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.

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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.

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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 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…

Opening Day…15 hours to go!

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 22.33.14Well the blog is telling us it is 15 hours to go…how are we getting on?! Well this is what has been going on since yesterday


This morning Casting the Net artists and poet – Natasha Smith, Catriona Taylor and Stuart Delves were all hard at work setting up their work in No. 1 and Border Cloth exhibition spaces. Natasha has work in No. 1 and Catriona and Stuart have created a blacked out, atmospheric space for their installation in Border Cloth. It has been a very busy day, trying to get things finished off, print jobs sorted and all the details just right.

The weather has been bitter but has not deterred everyone in their work. Neville Rae and Callum Sinclair have worked hard at work in amongst the newly made plinths and just delivered art work to complete the final joinery work so that Jill Watson’s bronze can be fixed in the bay window space.

Helen Douglas has been following everyone around with paint brush in hand, while with the other arranging and curating the works in the spaces.

Keith Alexander has been helping fine tune projected works, curate the exhibitions and at the same time complete the exhibition literature to a racing print deadline – all done now!




Finally, you can see how the exhibition is coming together in No. 1 with work from Casting the Net artist, Mary Morrison sitting calmly next to beautiful hand knitted fishermen’s Gansey’s.







While at No. 48 West Port the work of Casting the Net artists, Lawson Wood and Alice Francis have been installed and are really looking vibrant and intriguing. SO…

Please come along to Selkirk tomorrow:

Casting the Net bkltpge 4&5 Events

Saturday 23rd March 2013 – Opening Day Events Selkirk

2pm The Market Place: A demonstration of the art of fish gutting by Billy Clansman Aitchison

2pm – 5pm Rowland’s, No. 24 – 26 West Port: Coffee afternoon hosted by Rowland‘s (Selkirk)

3.30pm Rowland’s, No. 24 – 26 West Port: Introductory speeches

4pm Rowland’s, No. 24 – 26 West Port: James Wyness: ‘guddle and flype’ sound performance premiere

Exhibitions from Saturday 23rd March to Saturday April 6th Selkirk Open every day 10am – 4pm (Note: 2pm – 4pm on the opening day)

s1 No. 1 Tower Street: Mary Morrison, Natasha Smith, Jill Watson, James Wyness

s2 Border Cloth, High Street: Catriona Taylor & Stuart Delves

s3 No. 48 West Port: Alice Francis, Lawson Wood

note: Shopfront Exhibition only

s4 Rowland’s, No. 24 – 26 West Port: Mark Timmins & Rowland’s (Selkirk) Youth Group

Join us in celebrating coast to inland: Casting the Net!

Rowland’s (Selkirk) Youth Group @ 24-26 West Port – Installation up and looking great!

Rowland’s is very excited to be taking part in the ‘Casting The Net’ exhibition…

Two of Rowland’s windows will be hosting the work of  artist Mark Timmins and two windows hosting a display of work by the young people of Rowland’s.



The young people have decided to create their own ‘fishing net’ out of scoobies and friendship bracelets, catching items and images personal to the young people. The other window is based around a ‘message in a bottle’ – the idea that all the bottles may look the same but each one holds a private message to each young person – written either as a message to their future selves or a message looking back on their youth.







The young people have also made their own digital alphabet, collecting digital images of letters they found in Selkirk. This is displayed in the Dry Bar at Rowland’s.

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Rowland’s will very kindly be hosting sound artist James Wyness and the premier of his piece ‘guddle and flype’ @4pm – so will be open on Saturday 23rd March 2-5pm, and will be hosting a small coffee afternoon too.

Please pop in if you are in the town.

From Rowland’s (Selkirk) website at – great work and they are always looking for volunteers. Please come and support them on Saturday as they host the opening event for Casting the Net.

Work continues at No. 1 Tower Street and Casting the Net artist, Natasha Smith drops by…

Yesterday work continued on getting No. 1 Tower Street, Selkirk prepared. Keith Alexander was joined by Lawrence Robertson of Selkirk Regeneration Company (thank you!) who have taken on the ownership of No. 1 described as ‘…the derelict shop at the foot of Tower Street.   The windows have now been repaired, and we are seeking funding to renovate the inside.  The long-term vision is for it to be useful community resource.’

Casting the Net artist, Natasha Smith, came in with some of her work to try out in the space so we could see how it looked in the light. No. 1 is looking dazzling with its fresh coat of white paint and there has been alot of interest from people passing and looking into the shop.


detail coffee fossilcrop




Some snaps of Natasha’s work before is it exhibited,  beautifully carved into pieces of slate and sandstone. Please look at her website at for more of her work and have a look on our artists page to read more about Natasha’s approach to Casting the Net.

Presenting Alice Francis: ‘Fish out of Water’ – in full costume.


Presenting Alice Francis: ‘Fish out of Water’, photography by:, portraits taken in Dumfriesshire before Alice set out to her starting point of Eyemouth.


‘The Fish out Water’ started her journey from Eyemouth to Selkirk today – the weather is rotten and the forecast amber for snow tomorrow. Someone on the snow machine up there please switch it off! Fantastic costume made from beach combed plastics, netting and ropes I am sure we will find more on closer examination. This costume will be displayed in No. 48 West Port in Selkirk on Alice’s arrival, weather permitting this Thursday…watch this space for a progress update!