New Art Project encourages West Lothian residents to turn local river into art – Art News Scotland


AN ART PROJECT aimed at encouraging local residents to engage with its environment and wildlife has introduced three “brass rubbing plates.”

The project called “Riverlife: Three sites on the Almond” will have  three brass panels form a trail along the river Almond in Livingston, starting from Kirkton to Craigshill.

The project  created by Forth Rivers Trust means locals can now create brass rubbings of their own and take these home after going on the trail.

River Life art project in Livingston - Art News Scotland
The brass plates aim to encourage locals to interact with their environment and wildlife.

Starting at  Kirkton the first brass rubbing is situated upstream along the path from Almond Valley Visitor Centre, at the end of the train line.

From there at  Howden: the second can be found along the footpath downstream of the old bridge at Almondvale park, next to the blue viewing platform.

Finally walkers will come to Craigshill where the rubbing is located along the path downstream of Almond Park, near to the footbridge at the Rugby Club.

The workshops were facilitated by artists Annie Lord and Morvern Odling, who also created the final brass rubbing plates.

The River Life project two people posing in front of the brass plaque with art - Art News Scotland
The project features three brass plates which can. be used to create unique pieces of art.

These are based on drawings created by several of the workshop participants, including amateur artists and other residents who had not drawn anything for years. 

The project used a very old form of photography – Cyanotypes – to develop participants’  original drawings.

Morvern explained: “We wanted to provide an opportunity for people to join us in the artists’ process – from the very beginning of research, all the way through to a completed piece. No part of this artwork came only from us, it was a truly collaborative process.

“We began with guided walks along the river, where we could combine speaking with people with the very first sketches and visual explorations.

“It was during these walks where we began to see what passion and ownership local people have for the River Almond.” 

A woman holding a piece of art created by the brass plaque - Art News Scotland
The Forth Rivers Trust aims to engage people with rivers and wildlife that live within the Forth catchment whilst conserving rivers and their important species for future generations.

Speaking at the unveiling of the brass plaques, Nim Kibbler, Almond and Avon Manager for Forth River Trust said: “We’re delighted with the results of these beautiful artworks created in partnership with the local community.

“They bring the river wildlife into sharp focus and help to encourage walkers and other visitors to the river bank to stop a moment, get to know their rivers better and keep an eye out for some of the flora and fauna depicted on the brass rubbings. 

“We hope that these works help us all get to know our rivers better and enrich the time we spent exploring them.” 

As Annie Lord explained: “Many of these have been used on the accompanying information boards next to the brass rubbing panels.”