The Barony Centre, Craft Town Scotland

26th September  -  23rd November 2014

Monday - Saturday 10am till 5pm, Sunday 12noon till 5pm

"This Beloved Earth" is an exhibition developed in conjunction with the artists and Maggie Broadley, Craft Town Scotland's Executive Director.  Bringing together 7 artist and artisan basket weavers operating across national and international boundaries, the exhibition references a poem by Denise Levertov.  This acts as a starting point, with each artist free to take risks, enrich engagement with their subject matter and employ their considerable technical and innovation skills in creating new work for this exhibition.

Each contributor is recognised for their skill and innovation; manipulating material beyond its limits whilst pushing at aesthetic boundaries, the objects are with imbued with meaning, creating both functional and non-functional vessels, even abstract sculptures.

A small group of artists and artisans began a journey together, their destination The Barony Centre Craft Town Scotland, West Kilbride, where Modern Languages was being presented, an exhibition exploring the relationships between indigenous Irish craft and contemporary international practice.

The group's journey started from the Socio Anthropology department at St Andrews University, where most of them had contributed to a conference - Woven Communities - Making Futures, where the focus was Scottish vernacular basketry. It was collaboration between the university and the Scottish Basket Makers Circle. The conference was initially conceived in order to map the findings of the last 25 years of the SBC and museums, but it soon became clear that the humble basket as well as being an historical source also has universal contemporary aesthetic values and global issues.

At The Barony Centre the group had a few days together with no agenda other than sharing and enjoying each other's practice. This time together, contributed to the idea for an exhibition called - This Beloved Earth, referring to a poem, 'For Instance' by Denise Levertov. It is not a poem of pure celebration of what we call nature, but bitter sweet; it tracks the fears of losing what we celebrate, made fragile with global pollution. This is a very sensitive and all encompassing concept for the seven makers, and at first one might wonder what it has to do with basket making.

We live in a world of plastic packaging. Baskets hark back to a time when all the practical things like containers were tied into the natural world around us: their function and nature were one.

Weavers today are aware of the origin of baskets and their function within a community but are continuing to shift the boundaries into the area of visual art.  Mass communication has fed into this, as we are able to see baskets produced from all over the world. There is an opening and potential here, and I hope visitors viewing this exhibition will sense this. Barbara Ridland, November 2013.

Maggie M Broadley, Executive Director, Craft Town Scotland is delighted to have secured funding from Creative Scotland which has enabled her to welcome back this group of inspirational practitioners to The Barony Centre. "This Beloved Earth" is the second Craft Town Scotland generated show funded by the Quality Production funding programme.

A hands-on event is planned to launch the exhibition, with a series of Masterclasses, workshops and drop-in workshops led by the exhibiting artists also complementing the exhibition themes. This is an exceptional opportunity to engage with this small group of internationally renowned artists whilst viewing a thought-provoking exhibition of challenging, innovative work.


Ewen Balfour, Shetland

Lise Bech, Scotland/Denmark

Mary Butcher MBE,  England

Carlos Fontales, Spain

Joe Hogan, Ireland

Barbara Ridland,  Shetland

Lois Walpole, England/France/Shetland


The Barony Centre

50 Main Street

West Kilbride


KA23 9AR


Supported by Creative Scotland