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Exhibitions, visual arts & craft

Wigtown Book Festival 2019

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The Map House | Taigh nam Mapaichean

Former Bank of Scotland Building, 21 North Main St 
Open daily 10am-4pm from Saturday 28th September

Situated at the former Bank of Scotland building on South Main St, The Map House is a new pop-up venue exploring Galloway’s history – from its Celtic origins to the present day – through place-names and the medium of cartography. Leading Scottish illustrator Eilidh Muldoon will be among a number of artists taking inspiration from maps, while visitors will be encouraged to create their own, however idiosyncratic. There will also be a number of drop-ins and events during our Gaelic days for all on 4th and 5th October.

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Pots, Prints & Pages

Craigard Gallery, 13 North Main St
Daily, 10am-5pm

Printmaker Pamela Grace is joined by potter Claire Dawdry and resident bookbinder Sarah Stewart in this exhibition exploring the works of three of the region’s finest artisans. Printmaking and bookbinding workshops will accompany the exhibition throughout the festival.

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The Kist

Outside County Buildings
Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm
Sat & Sun, 10am-6.30pm

“Kist” is an old word for treasure chest. Situated in front of the County Buildings, The Kist is the place to find art, crafts, food and drink, and homeware from Dumfries & Galloway and beyond.

Wigtown’s weekend market also runs from 10am-4pm

Blash O God 2

The Blash o God

The Map House, 21 North Main St
Open daily 10am-4pm from Saturday 28th September

The Blash o God is a collaboration by French-based artist John Campbell Henderson and Penpont poet Hugh McMillan inspired by the Buchanites, an 18th-century cult based in Dumfries & Galloway and led by the charismatic Elspeth Buchan. The installation combines poetry, video and art in a week-long exhibition. Expect the Second Coming, free love, mummification and Robert Burns.

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There are a number of workshops throughout the festival including Robert Twigger on Comics for People Who Can’t Draw (see below), Dekko Comics workshop, Rachel Hazell on bookbinding and Ruthie Redden on notebook-making.

Make Your Own Comics 
Sat 28 Sep
Nature Room, County Buildings 

Robert Twigger never learnt to draw formally. But that didn’t stop him illustrating his book Micromastery. Join him for inspiration on turning your stories into graphic novels.

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Art & Design Fair 

Behind Machars Action, 26 South Main St. 
Daily, 10am-5pm

The “Artists and Makers” Art & Design Fair returns. Ten local professional artists will be selling their work throughout the 10 days of the festival. 

Emily Tough Artist In Residence


We are delighted to link up again with the arts and crafts open studios event Spring Fling to host an artist-in-residence at this year’s book festival. The 2019 residency has been awarded to Emily Tough, and her work will also be presented during Spring Fling in May 2020.

At Wigtown Book Festival, Emily will be making a small model of the festival, encapsulating some of the wonder of the 10 days into a toy-size town. She will be onsite gathering ideas and information, as well as discarded odds and sods to use in her build. You are invited to watch as the town and its festival happenings are reimagined and rebuilt. Come along to one of the workshops and contribute to the construction!

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House Style 2019

County Buildings

Award-winning illustrator Astrid Jaekel returns to Wigtown this year with a new exhibition featuring the work of the students and staff of Edinburgh College of Art's illustration department. Each has created an illustration for a book published in the UK in the past 20 years, chosen from a master list of 150 books assembled by literary critic Stuart Kelly. The resulting works, hung as long strips in the staircase at the County Buildings, are being exhibited throughout the book festival. Postcards of the designs will also be on sale – grab one while you can!