November 25, 2015

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This winter seems to have been quiet for SFMA, however looking at what has happened, that is far from the truth.

The After the Storm exhibition opened for applications in late November and selection will be complete by mid February, a little later than expected as a result of one of the selectors being sick. The selection process is confidential and feedback is offered to those who have not been selected, something done by RBGE who are promoting the exhibition. I notice that generally the opportunity to exhibit furniture in a selective environment, unlike art exhibitions, is limited and so makers and designers are probably less practised at applying, which makes the feedback most valuable.

It has been an interesting project so far from an organisational point of view. A wide range of interested parties coming from different points of view all working together to a common purpose. Environmentalists, ecologists, furniture makers, wood lovers, public servants, artists, members of the disabled community, it feels like a big challenge, but so far it is moving forward steadily.

The Forestry Commission invited us to mount a small exhibition at Holyrood in late January. This was at the end of year review presented by Jo O’Hara head of FCS, at which the activities of the year are celebrated. The SFMA were mentioned as an example of how FCS are supportive of a wide variety of industries, including leisure and creative endeavour as well as the major bulk of their work in commercial softwoods. Five members of SFMA showed pieces and they came from far and wide. Furthest and perhaps newest was Keith Coghill from Thurso. The other exhibitors were Frazer Reid from Fife, Tom Cooper and Tom Foottit from Edinburgh and me from Aberdeenshire. The photos below shows Frazer with his wooden bowtie and Keith with his thumbs enjoying the evening, plus an overall view of the stand.

Alan Dalgety, Chris Scotland and Anna Nichols are preparing our own 2016 exhibition, which will be held in the John Hope Gateway, Real Life Studio. This space is more intimate than the Gallery and will host ‘Rooms for Improvement’, a show of furniture grouped by room function rather than individual maker. It opens on Friday 14th October and runs until 6th November. We are hoping to show work by 24 to 28 makers and the initial response from members has been good. It is an open entry show so if you are interested in exhibiting, you have to be a member of SFMA and let Alan know.

The website is progressing and its launch is planned for April. This will be in two phases, one by attendees of the AGM who will have a go at loading their own page and viewing the website for themselves. It will then be available for the whole SFMA membership to become familiar with the loading mechanism. It will go fully live on a specific date, hopefully early April, at which point the old website will be taken off line. Feedback from the committee and at the AGM has been good and the site is more like something we would expect in the 21st Century. Thanks to the Forestry Commission for supporting us on the project.

SFMA held its AGM on Friday 12th February, and amongst the matters discussed were the website, membership, advertising, exhibition spaces, SWW, response to The Full Circle, plus of course electing a new committee. FCS presented a few words of how SFMA fits into their portfolio and reminded us that our own publicity also gives FCS a chance to raise its profile in the area we practise. The new SFMA committee is now chaired by Euan MacKinnon and he is supported by an enthusiastic and committed group of committee members.

As I stand down, I’d like to thank Steve McLean for reinvigorating the link between SFMA and ASHS, Derek Nelson of FCS for standing by us, all the people in SFMA who have volunteered to help with accounts, exhibitions, advertising, membership administration and opinions to keep this voluntary organisation running.

Jonathan Rose

February 2016

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