Whithorn Primary School birdhouse competition

Whithorn pupils with Tim Gray
Whithorn pupils with Tim Gray

Pupils at the Whithorn primary school have been busy designing some very imaginative birdhouses for the first “Life’s Little Ironies Creative Design Competition”, which will be held every year.

The competition has been established by the new contemporary arts and crafts gallery and shop, opening in Whithorn in July. Winning designs will be displayed in the gallery and all entrants will be included in a slideshow in the gallery’s first exhibition for the Whithorn Arts and Crafts Trail, and on the Creative Whithorn website. Proprietor Tim Gray, previously a lecturer at Glasgow School of Art, said: “We are keen to encourage creativity in the town and we are delighted to team up with the school to hold a competition each year to stimulate the younger members of our community. The response this year has been fantastic with 100 entries. Each of them will be included in our very first gallery exhibition alongside professional artists.”

A team of judges made up of local artists and makers (Angela Rogerson, Tim Gray, Peter and Marjory Wareing and Lou McGill) had an incredibly difficult job picking the winners. The winning birdhouse was designed by Isla Cathers (aged 4) who added wings to the birdhouse, and there were five runners up who will all receive a prize of an artists sketchpad and watercolour pencils. Runners up were Robert Smith (aged 10) with his Titanic birdhouse, Holly Martin (aged 7) with a Haven aeroplane, Chloe McShane (aged 9) with her cupcake design, Holly Haywood (aged 11) with a bumble bee and Leah Fairclough (aged 6) with a colourful flower design. The children were presented with their prizes in the end of year assembly on Tuesday.

Headteacher, Norman Hughes said: “I am really impressed with the creativity shown and the enthusiasm of the teachers and children. We are delighted that the children will be involved in the Whithorn Arts and Crafts Trail.”

Tim will be building the winning entry to include in the birdhouse display during the first yearly Whithorn Arts & Crafts Trail which will take place July 19-21. The Trail provides a public showcase for all the creative talent from Wigtownshire. Over 30 artists and crafts people have signed up to show their work in 20 venues in the town. These include artists’ open studios, exhibitions in two new private galleries, the recently opened craft workshop and a group show in the St Ninian Gallery. Demonstrations will offer visitors a chance to see the work of painters, potters, spinners and weavers and, at the local smiddy, a blacksmiths forge in operation. The exhibitions will spill into front rooms, garages, gardens and even the railings in the town are being looked at by some artists seeking out new venues!

As part of the trail Bruce Street will be lined with specially designed and decorated birdhouses. They will be attached to trees, lampposts, downpipes and flagpoles, capturing the imagination in colourful and quirky ways. These birdhouses will also be exhibited at the Environmental Art Festival (Wigtownshire Arts Hub weekend) September 14-15.  

Each artist and maker taking part in the Trail will be creating a unique birdhouse as well as members of the community. There will also be a workshop for children to decorate birdhouses at the Whithorn Story Visitor Centre on 12th July at  1-4pm.