'...Alice went on all the same, shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round her, about four inches deep and reaching down the hall." Lewis Carroll


Over three exciting and interactive days (Saturday 25th to Monday 27th July 2015) environmental artists Emily Ilett and Ashanti Harris were resident in Wigtown Gardens to build, weave, sew, cut, shape, glue, design and encourage members of the public of all ages to get involved in creating the Wigtown Community Sculpture! It was a fabulous three days and thank you to everyone who got involved!


This was a drop-in event between the hours of 10am-4pm where members of the public could create, watch or just ask questions about the sculpture and get involved making it.


The sculpture called ‘Rain Installation’ was inspired by Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

The sculpture is based on the moment in Alice in Wonderland story when Alice is crying after growing gigantic: "she went on all the same, shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round her, about four inches deep and reaching down the hall." 


The circular frame of the sculpture was painted blue and represents Alice's pooling tears in quite a fun and magical way.  Different blue, white and silver threads were plaited and suspended from the top of the sculpture to symbolise rain. The installation is a combination artwork and reading circle space and will next be able to be seen and experienced in the Children’s Green in the Children’s Festival site at the Wigtown Book Festival 2015.


Also see below for a blog entry by one of the artists, Emily Ilett, about what the process of creating the sculpture was like for her and Ashanti:


' patter, pelt, plop, splat, drum, rattle, splosh, splatter, drop


Emily Ilett Blog Entry: Monday 27th July


‘Ashanti and I came into this project not really knowing what to expect. What we found was a small group of very willing and eager participants who were very keen on us beginning earlier in the day and ending later! Three girls in particular (of varying ages) gave us all of the time that they could over the project and maintained enviable levels of energy!  It was great working with these three and their parents; they learned each different type of braiding, painted the structure, worked on the strength of the wool-structure, added the raindrops and artistically directed a lot of the decisions!  We found that splitting up time spent braiding with high-energy races worked a treat!  After exchanging some riddles on the first day, Helena sent me home under the instructions to bring more and she would do the same, so a lot of Sunday was spent solving riddles in the group.  Sunday rained and so we sheltered in the bowling house where we were joined by two young girls and their dad, along with another young girl and her mum who were passing though.  It was lovely to see the shyness of the girls slowly dissolve as they spent more time listening to the banter and gaining confidence in their own braiding.  A particular braid which went down well was one which looked extremely complicated but the mechanics of it, once learnt, were very simple!  Plaiting became maypole dancing which, in turn, became limbo and it was great to have the time to go with what the children wanted in that moment rather than worrying about the progress of the installation.  We have made some great friends and loved working with the children and chatting to those that wandered past or came to talk to us about what we were doing.  It was also really nice to see the two older girls making jewellery on Saturday morning and bringing their origami sculptures to show us!’ 



Emily Ilett:

Emily Ilett will be our Children’s Writer-in-Residence this year at the Wigtown Book Festival. As part of her residency Emily will be writing a special ‘Alice in Wigtown’ story for younger readers aged 7 years + and creating two art installations in collaboration with Ashanti Harris in the Children’s Festival Area Garden inspired by Alice in Wonderland. She will also be leading creative writing workshops for children of all ages. Emily is the winner of the Moniack Mhor Writing for Children Bursary kindly donated by Mairi Hedderwick and we are proud to partner with Moniack Mhor to support Emily’s residency at our festival. She is also doing an MLitt Creative Writing course at Glasgow University and working on a collection of children’s stories set on an imaginary island.


Ashanti Harris:

Ashanti Harris is a Glasgow based artist and social activist. After studying sculpture at The Glasgow School of Art she went on to co-found The Pipe Factory artist studios and art education centre (Glasgow) and is currently working as part of Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S); a non-profit community organisation facilitating dance and movement events and workshops. In her art practice Ashanti works with installation and performance in an interactive, public setting. Recent exhibitions include Continue Without Losing Consciousness day event, DCA, Dundee; Spelling Space, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.; Dear Green, ZKU, Berlin; The Glasgow Weekend, Volksbuhne Theatre, Berlin; Statics, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow.