New artists announced to lead the next phase for the “arty wye o’ fairmin”

Aberdeenshire artists Mary Bourne and Lynne Strachan are to lead and develop the pioneering mental health and art project “The Art of Farming” over the next year.

Artists Mary Bourne and Lynne Strachan will lead and develop “The Art of Farming” over the next year.
Artists Mary Bourne and Lynne Strachan will lead and develop “The Art of Farming” over the next year.

The farming community will be able to meet the artists at ‘The Art of Farming’ events this summer.

NFU Scotland’s Vice Chair for the North East, Kevin Gilbert, will host an event at Womblehill Farm, Kintore on July 19, followed by another at Stewart and Yvonne Flett’s Countryframes Gallery in Leslie, Insch on July 20. Both events start at 6pm.

The Art of Farming, launched in August 2021, is an innovative public art programme which seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues in the agricultural community, and explore positive ways to improve farmers’ and agri business employees’ health and work-life balance through creative engagement.

Developed by Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Cultural Engagement team in partnership with Aberdeenshire’s North East farming community, NFU Scotland and Robert Gordon University, the project’s first phase, led by artist Nic Green, saw Raku pottery workshops delivered in a barn, and tile making at the Spring Show at Thainstone.

Engagement with participants led to a diverse mix of images on tiles inspired by farming and the landscape, and pots with textures reflecting barley and the soil. Participants discovered creative skills they had claimed did not exist and worked with each other offering words of encouragement and sharing ideas and stories.

Kevin Gilbert said: “We are looking forward to working alongside Mary and Lynne, as we move into this next phase of the project. Both ladies bring a wealth of past and developing experience of working with rural communities, most recently with local NFUS Banffshire members in the Cabrach, where many of the stories explored and revealed have great synergies with the issues experienced today.”

Live Life Aberdeenshire Cultural Development Officer, Sheila Waterhouse, added: “Through growing understanding, Mary and Lynne have been developing a flexible approach to engagement that works well with the work/life balance challenges that the farming community experiences, which I know they will bring, along with their many and varied creative skills, to The Art of Farming.”