#CastingtheNet – Easter weekend in Eyemouth

A more ‘visual’ diary of the Easter weekend when Casting the Net extended out from inland Borders town Selkirk to the coastal town of Eyemouth – there were so many good things happening it is difficult to write them all down!


Eribé Knitwear Design headed by Rosy Eribé and her team of hand knit designers Kristen Orme and Lizzy Knowles led the ‘Knitting, knotting and netting’ event over the weekend with Eyemouth local knitter, Fay Waddell and the Eyemouth Knit and Natter group working alongside. There were beautiful displays of contemporary knitwear from Eribé Knitwear Design and also some exquisitely knitted miniature samples from the local knitting group. Stories were swapped and photographs of the local town and fishing community reminisced over.


Eribé Knitwear Design led a continuous drop-in workshop in teaching knitting techniques in several clever ways (sometimes even without needles just hands!) and over the weekend knitted fish, pom poms and finger knit bangles appeared as a result of the patient coaching.









Eribé Knitwear Design were assisted by volunteers from Borders Textile College who enjoyed getting stuck into learning new techniques and exploring oversized yarn and needles.

A big thank you to the Eribé Knitwear Design team led by Rosy Eribé.


Eyemouth Knitters & Natterers with Liz Dickson who was actually knitting a Gansey on 5 needles over the weekend. Below is a photograph from Fay Waddell showing the display of Ganseys. Thank you very much to the Eyemouth ‘Knit & Natter’ group led by Fay Waddell and her team of locally skilled knitters.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlec Thorburn, admiring one of the Gansey’s loaned to Fay Waddell from local Eyemouth fishing families for the exhibition – each one was labelled with its own story.




photoWhile the knitting workshops progressed local net maker Fiona Drewery (of Stuart Nets) set up her net making station and while making a net also had one for people to try out net making. The net being made was beautifully crafted and people trying to do it began to appreciate the skills required to consistently produce an evenly made and durable net.







On Saturday morning Casting the Net artist, Mark Timmins led a free workshop with Eyemouth Harbour’s Pocketful Kids run by Kerry Waddell and Sophie McNeil. In the workshop Mark explored with the kids the relationship of knotting and weaving with the fishing nets of Eyemouth, creating with the contribution of the children, a textile and embellished tapestry, which will now be donated to Eyemouth Primary School for them to display at the end of the weekend.  The children who went along with their parents drew, cut, knotted and wove with a large piece of fishing net and some beautiful Lovat Tweed from Selkirk.





Upstairs in the Mission there was an exhibition of the work of the Casting the Net artists Sam Bain, Alice Francis, Mary Morrison, Kevin Peden and James Wyness. Each of the artists work related to the sea and/ or Eyemouth in very particular ways.

Sam Bains recent works Boatyard with Fifie, 2013 and Robina Inglis, 2013 related to her visits to Eyemouth and meeting Johnny Johnston who with his team of young people have restored an original Fifie sailing vessel.

Kevin Peden and James Wyness have also been inspired by their time spent in Eyemouth Harbour but in very different ways.

Kevin Peden set up his easel in Dickson’s Boatyard and was inspired by the work and volunteers working on the reconstruction of the Good Hope, Fifie sailing boat.


James spent his time in Eyemouth recording in the Ice House and on the fishing and sailing boats of Eyemouth, in Selkirk town square where the mobile fish van comes each week with fresh fish from Eyemouth and produced and mixed a sound piece which captured the essence of the coast and the town. James performed live in the Mission on Saturday afternoon to a relaxed audience who were knitting, knotting and netting- absorbing the sounds recorded locally.

Mary Morrisons abstract paintings above the almost technical paintings of Sam Bain sang of the sea and combined ‘a sense of place with layers of meaning suggested by annotation – of music, mapping, measuring.  Grid references, staves, shipping charts and tide tables recur in (Mary’s) work, and there is often a focus on the transition between land and sea.’

Cool Water2

Saturday was also the premiere of  the film ‘Fish-out-of-water’ by Casting the Net artist, Alice Francis. Alice set out from Eyemouth to walk inland to Selkirk in her wonderfully constructed  ‘Fish-out-of-water’ costume made from beach combed plastics and nets – while her intention was to walk the whole of the way she was hampered by the cold snap which hit the whole of the Borders the week before Casting the Net opened, even waking up to 5 inches of snow around her tent the first morning. In Alice’s own words; ‘An intrepid ‘Silver Darling’ retraces the routes of her ancestors by hiking inland along The Herring Walk. A humorous adventure in ichthyology!’


WP_20130329_026On Eyemouth Harbourside Johnny Johnston was out in the sunshine proudly showing off the beautifully restored Fifie, ‘Good Hope’, an original sailing vessel worked on by local volunteers and a group of local young people in Dickson’s Boatyard over seen by Johnny.

Eyemouth Museum was the final Casting the net venue in Eyemouth and they had set up a special exhibition on their first floor gallery of archive photographs of the local fishing industry, a selection of older Ganseys hung with three contemporary Ganseys made by Eribé and played a DVD about the history of the Gansey and also one made by Eribé Knitwear.

Teas, coffees and home-baking were provided in the Mission by the Eyemouth Community Trust – Anne McNeil and Sina Anderson effortlessly hosting the visitors to the workshops and exhibition upstairs in the Mission.

Thank you and well done to everyone involved in so many ways, friends made, skills, patterns and stories swapped – it was a lovely atmosphere and well attended. Even the sun shone for us on Saturday!


#Castingthenet OPENs today in Eyemouth:

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 06.46.34With just 3 hours to go until we open the #Castingthenet venues in Eyemouth, the weather forecast looks good and the urn is on! Come and join in the workshops and events happening today. All #Castingthenet Selkirk venues are open today as well! Starts at 10am…

FREE Kids workshops at Pocketful start at 10.00am. Make tweed weed!

Update later with photos!

Casting the Net in Eyemouth proudly presents ‘The Fifie’ this Easter weekend…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe traditional ‘Fifie’ sailing vessel Good Hope, registered originally in Newhaven and over 90 years old

This Easter weekend on Eyemouth Harbour-side you will be able to view and admire the work of a dedicated team of craftsmen, volunteers and young apprentices who have skilfully restored an traditional ‘Fifie’ sailing vessel called Good Hope, registered originally in Newhaven and over 90 years old.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFormer harbour master Johnny Johnston has been leading the team

In a workshop behind the harbour in Eyemouth, former harbour master Johnny Johnston has been leading the team working on the vessel.

According to Johnny, ‘there’s not a straight line on her’ but he proudly maintains that along with the Chinese junk it’s the most efficient sailing vessel ever built.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe mast has been fashioned from the trunk of the Christmas tree gifted to Edinburgh from Norway

The mast has been fashioned from the trunk of the Christmas tree donated by Norway that stood on the Mound in Edinburgh three years ago. Unusually, the mast can be lowered and raised while the boat is still at sea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Fifie painted and almost complete

Johnny’s next project is to build another Fifie, twice the length, but this time from scratch!


Casting the Net Venue e4, Eyemouth Harbour (Easter weekend):

Sat 30th to Sun 31st March, 10am – 4pm

Work starts on setting up the Casting the Net exhibition and workshop in The Mission, Eyemouth Harbour

Yesterday, the Casting the Net team started to set up Casting the Net venue, e1 The Mission, Eyemouth Harbour. This is where over Easter weekend, textiles and fishing will be woven together with story, memory and song.


Callum Sinclair & Keith Alexander setting up the drift net and oar.


Drift net in position.


Sam Bain, Casting the Net artists hanging one of her paintings in The Mission, exhibition.


Callum Sinclair, Casting the Net Joint Project Manager hanging Mary Morrison’s paintings in The Mission


Casting the Net being set up in The Mission, Eyemouth

Casting the Net Events and Exhibitions THIS EASTER WEEKEND at The Fishermen’s Mission, Eyemouth:

10am – 4pm (Sat 30th March & Sun 31st March) The Fishermen’s Mission, Harbour Road: ‘Knitting, Knotting & Netting’ Workshop

Come and join in a free drop-in workshop exploring the two Borders traditions of textiles and net making.

Eribé Knitwear, a successful Galashiels company are leading the  ’knitting, knotting & netting’ workshop in The Mission, Eyemouth Harbour. Together with the knitters, netters and natterers of Eyemouth they will take a contemporary look at gansey knitting, inspire, and in the knitting, patterns and stories will be stitched.

Several levels of workshop open all day from complete beginners and kids to more experienced knitters. There will be demonstrations and examples of old and contemporary Gansey knitting, alongside traditional net makers at work repairing and making new nets. All involved are keen to impart their knowledge to a new generation.

A great opportunity to expand your own skills, have fun, share your own experiences and patterns and admire the skill of the modern day Gansey knitter.


There will also be retired fisherman Alex Thorburn who will tell his yarns and reminisce with extraordinary poetry.

10am – 4pm (Sat & Sun) The Fishermen’s Mission, Harbour Road: Exhibition

Exhibition of work by Casting the Net artists, Kevin PedenSam Bain and Mary Morrison. See yesterdays post for more info.

Selkirk: Venue s2 Border Cloth, High Street

Border Cloth our black-out venue is where artist Catriona Taylor and poet Stuart Delves have installed their beautiful, thought provoking projected work, Sea Change.

Sea Change 2

A still from Catriona Taylor’s film of the projection, 2013

The continuation of the Scottish fishing industry has been a theme that Catriona first explored as a painting student at Edinburgh College of Art in 2002. Obviously the situation has moved on since then and being selected to be part of the Casting the Net project was a great opportunity to revisit Eyemouth and gauge the current situation.

Sea change1

Sea Change3

Sea Change5

Stills from Catriona Taylor’s film of the projection, 2013

Catriona and writer Stuart Delves have taken a research based approach to the work; they interviewed two fishermen in Eyemouth who were generous enough to share lots of facts and their feelings about fishing – historically and currently. They have also read government documents and researched the environmental impact of over fishing.  It has been a fascinating process.

They decided to create an installation, which has a large water tank at its core, reminiscent of the large fish tanks in the Fisheries Mutual Agency at Eyemouth. The tank is empty to reflect the demise of the fishing industry in Scotland, an industry that has been relentlessly cut until there are only a handful of fishing boats in Eyemouth harbour.  It also represents the over fishing that has undeniably caused the stocks of many fish species in the North Sea to diminish.

The words written in a haiku form (a three line verse) are projected on the empty water as an attempt to convey an understanding of the multi faceted situation in a non partisan way. The poignancy of words are counter pointed by the healing, all pervasive sound of the sea.

We have been asked by a couple of people who have viewed Catriona Taylor and Stuart Delves projection piece if we could post the complete poem in Haiku on the demise of Eyemouth’s fishing industry from start to finish, so please find a copy below to read and reflect on:



Haiku on the demise of Eyemouth’s fishing industry


Once upon a time

Fifty boats in Eyemouth harbour

Now it’s single figures


There was industry ashore

Packing, gutting, barrel making

Now it’s all but gone


Then skipper/owners

Were the order of the day

Sons followed suit



Fleets followed herring

By March ten thousand men and women

Had decamped to Shetland



Those were the good days

When you could walk across the Forth

Head to toe with sprat



By the early 60s

Buyers had imposed quotas:

It started with sprat


For sprat and white fish

There was eight pence a stone

Government subsidy



The buyers were kings

Setting skipper against skipper

Kin against kin



The sea was a field

For those who wade in their dreams

To find its secrets



1974, Ted Heath

‘Sells’ the fishing industry:

Welcome CFP


The European Union’s

Common Fishing Policy.

Not good for Scotland


Which has 8.6%

Of the UK’s population

But lands 62%


Of total fish catch

By value; the industry employs

1% of the population


Politicians say

“Cinderella Industry”

When talking of us


Brussels divvies up:

Fish for the French and Spanish

Banking for UK


The policy has failed

To conserve white fish stocks:

Cod and haddock



Restrictions, hard, yes

But greed’s the deeper wrecker:

‘Fill yer boots’ the cry.


The skill of ring and

Drift net swept aside by trawlers

Churning up sea beds


Landing by the ton

Catch and by-catch indiscriminate:

Discard dead and maimed


Corrugatinging the beds

Where fish spawn and sand eels breed

Sprouting thick as grass



Sand eels are fish food

But trawled by the Danes at Dogger

Mulched for bacon pigs


Boats have been seen queuing

At Dogger Bank, to take their

Turn to turn the blade in



Silver ghosted gills

Glimmer in the reveries

Of housebound skippers


There’s expense as well

£6K a tank of red diesel

£180K a new boat



Sons gone to the rigs

Oil money, not haul money:

Boys away, nae visitors


Now there’s a new quota

Nineteen days a month at sea, max:

That doesn’t make ends meet


E-log satellite!

Like trying to drive a car

While watching TV


Red tape, policy

Quotas, skewed fishing rights

The whole caboodle


But then there’s shellfish

More lobster now than for ages

Crabs, prawns, langoustines


Weep not for white fish

Prawn nets burrow into mud

Crustacean silver


Keeping prawns live for

Mercamadrid, Boqueria

More money, less catch


It’s not as it was

Though, ice plant’s gone, market too

Masts few, far between










The industry slashed

By 70% since 2003

Can’t take any more cuts


December’s quotas

A glimmer of hope at last

For Scotland, Eyemouth


Prawns raised by 18 %

West Coast herring by 20%

Haddock from 47% to 30%



On blustery days

Washing like sails at the backs

Bringing it all home



Sea Change, 2013:  Concept & visuals by Catriona Taylor, words by Stuart Delves

Selkirk: Casting the Net Opening Day Events


Fresh fish from Eyemouth ready to be filleted by Billy Clansman Aitchison in the Market Square

What a great start to the Casting the Net fortnight – thank you and well done to everyone involved in the Selkirk Opening Day, we had a great turn out to the venues and the fish gutting and over 60 people attended the live performance by James Wyness in Rowland’s (Selkirk).



Billy Clansman Aitchison in the Market Square, Selkirk, demonstrating the art of gutting and filleting fish & dressing crabs





s1 No. 1 Tower Street Open and ready for visitors, with around 30 visitors over the afternoon




s3 No. 48 West Port Open and ready for visitors, again busy and serving welcome refreshments





Installation in window and textile work on the pedestrian barrier outside Rowland’s by Casting the Net artist, Mark Timmins


Curator Helen Douglas with Casting the Net artist, Mary Morrison



Window installation (set of windows to the right of the front door) by Rowland’s (Selkirk) Youth Group


s4 24-26 West Port, Rowland’s (Selkirk) Opening Day:

The Rowland’s Youth group members and volunteers ran a great coffee afternoon which was kept very busy all afternoon, and was a great place to warm up and catch up with people while looking at the art installations they had made.


Curators of Casting the Net – Helen Douglas and Keith Alexander giving a speech at Rowland’s (Selkirk)

Everyone is looking forward to the countdown to Eyemouth next weekend…6 days to go!

(images by CtN volunteer photographer Isabell Buenz http://www.isabellbuenz.co.uk and curator Helen Douglas)

Casting the Net **OPENING DAY** (Selkirk) Events and exhibitions open from 2pm…



Casting the Net bkltpge 4&5 Events


It is opening day and here are the events unfolding today – come along and support contemporary art in the Borders and see how empty spaces can be regenerated and (we hope you agree) be transformed into interesting and stimulating exhibition spaces showcasing the talent of artists working in Scotland. More to follow later…