by Margaret Chrystall
A SPECIAL print made by first-time artists from the Beauly Men’s Shed will go on show at the Highland Print Studio on Tuesday (October 13).
Part of the Scottish-wide Luminate Festival, the Shedcase project also means that as well as the print being on show until the end of the month, 40 copies of it will go on sale to raise money for the Men’s Shed.
Jim Stewart set up the Men’s Shed, Beauly, which has about 40 members, after being inspired by taking part in a Wise Guys workshop at Highland Print Studio.
The project is designed for men over 50 who want to learn about printmaking.
For the Luminate project, Jim returned with colleagues Men’s Shed colleagues George Watt, Bill Souter and Alex Ramsay who are trying printing for the first time.
Over two Tuesdays, the group met up with Highland Print Studio manager John McNaught, first to discuss the image they wanted to create, before learning the processes involved in making a print and then going on to create an edition of 40 prints to sell.
The studio’s new Wise Guys workshop starts soon for men over 50 who have never tried anything artistic before would like to try their hand at art – and getting their hands dirty!
The course is funded by High Life Highland and has been running for three years with some of the men selling and exhibiting the work they’ve made — one of them has even gone on to engineer his own printing press.
Print studio director Alison McMenemy said: "We originally received funding to work with older men because research shows that older men have difficulty finding activities that appeal to them.
"A lot of activities for older people can be dominated by women. men aren’t as natural engagers as women can be.
"We now know that printmaking and its emphasis on working with materials, tools and equipment, is the thing that gets their creative juices flowing."
"Quite a few of the Wise Guys have gone on to become members and are still using the studio. Two of them are now on our board and have been on Radio Scotland’s Culture Cafe talking about it."
The Shedcase project is funded by Luminate and Alison has a hunch what the final print might look like.
"I think they’ll create an image around sheds," she laughed.
Anyone interested in joining the Wise Guys can call 01463 718999 or info@highlandprintstudio