Hermitage Academy

In February 2014, art organisation WAVEparticle, delivered a ‘My Creative Community’ day at Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh. It was a unique day of creative activity, involving all 260 S1 pupils in 72 workshops, developing ideas for a John Muir plinth for the Outdoor Museum and also for the artwork on the esplanade, which now marks the beginning and the end of the new John Muir Way.

The entire day was hugely exciting, taking inspiration from the example of John Muir himself who proposed. When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”. Throughout the course of the day, Hermitage Academy pupils creatively explored their connectedness to each other, and to the world that they live in- with emphasis on the idea of creating community- as grandfather of the modern ecology movement, John Muir stressed the importance of a caring community that was connected to nature and landscape.

Pupils participated in a wide range of creative workshops, focusing on a number of themes ranging from objects and their stories, to invention, to landscape and memory, to mapping. These themes explored history, geography, science, art, storytelling and poetry and all in relation to John Muir and to Helensburgh.

In a series of sculpture workshops with artist Lauren Gault, pupils learned how to create handbuilt clay / ceramic sculptures, the purpose of which was to convey the significance of John Muir’s life and legacy – with the pupils making everything from the compass he may have used to the boot he may have worn! From the resulting artworks, 5 were chosen by a Selection Panel (comprised of local councillors and residents), to be cast in bronze, to grace the Plinth, which you can now see in Colquhoun Square.

The ‘My Creative Community’ day saw the involvement and input of 24 artists, writers and designers; representative of Scottish Natural Heritage, Creative Scotland, Argyll & Bute Council; local historians, Stewart Noble and Alistair McIntyre and of course, the pupils and the staff of Hermitage Academy. A huge thanks is extended to everyone who contributed.