Explorers at the Library: Edinburgh Art Festival families programme

This year the Edinburgh Art Festival’s Explorers families programme comes to Central Library for free weekly creative art making sessions suitable for ages 8-13. These sessions are inspired by the EAF artist commissions programme and the ‘Making of the Future’ theme. Join us weekly or drop in for a one-off session to creatively re-imagine your city.

“Tower” by Toby Patterson, Dunfermline 2014

Each session will look at a different artist and include 2D and 3D arts activities such as building a miniature bothy inspired by artist Bobby Niven, designing a modernist city after artist Toby Paterson and creating inflatable giant flower sculptures inspired by artist duo Walker and Bromwich.

All sessions will be held in the George Washington Room within the Central Library

Thu 6 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Walker and Bromwich
Create your own inflatable sculptures and model dragons inspired by Walker and Bromwich’s Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership.

Thu 13 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Bobby Niven
Design and build your own miniature bothys and dens inspired by Bobby Niven’s Palmhouse.

Thu 20 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Shannan Te Ao
Make musical instruments and write your own musical score inspired by Shannan Te Ao’s use of Maori songs and proverbs.

Thu 3 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Toby Paterson
Make your own 3D collage of a fantasy building, drawing on Paterson’s modernist architectural influences.

Thu 10 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: The Making of the Future
Design and build a miniature installation in the library, of a future Edinburgh city centre inspired by the “grandfather of town planning”, Patrick Geddes.

In celebration of the children’s work the outcomes of each workshop will be exhibited in the Children’s Library for the last week of the festival, 21-27 August.

These sessions are free and all materials are included. Booking is recommended, but not essential. To book call  0131 242 8040 or visit www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

Danish design at the Central Library

May’s exhibition in the Art and Design Library is a something a little bit different.  This month we are showcasing the work of Danish artist Mette Fruergaard-Jensen who creates boxes in metal, wood and resin.

Mette originally trained as a potter, running her own pottery workshop for 25 years. A move to Scotland in 2000 however saw her embrace a new medium and she began to make boxes –

‘In my studio in Coburg House in Leith, Edinburgh I make lidded boxes in wood, metal and resin. My boxes are sculptural. They are all functional, although they are not made for any specific use. I love the silent language of form and materials. Here for this exhibition in the Art and Design Library I am also showing images of how I work and what materials I use. I am especially happy to show my work in the Art and Design Library, as I have spent a great time there looking in books.’

Come along and see Mette’s beautiful work from the 3rd-30th May.


A week in art space

The space art shuttle has blasted off from Central Library but for a week during half-term, we enjoyed a fun-packed week of space art and craft creating flying rockets, making craters and galaxies, designing planets with collage, and painting and sticking with glitter!

Thanks to all our space artists who came along with their parents and carers for family fun and to our space librarians who led these workshops.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This event formed part of Edinburgh City Libraries’ celebration of the annual UK Big Draw held during October each year, promoting drawing for all and its facility for changing lives and stimulating creativity. This year’s theme was ‘The STEAM Powered Big Draw’, with a focus on bringing together Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths in school curricula worldwide.

Summer of crafty fun in Edinburgh Libraries

Here’s a quick picture round-up of just a few of the activities that happened during the fantastic Big Friendly Read summer in Libraries.

Keep an eye on the Libraries’ calendar for other events coming soon or find out about regular activities, including craft events, happening in your local library.


It’s a Merry Knitted Christmas at Wester Hailes Library

tree1Wester Hailes Library’s ‘Knit & Natter’ group have truly embraced the festive season by producing a fabulous knitted tree, complete with knitted crackers, baubles and Christmas puddings.

The group started work on this masterpiece last year, but have gradually added more woollen ‘leaves’ and decorations, to make it bigger & better than ever!


Wester Hailes ‘Knit & Natter’ meet at the Library on fortnightly Wednesdays, 2-4pm.  All knitters & crochet-ers, from beginners to experts, are welcome.  You can bring your own project to work on, or join together knitting for charities: the group have contributed to causes including disaster relief, soldiers’ welfare and local emergency midwives.


On alternate weeks, the fun and friendly Games Club (fortnightly Wednesdays, 2-4pm) offers a selection of old and new board-games to enjoy: from traditional dominoes and Scrabble, to modern classics like Taxi & Pass the Bomb!  Teas, coffees and biscuits are provided free of charge.

There’s also have a Colouring Group for adults on Wednesday evenings, 6:30-7:30pm.  This craze has been gaining international popularity, with colouring-in books climbing up the best-seller lists, and it’s recognised as a relaxing and therapeutic activity.  Try your hand at some of the beautiful and intricate designs!

Several Edinburgh Libraries run similar knitting and craft groups for adults.  Why not enquire at your local branch, or check their web page.


Glittering Evening in Central Library!

Love (and glitter) was in the air in the Central Library Boardroom on Wednesday, when Reader in Residence Ryan Van Winkle sprinkled some poetic magic over our Valentine’s Card Making Workshop attendees. This year, tired shop bought verses will be no match for our sparkling, sequinned and beribboned cards, featuring the most romantic of sentiments from T.S. Eliot, e.e.cummings and old favourite, Edward Lear (who penned The Owl and the Pussycat).

Take a look at these photos to see for yourself!

Ryan Van Winkle is pretty confident that he’ll be able to woo his sweetheart with this masterpiece featuring ‘The Mysterious Human Heart’ by Matthew Dickman.

If you’re perplexed as to why a stick of celery and a potato are on a Valentine’s card, why not find out more about Matthew’s work by listening to this podcast, featuring Ryan and Matthew in conversation?

With our vast collection of poetry pamphlets and books, Edinburgh City Libraries is sure to have just the right verse for you, so why not get your glitter glue and scissors at the ready and have a browse through these suggestions?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Knitting: knot just for your (k)nan!

Do you dream in yarn, get annoyed if you get interrupted when you’re counting, and try to analyse people’s knitwear?  Then this post is for you.

As a loud and proud knitter, I often get comments from people who see me knitting, along the lines of “you just don’t see people knitting anymore”.  I always tell them that they can’t looking in the right places, as I know many knitters and crocheters of all ages!  Today I’m delighted to point you in the direction of some of those places – right in your local libraries!  Books, chat, a nice cup of tea and a biccy: what could be better?

Scotland is a perfect place for yarncraft enthusiasts, not only because of its ideal climate for woolly goods, but also because Edinburgh is home to two world-famous knitwear designers: Kate Davies and Ysolda Teague!

Knitting Groups meeting in libraries

Blackhall Library – every second Monday at 6pm (next one is 28th November)

Leith Library – every Thursday, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Newington Library (who made the amazing items pictured above) – every Wednesday at 6:30pm.

Oxgangs Library – every other Tuesday, 10:30am-12pm: next meeting November 29th.

Portobello Library – every Thursday from 6:30-7:30 pm

Sighthill Library – Fridays 2-4pm

Wester Hailes Library – adult group every other Wednesday, 2-4pm , kids knits every Friday throughout term time, 2-4pm.  Please note that these groups are very popular, so please contact the library first to avoid disappointment!

Loopy Lit

I’ve chosen some fantastic pattern books for your consideration – and there’s not a comedy fun-fur jumper in sight!

Cookie ASock Innovation: knitting techniques and patterns for one-of-a-kind socks

Cookie is another popular knitwear designer – guaranteed satisfaction for all you crazy sock-knitters!

Betty BarndenStart knitting: the beginner’s book of basic techniques and stitches

Debbie Bliss and Ulla NyemanBlankets, bears and bootees: 20 irresistible hand knits for your baby

Everyone loves making things for little ones!

Cathy CarronHattitude: knits for every mood

What’s not to love about knitting hats?  They’re fun, fast and don’t use up much yarn at all!

Jane Crowfoot – Ultimate crochet bible: a complete reference with step-by-step techniques

A one-stop shop for new crocheters

Teva DurhamLoop-d-loop crochet: novel, elegant crochet designs

Innovative and stylish crochet patterns

Claire GarlandToys to Crochet

I am reliably informed that crocheting toys may cause addiction…

Sally Harding and John HeseltineQuick Crochet, Huge Hooks

Now that’s what I call instant gratification!

Erika Knight and Graham Atkins HughesEssential crochet: 30 irresistible projects for you and your home

Crocheted charm for the home

Jenny LordPurls of Wisdom

Tried and tested: this book helped a friend to become a wonderful knitter!

Tricia MalcolmFelting

Felting is a fun and easy technique which can save the day when an item comes out too large!

Carol MeldrumKnitted icons: 25 celebrity doll patterns

I have this book and the little celebrities are just hilarious!

Rick MondragonKnitters at home: cottage, condo, cave or castle, no matter where you live, knits make it home

Add some personal, knitted touches to your home.

Claire MontgomerieKnitting for children: 35 simple knits kids will love to make

For the knitting kids in your life!

Anna TillmanKnitted dog coats: over 20 designs for handsome hounds and perfect pooches

Keep your best friend cosy in style!

Sue WhitingCute knits for baby feet: 30 adorable projects for newborns to 4-year-olds

Making things for teeny tiny tootsies is a great way to use up oddments from your stash!

So please come along to one of these groups, bring your yarn, projects and your experience, or your queries, pull up a chair and have a stichin’ good time!