Academy art project is gathering pace

Pupils visit The Discovery Centre in Mintlaw
Pupils visit The Discovery Centre in Mintlaw

A pupil-led art project for the new Ellon Academy campus is starting to take shape.

Youngsters are working towards the design of integrated artworks for the Cromleybank community complex and have been involving local residents in the process.

Last November the first artwork design, entitled “River of Words” was unveiled - a collection of handwritten thoughts and phrases from local people, inspired by the River Ythan, which will “flow” through the atrium separating the reception area and swimming pool of the new facility.

Since then, artist Mary Bourne has been working with Ellon Academy pupils and Aberdeenshire Council architects to get the second design artwork under way.

This piece, entitled “Hand to Hand”, will focus on the passing of local history through objects handed down from person to person and will be located around the top floor balcony in the teaching block.

Pupils visited the council’s muuseum service headquarters, The Discovery Centre in Mintlaw, in December to select significant artefacts with a connection to Ellon or the North-east, which had been handed down through the generations.

The children chose a number of items for inclusion in the latest element of the project, including a, 8-10,000-year-old stone hand axe, a pocket watch, a brooch, a whaling harpoon head and a crucible.

They were pictured with the artefacts and a selection will be displayed in the new school accompanied by a background story.

Staff at the archive centre explained the history of each of the chosen artefacts to the pupils, detailing where it had come from, how it may have been used and how it had passed through the generations.

The project aims to make people think about what is valuable and worth preserving for future generations.

Ellon Academy art teacher Tonya McAlister said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to view historical artefacts at close

“It was also important that they were able to choose items which struck a chord with them.”

Mary Bourne added: “Hand to Hand is turning out to be a fascinating project. From the local treasures we saw and were privileged to hold in our own hands, to family items such as butter clappers and an old Brownie enrolment badge, each has its own absorbing story and creates a tangible link with the lives of people in Ellon in years gone by.

“I can’t wait to see what our public session will bring. All will be welcome to come and to tell us their

The artworks are a key part of the development for the new school which is currently under construction and due for completion by August next year.

The next stage of the Hand to Hand project will be to incorporate artefact contributions from the local community.

A public session will held at Ellon Library on Saturday, March 15, from 10am-noon for people to bring along an artefact to be photographed.