Odyssey photography exhibition

Stop by the Art & Design Library at Central Library this March to see the Edinburgh LoFi Photography Group’s new exhibition Odyssey, which explores the journey and what it means to come home.

This latest exhibition takes its title from the peregrinations of Homer’s legendary Greek hero, Odysseus. The photographers had the freedom for liberal interpretation; visually presenting a personal photographic journey, encompassing life’s  progress, development and occasional set-backs.

These wanderings might also be a recording of a memorable episode or a momentary glimpse during travel or sojourn, recorded on film and printed as the artist chooses, following the ethos of traditional and alternative photographic techniques.

The group use a wide variety of cameras and methods, from pinhole (some hand-made) and analogue (film) to camera-less produced images, e.g. cyanotypes or chemigrams. We hope you find these pictures interesting and intriguing!

The Edinburgh LoFi group was started nine years ago at the Beyond Words photography bookshop to promote and explore film photography at its most amazing. The group is now run collectively.

The exhibition at the Art and Design Library contains work by:
Dan Clipsom, Olive Dean, Mary Gordon, Mandy Kerr, Ali Millar, Elaine Robson, Judith Rowan, John Sumpter, Donald Tainsh, Leigh Young

Odyssey will be on until the 30th March.


Art and Design Library exhibition 2018

Mixed Media Work by Monique Van Aalst

For her exhibition in the Art and Design Library, entitled ‘Cosmic Vibes’, Dutch artist Monique van Aalst explores her interest in otherworldly themes such as celestial and mythological creatures, astrology and the universe. Working with miscellaneous media and depending on her mood she takes an intuitive approach in her mostly abstract artwork never quite knowing the end result.  Serendipity plays a hand – whilst applying different layers an image may suddenly arise. A happy accident indeed!

Monique started drawing in her childhood, usually portraits of family members and celebrities in pencil. When starting her life in Edinburgh ten years ago, a few art tutors encouraged her to take a paint brush and be bold. She began experimenting with different techniques. She is inspired by painters who use vibrant colours, intuition and uniqueness in their paintings, including Jolomo, William Gillies, Marc Chagall and Jim Dine.

Monique has previously exhibited for Cancer Research UK in Adam House (2009-2014), Gallery on the Corner (2010), Art and Design Library (2010) Bethany Christian Trust (Methodist Church in 2014), Leith Library (2015), Stockbridge Library (2016) and Out of The Blue drill hall (2017).

The Cosmic Vibes exhibition runs from 2 to 27 February 2018 in the Art and Design Library.


Art and Design Library exhibition – January 2018

The latest exhibition in the Art and Design Library is ‘Transition of Fear – a collection of photographs’ by Isaac Benjamin.

We asked Isaac to tell us about the inspiration for his fascinating work:

“Being an artist has its ups and downs, on one hand you have people genuinely interested in your work, but then you’re asked to actually show some of it! The photos you will see are mostly taken straight after having a spiritual/alien vision or episode, I then recreate how I had seen things.

Image from Transition of Fear – a collection of photographs, by Isaac Benjamin

I was quite recently diagnosed with Schizotypal Personality Disorder. This does not affect my spiritual beliefs and experiences, however, I can now conclude that my psychic abilities are possibly not actually happening. At the beginning of this long journey, I felt like I was trapped inside a cocoon. I was absolutely terrified… Something drove me to keep challenging this fear and recreate the experiences through various art forms, which was a major part of my healing process.

Music is so important in my life, I couldn’t imagine creating pieces of artwork without music to help inspire me. My taste in music is very eclectic… From The Smiths to Kate Bush, David Bowie to Roxy Music and Leonard Cohen, I feel so much more comfortable if there’s music playing in the background.”

Come along to the exhibition which will be on display in the Art and Design Library from 4 – 30 January 2018.

You can also see more of Isaac’s work on instagram @thewalkingartists


Art Library exhibition for December 2017

The Art and Design Library’s new exhibition ‘Inscape’, is a joint exhibition by three artists, Frieda Dyson, Fiona McLachlan Powell and Clive McLachlan Powell

Here we hand over to the artists to tell us about their work.

Frieda Dyson writes:

`Born in Glasgow, and with a background which is half Hebridean, water in all its moods, has always featured large in my work. I have painted roaring water in the Western Isles, and calm, building reflected water in Cambridge, where I lived for many years, but it is always a challenge. Watercolour, acrylics, oils and dry pastels all have their different difficulties. Recently, trees have figured in my work since I have been spending time in Edinburgh’s wonderful Botanic Gardens. My work is in various collections in the UK and, also Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus and the USA.’


Fiona McLachlan Powell writes:

`My work explores thresholds through my experience of mental health and also in the contexts of philosophy and culture. Sometimes the materials I use are domestic or tied in with labour. I grew up in a farmworking family near Duns in the Scottish borders. The rhythm to the days and seasons in that life and its improvisations influence my work and my way of working.  The hessian my shepherd grandfather used as a kirtle to protect him from the rain, transcends its initial use.

Working in the disciplines of sculpture, photography, film, drawing and installation I like to create a sense of journey through liminal space and approaching thresholds. I explore thresholds through process and through experimenting with various materials that spoke to me in the past and that I respond to now.

I have come to a way of creating sculptural work that can be dismantled then reconstructed, and reconfigured. I place my work in different environments; in woodland or architectural spaces for dialogue, each location transforms the work’.


Clive McLachlan Powell writes

`My work lies between sound, form and place; bringing transforming elements of materials, sound and gesture into space to explore the liminal. This transformation reflects a somatic experience, the feeling of sound beyond what is heard through the ears alone. Ways of making include creative foraging, casting as a way of transforming materiality, drawing with objects, photography and film. Other methods include singing of archaic songs, using my skull as an aeolian resonator, and placing contemporary sound composition alongside collaborative improvisation with dancers. I like to feel the spaces where I work – art spaces, nature, dance clubs become welcoming, finding still points in sounding and moving forms alongside the sonorous’.

Come and see this fantastic new exhibition of art work on show in the Art and Design Library from 2 to 29 December.


Edinburgh Zine Library opening in Art & Design Library

Come to the opening of the Edinburgh Zine Library (E.Z.L) on Wednesday 1st November. Established in August 2017 and located in the Art & Design Library, the E.Z.L is a collectively run reference library of contemporary zines.

Don’t know what a zine is? Come along to find out more, and why it’s important to collect and catalogue them!

The event runs from 4 – 7.30pm and you can drop in anytime. There’ll be zine making workshops (materials provided) as well as some short talks, a zine swap, space to browse the collection and chat to E.Z.L members and the opportunity to contribute a page to E.Z.L’s first collaboratively made zine!  Oh and cake! Lots of cake!

Practical stuff: The Art & Design Library is not wheelchair accessible and there is no level access – using the lift there is an additional twenty steps. There will be an area downstairs which is level access and where there will be a stall, seats, zines and members of E.Z.L to chat. Get in touch for more information at edinburghzinelibrary@gmail.com. Kids are welcome, however they require the supervision of a parent or guardian!

Find E.Z.L on social media for more info:
Insta: @edinburghzinelibrary
Twitter: @edzinelibrary
Facebook: @edinburghzinelibrary


Art and Design Library exhibition October

The Art and Design Library‘s October exhibition is entitled Works on Paper. From the 9th-30th October you’ll be able to see a series of watercolour paintings created by artist Eva Mitera, graduate of the University of Edinburgh, participant of the X Florence Biennale and curated by Dr Shih Mei Lee.

Eva works in both oils and watercolours, creating paintings focused on the themes of  natural and meteorological phenomena, landscape and images alternately abstract and realistic. This exhibition however focuses on Eva’s watercolours, which are on a smaller scale than her oil paintings, but are independent pieces in their own right, not studies for her larger works.

Eva enjoys the process of creating watercolours, especially the unpredictability of the result. She allows the colours to blend across the paper to emphasize rich bright hues and brush stokes. In her experiments with this medium she has also added dry pastel, crayons and ink to achieve impressions of reality or imaginary landscapes. Her works present a sensation of radiant energy and controlled frenzy.





The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries: Henry Dyer

Over the years, a number of individuals have helped shape Edinburgh City Libraries and our collections. In a series of posts, we’ll throw the spotlight on a few of these influential figures from our past and describe how their philanthropy helped our library collections evolve and grow in significance.
The Five Festivals - Spring FestivalWe start our series with arguably our most significant benefactor: Henry Dyer, engineer, educationist and Japanophile.

Henry Dyer was born in 1848 in the parish of Bothwell, Lanarkshire. In 1857 the family moved to Shotts where he received most of his schooling. From 1865 he was employed as an apprentice at James Aitken and Company’s foundry in Cranstonhill, Glasgow and while there he also attended classes at Anderson’s College (later Strathclyde University). He graduated from Glasgow University in 1873 with a degree in engineering. On the recommendation of his professor he was invited to become the Principal of the new Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo in 1873.

Greatly esteemed by the Japanese, his teaching methods were credited with assisting in the rapid industrialisation of Japan and in 1882 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun (Third Class). Dyer returned to Scotland in 1882 bringing with him numerous art works and instruments. In Glasgow he continued to make a valuable contribution to engineering education and was awarded both an honorary DSc and LLD from the University of Glasgow.

Henry Dyer died on 25 September, 1918 at his home in Glasgow. After his death a substantial bequest was given to the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, which included papers relating to his roles as engineer and educator. It also included Japanese artworks and artefacts. He donated musical instruments to Glasgow Museums. In 1945 and 1955 Edinburgh City Libraries received two donations via his daughter Marie Ferguson Dyer.

336The Edinburgh City Libraries bequest consists of 50 loose Japanese woodblock prints, a number of bound woodblock printed volumes, painted scrolls and a collection of nineteenth century Japanese photographs, attributed to Baron Raimund von Stillfried. Much of the Dyer Collection is available to browse on Capital Collections (www.capitalcollections.org.uk) including several online exhibitions:

Get in touch if you’re interested to come into Central Library and see items from the Dyer Collection or any other material from our Special Collections. If you have archival material related to Edinburgh, Scotland or Scots abroad, and would like to help our collections continue to grow, contact eclis@edinburgh.gov.uk .

Read all the articles in this series of ‘The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries’:

George Washington Browne: architect

Robert Butchart: City Librarian

Andrew Carnegie: steelmaker and philanthropist

William McEwan: brewer and philanthropist

David Mather Masson: scholar and biographer

Thomas Ross: architect and antiquarian

Charles Boog Watson: local historian and antiquarian