Introducing…

make yourself at home poster

Make yourself @ home is an inviting exhibition showcasing some of the original and beautiful things made at St Margaret’s House.

This innovative show will make it easier for you to imagine how that painting you love will look over the fireplace, how those handmade chairs would fit in to your hall, or even how you could enhance your view from the loo.  And if it’s all too much to take in, you can even relax on the bed and watch a selection of artwork projected onto the wall.

Art shouldn’t have to match your sofa: it should be something you can fall in love with and want to live with for a long time.  So come to Gallery 2, make yourself at home and be prepared to fall in love!

Find out more about the artists and makers »

See more on our facebook page »

The end of the show

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The exhibition is now over, the works have either gone to their new homes or returned to their makers and we are all enjoying a bit of a rest!

Thank you to everyone who came along to the show, to all the participating artists and makers for your beautiful works and to all the people who gave their time and support to help make it happen.

Tansy

Our visitors said…

Nice indeed

Very original! Glad we’ve been!

Fab, feels like home only tidier with nicer things!! Well done to all involved

When I came in I thought it looked wonderful!

Slick yet cosy!!

Well done lovely stuff, more people should know about this!

Really good

Splendid

Came here by chance after seeing the exhibition advertised in the List, so happy I came the works have definitely inspired me.

Very, very good

Felt like I was in a real home, loved it!

Impressive quality!

Lovely exhibition  and beautifully laid out. Well done.

Absolutely beautiful. One of the best exhibitions I have ever seen.

Our boudoir

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Adjoining the ‘bedroom’ you’ll find our little ‘boudoir’ featuring artwork by Sophia Lindsay Burns who has coordinated the entire Open Week at St Margaret’s House and your curator.  There’s a sensual feel to this area, with Sophia’s languid nude, my pastels of glowing beech bark, Dave’s regal red upholstered chairs and Nicola’s delicate silver earrings.

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There are witty elements too – Derring-Do Medals are cleverly displayed on a fluffy white bath robe and Vinella & Krupa’s cabinet, well that speaks for itself!  You can see more photographs of the works on the exhibition facebook page.

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Secrets of the bedroom

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A bed in a gallery – it’s been done before. But the bed in Make yourself @ home is a place to view the art from rather than being the art itself.  It’s comfortable too, with Araminta Campbell’s cosy blanket on it.

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The idea to have a ‘bedroom’ in the gallery came from a comment made by someone who bought one of my drawings, who talked about how he loved to see it when he first woke up, how it seemed to change every day, revealing something new each time.  I wondered if the fact that you are relaxed and horizontal in your bed meant that you engaged with a piece of visual art in a different way.

I also thought it would be fun to view a whole range of works from this comfortable place, so I hit upon the idea of presenting a ‘digital gallery’ here, enabling me to show far more works than would be possible on the actual walls, 130 in all.

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There’s a slightly odd sensation on stepping through the blackout curtains to find a big bed in a dark room – do you look at it, perch on it, flop right on to it or walk straight through?  The signage invites the visitor to put their feet up and so far most people seem to investigate gingerly at first, then realise it’s ok to use and cosy up with their pals to watch the slideshow.  Giggles can be heard from inside the curtains.  Children have no problem with social norms and just get straight in there!

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This dark space is also ideal to show two artists’ work – Liz Tainsh’s lightboxes inside the bedroom echo pieces just outside and Sarah Roberts’ ‘Dustmite Quartet’ has the perfect home here, best viewed with the little UV lights for a cool surprise!

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Welcome to our home

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Gallery spaces can be exciting, intimidating, engaging, boring – you name it.  I wanted this one to feel welcoming above all else.

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I wanted this to be clear to visitors and to make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy and interact with the show as soon as they walked through the door.  So I’ve placed the most tactile works close to the entrance – Araminta’s alpaca scarves and Heather’s felt, along with Dave’s wooden box.  I’ve also displayed information about the show there, including clear directions about what can be touched and I’m pleased to say that this approach seems to be working – having watched people moving around the gallery over the last couple of days they seem willing to sit, touch and enjoy a new, yet almost familiar experience.

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Outdoors indoors

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Welcome to Make yourself @ home!

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Just to get you started, here’s our little ‘outdoor/indoor’ installation, featuring Alison’s ceramic fountain (which bubbles away nicely in the background all day), Denise’s sparkly glass starfish and Sarah’s ‘CSI blanket’…

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Want somewhere comfortable to take it all in? – have a seat.

A new view of the loo

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It’s sometimes called the smallest room in the house and we spend a lot of our time in there, so why not have some interesting things to look at?  This was the thinking behind the placing of a loo in the gallery space, not just for the eyebrow raising factor, though I did want to make people smile at the same time as offering something new.

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Illustrator Dave Sutton is both prolific and talented but hasn’t shown any work at St Margaret’s House before, so I was keen to get him involved in the show.  As soon as I visited his studio and saw the walls and every other surface covered in his wonderful drawings, I imagined how great it would be to make this in a place in the gallery where you might sit for a while to contemplate – yes!  the toilet! of course!

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I particularly liked Dave’s cartoons and sketches of family life and the funny things his son says, so the wall is loosely themed around these but displays a whole range of his work.  You really do need to take your time to absorb them.

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You can of course sit on the loo if you like if you’re not the self-conscious type, but I did ask Dave to make a sign to discourage anyone actually using it, since it’s not plumbed in!  Anyone wondering how I made the water stay there?  It’s the magic of the show…

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Home sounds

From Rob Harris

My love of sound and how it affects us is a driving force in my ‘Ambience Engineering’ of spaces, indoor and out.. In fact, it was using that phrase to describe my work that led to me use it as a business name..

I have, over a period of years, adapted real and synthetic audio to create the right atmosphere for exhibitions, theatre pieces and personal projects..

The ultimate aim is to give the audience sounds and, in some cases lighting and other effects, in such a way as for them to ‘not notice’..

In my teaching of sound for theatre my key message to the students was ‘If the audience can go on a journey, where they leave having enjoyed the experience and not been aware of the components which created it, then you have succeeded’..

Tansy was kind enough to entertain a small ‘experiment’ with sounds to create atmosphere in ‘Make Yourself @ Home’.. I loved her approach in inviting people to enjoy the exhibition experience, reflecting that in my choice of some real but, in some cases, light-hearted sounds from the domestic palette..

I wish her – and all the artists concerned – well in this airing of their work.. I hope the format will go on to be used in further spaces..

A place to knit

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There seems to be a knitting revival at the moment – young people are doing it in groups, in cafes and pubs, meeting and tweeting about it.

When I went to see ceramicist Elaine Carty in her studio to discuss which works to show in Make yourself @ home, she happened to mention the fact that she’d been commissioned to make a yarn bowl for one of these new knitters.  As a non-knitter this was all new to me, but has inspired one of the participative elements of the exhibition – a place to sit and knit and see her stoneware yarn bowls being used.

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So we borrowed a rug and a rocking chair, suspended a piece of knitting in mid row, Harry Potter style, and added another which visitors are invited to add to, however good (or not) they are at knitting.  I even managed a row, though they’re not the best stitches it’s nice to be a part of it.

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Dining in style

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I used to live in shared flat in Edinburgh which had a large, worn and slightly rickety kitchen table where everyone gathered to chat, drink, moan and just generally socialise.  I loved it and wanted to recreate something of that sociable space in the exhibition.

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The dining area shows ceramics by Sarah Halford and Elaine Carty, felt pieces from Heather Potten, mugs by Dave Sutton, chairs by Vinella & Krupa and homewares from Moody Monday.  The art on the walls is by Aileen Grant, Alan Kay, Sophia Lindsay Burns, Tansy Lee Moir and Nicola Murray and the secret domestic soundscape is thanks to Rob Harris. See more about the artists and makers here.

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The unexpected highlight for me has actually been the table itself – much admired on the opening night, much coveted by St Margaret’s House tenants and full of character all on its own, a fantastic way to show off work but not for sale though, sorry folks!