Five artists show in a byre is a pop-up exhibition of applied arts in an agricultural building. The ageing concrete of the walls and floors quietly surrounds the works in tones of grey and green. An occasional splash of red tells the tale of a hastily cleaned paintbrush; the skylights pop and creak as they expand and shift among the slates. The building is unchanged from when it was last used for milking cows in the late 60’s so the troughs remain, alongside pipelines, chains and brackets. The air is cool and still, disturbed only when a swallow finds its way in, or a bluebottle is busy exploring the shadows.
After 25 years in London, I came back to Glarryford in 2013, having sold my city flat to buy the house and farmyard where I now live and work. Seeing the wealth of local talent, my professional background as an events director kicked in, and I realised the byre would be an ideal spot in which to curate a show for August Craft Month. My focus is on local artists and makers whose work speaks of the landscape, so the materials are natural and the colours muted. This year’s exhibition includes furniture maker Noel McCullough, artist blacksmith Eamonn Higgins, handmade paper by Cecilia Stephens and textile works by Anushiya Sundaralingam, alongside my own ‘functionless tools’.
My personal practice explores our connection to making through playing with tool forms. I use wood, metal and textiles to create a ‘tool museum’ that invites the viewer to imagine what an individual piece might be for. As individuals continue to consume more than they produce, we are collectively forgetting skills that once sustained everyday life, and I try to find ways to encourage connection to those skills. As the daughter of a dairy farmer the byre itself is therefore an extension of my own practice.
The show is a way of side-stepping the formality of a gallery and the distance of the city. By refusing to disturb the integrity of the space, I have to find other ways to display works, but in return the surfaces of the byre give back so much more than if they were drilled into and crisply painted. Glenn Adamson has said that “where artistic practice has normally been orientated to optical effects, craft is organised around material experience”. By presenting these works in a space that triggers memories for many visitors and questions for others, Five artists show in a byre offers visitors a different experience of the work and a glimpse of its origins within the local landscape.
Details are now on my sister site www.frocess-yard.co.uk
 Glenn Adamson, Thinking Through Craft (Oxford: Berg, 2007) 4.