on facebook and above all: Visit the exhibition to enjoy the craft work.
We are proud to feature and to support community crafters and artists in this challenging economic climate. They are ensuring with their passion and expertise that the essential and necessary opportunities to engage with art and crafts are kept accessible and being developed with everyone for everyone. As Laryna said: everyone is an artist, and arts and crafts are essential for becoming whole.

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Forthcoming events

in the programme of the Penicuik Community Arts Association:

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We are delighted to invite you to meet 5 local authors: Claire Askew, Catherine Simpson, Rebecca McKinney, Stella Hervey Birrell and Moira Cormack. Hear about their trials and tribulations. Find inspiration to start your own creative writing. Members of the local writers’ group will be on hand to give you information about how to join them and get started.  All 5 authors have been published.


is author of a children’s book: “The Witch of Land and Sea” is Moira’s debut book. The colourful book cover and the subject are reminiscent of the Narnia books. This is a lovely book to read along with your child.

Stella Hervey Birrell

is an emerging author of Women’s fiction. Her first novel, “How Many Wrongs Make a Mr Right” was published in 2016. Stella’s short pieces have appeared in many prestigious publications including the Guardian and Ropes Journal.

R L (Rebecca Louisa) McKinney

was born in Boulder Colorado, raised in Northern California, came to Edinburgh as a student in 1995 and never left. In various incarnations she has been a bartender, horse trainer, teacher, researcher, community development practitioner and local government dogsbody. She lives in Midlothian with her husband Craig and two children. She is the author of “Blast Radius” and “The Angel in the Stone”.

Catherine Simpson

is a novelist, poet, journalist and short story writer base in Edinburgh. “Truestory” is her debut novel. In 2013 she was awarded the Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award for the opening chapters. Her work has been published in various anthologies and Magazines and broadcast on the BBC. She has organised numerous writing workshops including ones for Midlothian libraries.

Claire Askew

is a poet and writer living in Edinburgh; her first collection, “This Changes Things”, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016. Her first novel, “All the Hidden Truths” is due to be published in August this year


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Award-winning author, actor and singer Gerda Stevenson will present poetry from her new collection, QUINES: Poems in tribute to women of Scotland.
Quines is a vivid explosion of thought, description and bold opinion, clothing Scots history at last with the myriad contribution of its women. This is a wonderful, life-affirming book.” Lesley Riddoch
“…piercingly challenging and beautiful…reading it bites the heart.” Richard Holloway

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Simon’s compositions for Ritmata source musical inspiration from every corner of the globe. As a group, they flit expertly between Middle-Eastern intensity, 13th century Spanish miracle songs, Native American affirmation, the limitless expression of Indian ragas, pulsating rhythms from East Africa, the unbridled emotions of flamenco and the celebrations of Sephardic Judaism.

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The closing day of the exhibition will also be the day that our judge, Sandy Wood, will announce the winner of the Penicuik Turner Prize. This is always a tense moment for all the exhibitors who would all dearly like to be the winner. However this is a good-natured competition between friends and the judges in the past have chosen some unexpected but always worthy winners.

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Saturday 1st   2.00pm Opening of Penicuik Turner Prize Exhibition
7.30pm Curmudgeon Folk Trio
Sunday 2nd    Series of storytelling events for primary aged and pre-school children. (Sponsored by Taylor Wimpey)
Tuesday 4th   Join the folk club or attend adult writing workshop (sponsored by Taylor Wimpey)
Thursday 6th  Penicuik writers read.
Friday 7th  Poetry and Music in Rosslyn Chapel
Saturday 8th Festival concert featuring “The Other Road” Folk Band ably supported by 2 young acts from the high schools: “The Ukes of Hazzard” and Sophie McDonald.
Sunday 9th The Penicuik Turner Exhibition closes with the awarding of the Penicuik Turner Prize and the People’s Choice Trophy.

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