Back in July, I wrote about a new project in Glasgow that was to be housed in the old Briggait. https://ajb47.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/briggait-glasgow/
This past weekend it was open to the public for people to come and see what’s happening there.
I am absolutely capitivated by the architecture of the building and thrilled to bits with what they are doing.
It is a grade-A listed building in the heart of Glasgow but it has been refurbished and has a new look as an artists’ hub. Its past history has included a fish market, a shopping centre and a sculpture studio but now it has been reborn as the Wasps studios with about 80 artists and cultural organisations. (there are also plans for a circus and trapeze training).
In many of the rooms for hire, there is a floor-to-ceiling window on one side, allowing fellow artists to see into each other’s space. Richard Blass, a painter, says his studio has become like a second home to him.
“I was one of the first people to move in,” Blass says. “The place was dead – it was empty. I was thinking: ‘What have I done? Have I made the right decision?’ But I had. It’s been fantastic – it gets better and better. Now the building is full and it’s not just artists, there’s all the circus and theatre side happening – it’s unbelievable. It’s very, very creative and everyone is very friendly, I’ve got nothing negative to say about the place. It’s brilliant.”
Blass feels the Briggait is helping foster a sense of community. “It’s a very supportive place,” he says. “People pop in for a coffee so you feel less alienated as an artist in a studio in this complex. I’ve had a studio that wasn’t focused in an arts hub and you feel a little like you’re on your own, doing something strange. But if there are lots of people doing the same thing in the same area you feel less weird.”
Angharad McLaren, a 29-year-old textile designer and weaver, also works out of the Wasps studio space in the Briggait. She loves color and has almost covered three of her four walls (the fourth is made of glass) with bright orange, yellow, pink and blue fabric swatches that she uses for her designs. Angharad creates such gifts as cushions and hot-water bottle covers, her work inspired by the sea, either the natural or the sporty side of it. http://www.angharadmclaren.co.uk/