Today I spent my first day at Jedburgh Abbey as part of the artist-in-residency scheme at Jedburgh Abbey; a joint project between Culture Matters, Education Scotland and Historic Scotland. I spent a morning perusing the documents and books from the Visitor Centre which provided me with good basic research. I sat at a small table in the large bay window of the Visitor Centre overlooking the Abbey in glorious sunshine. The soundtrack to the morning was the atmospheric Gregorian music and the rhythmic sounds of the stonemasons working outside on the restoration of the Abbey. The soundscape certainly transported me to Medieval Scotland, when the Abbey was in its prime. The Abbey is the first imposing building you encounter when entering Scotland from the south, but its proximity to the English border has been its downfall; being at the centre of many territorial disputes. Tomorrow I will be on site again, to continue the research and do some on-site drawing and note-taking. The research will probably continue in the Heritage Centre in Hawick where I hope to hunt down some old Borders maps. This research will form the basis for some new work to emerge over the next few months.
Tonight a workshop with local children groups from Ancrum and Jedburgh visited the studio and made their own scaled down versions of contemporary stained glass windows, with imagery and stories that are important to them and their take on Jedburgh.
There are several groups involved at different sites, and a personalised programme for each will be centred around the Abbey and its magnificent ‘voids’ of glass.
Today, Radio Borders also interviewed Kathleen O-Neill the project leader.