How did our artists-in-residence at Abbeyhill Primary School start? In short, it was prompted by the Colony of Artists and the Abbeyhill cats at our doorstep!
We started in 2013/14 with only five artists-in-residence and one cat – the original Maisie McKenzie puppet. Since then we have welcome over 50 professional artists (and quite a few cats) to the school inspiring over 200 children a year to create, then exhibit and perform at the annual Colony of Artists festival.
Our first honorary artist-in-residence back in June 2014 was the cat puppeteer Aileen Paterson – an Abbeyhill Colony-based artist and once an art teacher at our school before becoming renown worldwide as the best- selling author and illustrator of the books featuring Maisie of Morningside.
Following her June 2014 storytelling session at the school, Mrs Paterson created Love from Aileen + Maisie as a live performance drawing. Our resident artist also kindly signed an entire new set of Maisie books donated through her residency to the school library. Since, we have proudly framed and installed Love from Aileen + Maisie in the library. It now hangs alongside prevously unexhibited sketch by Mrs Paterson created by the author at the official opening of the School Library in 2000.
Mrs Paterson continued to inspire through her exclusive public appearances on each of the festival days with more storytelling and book signing sessions in her Colony garden until Match 2018 when sadly she passed away, aged 83.
‘We Miss You, Mrs Paterson’, wrote Amelia, aged 8 then in her own drawing of Maisie of Abbeyhill. Amelia who was only 4 years old when she and her classmates first met Mrs Paterson – the artist who will always be fondly remembered by generations of children at Abbeyhill Primary School.
We dedicated our Colony of Artists festival finale at the school’s Assembly Hall on 23 September 2018 to the memory of Mrs Paterson. We are very pleased to have just finished editing the video documentation of this finale as part of our Windows and Screens exibition for this year’s Colony of Artists. Here is a special preview here.
Say farewell to Mrs Paterson with Goodbye, England – a poetry and pipes duet by Rodney Relax and Leighann Dudley and look out for the cameo appearance of Maisie of Abbeyhill in both Maisie Goes to the Highlands by our choreographer-in-residence Eleanor Robertson and Spontaneous by Morna Pearson – our playwright-in-residence.
Read the story of Mrs Paterson’s residency here: https://abbeyhillschoolartists.wordpress.com/artists-2/aileen-paterson/ .
Find out about Mrs Paterson’s works on permanent view at the school here: https://abbeyhillschoolartists.wordpress.com/artworks-2/with-love-from-maisie-and-aileen-2014/ .