Artist is to illustrate Wigtown windows

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Award-winning illustrator Astrid Jaekel is to create a series of back-lit window installations for Wigtown.

The project is to promote this year’s Wigtown Book Festival by engaging with festival-goers and getting to grips with what makes Wigtown such a unique cornerstone of Scottish literary life.

Astrid has been awarded the Spring Fling x Wigtown Book Festival Residency 2013/14. An Edinburgh-based artist and illustrator who works in various media, Astrid has recently been experimenting with the traditional medium of papercut and the various ways which such work can be displayed. Methods she has experimented with range from delicate backlit window installations to large-scale laser cut sheets of industrial steel.

One of her greatest achievements is her most recent which will see her papercut designs being laser cut into metal sheets and integrated into the BT Telephone Exchange on Edinburgh’s Rose Street. Astrid has worked for various clients including the City of Edinburgh Council, Essential Edinburgh, the Prince’s Foundation, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature and British Telecom.

Astrid’s next project will be part one of the two-part Spring Fling x Wigtown Book Festival residency. Now in its fifth year, this public engagement residency allows an artist the time and space to create a new body of work during the Wigtown Book Festival by engaging with festival audiences and locals, and then to showcase this work during the following Spring Fling.

Adrian Turpin, director of Wigtown Book Festival, said: “We loved Astrid’s proposal, which looks both inwards at the local and outward towards the world, a real reflection of what the festival is trying to do. Spring Fling is going from strength each year and we feel very privileged to be able to work with them on a residency for the fifth time.”

The residency has gathered momentum year on year as both Spring Fling and Wigtown Book Festival continue to grow, engage with locals, yet attract national and international audiences; Astrid fought off stiff competition from almost 40 applicants from across the world.

Hazel Campbell, chairwoman of Spring Fling, added: “We look forward to working with Astrid in our annual collaboration with Wigtown Book Festival. Her amazing and thought-provoking window decorations will enhance Wigtown’s County Buildings this September and add an element of the unexpected to next year’s Spring Fling.”

In her project entitled “Windows of Wigtown” Astrid will collect people’s feelings, memories and perceptions of the town and its book festival. She wants to understand what makes the place tick and what makes it such a unique cornerstone of Scottish literary life.

Astrid will then create a series of window displays to share people’s experiences, in effect creating a window through which the world can gain a greater understanding of Wigtown and its book festival.

Astrid said: “Windows frame our lives and provide us a means of viewing the world, be it that which exists outside our homes or the one which we gain a cheeky glimpse of when walking past our neighbour’s house.

“I am thrilled to have been awarded the residency. I am looking forward to seeking out opportunities to create public art which is meaningful to the town, its residents and visitors, and interweaving stories inspired by the energy of the book festival. My work is place and site specific and I am very excited to have the chance to live and breathe Wigtown at two different times of year.”