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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Friday, 17 December 2010

Grow Your Own Calendar (Baldernock Style)


I live in the parish of Baldernock - a rural community just north of Glasgow and it has a completely different dynamic from most neighbourhoods. The focal points of the community are the little rural school, Baldernock Primary School, the church and various little groups dotted around which meet for walking, sailing, reading etc etc.

It's traditionally a farming community and recently when the school closed because of heavy snow, the fact that a few dads are farmers with their own tractors came in handy.

A slow burn sort of place, Baldernock is a bit like a garden in winter. There are deep roots and there's always activity burrowing away behind the scenes.

An example of this is the Baldernock Cut The Carbon Group, which is committed to reducing the carbon emissions of Baldernock. In 2010, a small band of dedicated eco-foot soldiers who live in the community, received funding from the Climate Challenge Fund to raise awareness of climate change and to reduce the carbon footprint of the community as a whole.

Spearheaded by Alison Hazell (a fine name for an eco foot soldier), Jean Langhorne, and Lynnda Wardle, the Cut the Carbon Group has been pulling the strings of the tiny community together to create a more cohesive platform for residents to communicate. The cliche 'you don't realise what's on your own doorstep' has been brought home by their activities over the last few months.

The children and young people in the area have been really engaged in this process and the group's latest project, a Scottish Grow Your Own calendar for 2011 has reached out further afield.

I was unaware of the calendar until Lynnda Wardle emailed me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd come along to Anniesland College earlier this week, where they were launching it.

The calendar was the brainchild of Alison Hazell and Lynnda, who had been thinking for a while that it would be good to have a seasonal 'grow your own' calendar, specifically for Scottish growing conditions.

A local author Geraldine Perriam, was asked to write a month-by-month description of what to sow and harvest and a few months ago Lynnda approached the first year Visual Communication students at Anniesland College to see if they could do produce the artwork.

Lynnda explained: "The tutors were really enthusiastic and adapted the calendar as part of the course for the students. Three weeks ago Geraldine and I went to the final presentation of the students' work and were really impressed with the thought that had gone into the individual designs.

"It has been an interesting cross-over excercise - most of the students had never heard of Baldernock before they started the design work and so hopefully this calendar will also raise Baldernock's profile as well as encourage people to grow some veggies."

The students and tutors of Anniesland College had all really engaged in the process and it was great to hear a selection of the students speak about how they had arrived at their own particular design (each student had been assigned a month)

Mustafa Sarwar spoke eloquently about how he had initially been a bit negative about being given December, but his thoughtful depiction of roots pressing down under the earth while the ice takes hold above was particularly prescient, reminding us all that nature's circle game has its own mysterious ways of turning.

Yasmin Aborida's April design had a hint of darkness around the curling tapestry-like floral design which hit exactly the right note. Kirstin Dunn's explanation of how she arrived at her depiction of August, with its broccolli, tomato and onion design, reminded us of how much effort, thought and time went into this process.

The calendar (expertly printed by Creative Colour Bureau Glasgow) looks as good as any commercial calendar you'd buy on the high street so job done.

As college principal Linda McTavish said at the launch, it has been a good exercise for them in the reality of working to commercial deadlines - which are always tight.

If you're looking for a unique calendar for next year which can help you with your 'Good Life' resolution, then look no further.

2011 Calendar
Scottish Seasonal 'Grow Your Own'
£5 each
Available at Anniesland College, Balmore Coach House, Milngavie Bookshop.
For more information on how to buy see:
www.baldernock.org or email info@baldernock.org

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