The OURS project reached successful completion in August 2009. Young poeple across Sutherland have challenged themselves, created some fantastic work and inspired others!

Please browse through this Spanners blog, which began in November 2007, to learn about all the project activities.


The Visitors Have Gone....

Our visiting Icehouse artist have left after the succesful opening of their exhibition on Friday 3 July, THE VISITORS, but before leaving they spent a very rewarding afternoon with some of our young helmies!

Saturday 27 June, Anne Brodie and Yael Rosenblut led an eager group of 5 young artists on a journey of discovery, exploring and manipulating scale, composition and collage to produce some beautiful art works.

Thalia's paw

The group began by collecting specimens from the Timespan garden in transparent bags. The bags and their content were then photocopied and blown up to different degrees. The detailed results were then mixed with found images and further copies of the artists' choice.

Jodie examines her bag of collected specimens from the garden.

Anne and Yael

The results of the groups activity were then framed within clock faces. Time is a theme that has run through the work Anne and Yael since they have been here, and now the group will have an artwork that will remind them of their time in timespan forever!

Emily, Jodie, Audrey, Isobel and Thalia


The Visitors Workshop


Explore new dimensions in printed image. Rediscover photo copy, cut out and collage. Make the micro, macro! Create miniature collages and etchings and see the unexpected images that they create when magnified and projected. This exciting workshop into the unknown is led by our two visiting artists Yael Rosenblut and Anne Brodie .

Open to all young people aged between 8 and 12 yrs old.

Bring in magazines, photographs and using Timespan’s printing services, explore scale, repetition, colour and change.

For more information and to book your place, please contact Ruth: art@timespan.org.uk
01431 821 327



The Ice House, Helmsdale’s monumental deep freeze. Once a store for salmon catch, later a coal fired fish and chip shop. Now the vaulted chamber plays host to the second in a series of three double sited works, marking the end of two years as Timespan’s artist in residence and youth arts curator for Ruth Macdougall.

‘’Anything worth doing is probably going to take longer than you think ‘’ wrote my late friend Dave, on a note pinned to the door of his studio. Would two years be long enough?

Since August 2007 I have led nearly 300 participants in 8 communities across the region in the OURS youth arts project, facilitating their interaction with over 50 artists from the UK and abroad through trips, events, workshops and apprenticeships. Driving forward the next chapter in the life of Helmsdale’s Ice House, illuminating and establishing an environment in a building for which the possibilities are now limitless, is the permanent legacy that I leave. Yet amidst all this activity, I was all the time hoping that I would recognise my own work when I saw it…

The circus elephant in the picture below is called Bosko, the photograph was taken circa 1900 and he is one of three unlikely creatures that live in Timespan’s photographic archive; a llama, an elephant and a camel. He is approaching the two children at what would appear to be a bit of a trot – elephants cannot run. What happened next?
I reckon he slaps the kid and makes a run for it.

Ruth Macdougall

22 MAY 7-9 PM


Mask Making Workshop - Day 3

Mask Fossils
Today our masks are dry, we cracked them open and look what came out!

More pics to come.....


Cath Whippey Mask Making - Day 2

Tuesday, and work began on the papier mache process. 5 layers if possible in alternationg colors. No folds!
The group liked the glue, which stayed warm for a little while after turing into paste/ semolina!. As the masks turned different colors, the group found that the personalities of their masks changed. Blue and Purple were the best colors for papering.
A special archival glue was used on the masks. This glue is normally used in book binding and has no acid in it, so it's kind to hands and doesn't effect the paper.

Cath helps Dawn smooth out any unruly folds.

Joel's wolf looked good in pink!

The wet papier mache made the masks look almost plasticy.

The hog.

Ruth's blue elephant.

The masks will have to dry next to the raidiators for two days before we can extract the clay and begin painting them. We next meet on Friday to do just this.