HAAR reveals the best in local arts and crafts

Organisers and artists are pictured during an informal meeting to discuss the festival.
Organisers and artists are pictured during an informal meeting to discuss the festival.

Take one small cliff-top village with spectacular scenery, 19 venues, 50 artists, including painters, photographers, and crafts people.

Add a friendly village hall tearoom serving home baking and light refreshments throughout the day and, of course, fresh fish snacks from renowned local supplier Stuart’s Fish and you have the heady mix that is the Auchmithie Arts Festival.

With the addition of perfect weather, as was the case with the first two weekend Arts Festivals which were held in 2010 and 2012, the organisers for the 2014 event, which will be held on August 31 and 31, are hoping to build on their previous success when over 700 visitors enjoyed the variety of artwork on view and, of course, the historic village of Auchmithie itself.

The festival is run by Heritage Arts Auchmithie Residents (HAAR) which was founded 10 years ago. It brought together a group of residents interested in celebrating Auchmithie`s rich heritage and history while at the same time fostering and promoting the work of crafts and arts workers in the village and local area.

This enthusiasm grew into the first HAAR festival where story lines were developed to re-enact the lives and times of the community in the mid to late 19th century highlighting old traditions and customs. In the main the community then were fishers and land workers.

These first festivals included art exhibitions in people’s homes, always ensuring the involvement of young people, which was done throughcreative writing workshops, photography competitions and a variety of art workshops.

They also included a flower festival in the church.

At the same time the HAAR committee were busy over the years collecting and developing a substantial and comprehensive archive of the area.

The festival has since became too big to have on one day and the two aspects the heritage and the arts had to be separated with separate events now held on alternate years.

The HAAR has gone from strength to strength and its archive is now in great demand as are the performances, which now include a one woman show about the early life of one of its famous citizens, Mrs Annie Gilruth.

Annie was a driving force in the village during the later 19th century and the hard life of local women and a high illiteracy rate led her to look at ways she could help, leading to the opening of a schoolhouse in 1878 and a village hall 10 years later.

Village residents will again be opening their homes as temporary galleries to local and visiting artists which, given the fact that no two properties in this quirky little place are alike, will afford striking and unusual backdrops to the variety of works on show.

Crafts will also feature a selection of felt work, jewellery and ceramics.

Full details of the artists and contributors can be found in the accompanying leaflet which also contains details of parking and a map of the exhibition locations. These are available at libraries, Angus Council Access Offices, Visit Scotland and many more venues across Angus. They will also be available in all venues during the event.

Further information is available from the HAAR team on 01241 431511 or 01241 877656.