Getting started

Back in March I responded to a call on Facebook for people to submit designs for the Wild Dolphins 2014 project. It’s not something I’ve ever tried before, but I had an idea for a collage using old copies of the Leopard magazine – an Aberdeen institution whose 40th anniversary just happened to be this year.

It’s one thing colouring in a wee dolphin sketch with various scribbles and quite another covering a 2.3m long dolphin with articles, photos and headlines – in fact I drafted in my very kind and patient sister Lee for a lot of the cutting out, as I hadn’t quite appreciated the sheer amount of time that would take! I was also supported by a lovely artist friend Mel Shand who guided me through the process and might have painted an eye or two!

The Leopard themselves put out a call for back copies and I also put an appeal on good old Facebook, as I only had 12 copies from the 70s to begin with – handed in to Banchory Town Hall where I sometimes work. Soon, thanks to retired schoolteachers Mrs Robertson from Culter and Lottie Florence from Huntly, I had oodles of Leopards and gallons of PVA glue – where to start? IMG_3182At the very beginning of course and once I did start, it was an absolutely fascinating process, scouring the Leopard from 1974 to today, learning loads about Aberdeen and the shire in the process. I saw lots of people who I’ve met during my 20 years stay in Banchory, and tried to incorporate as many of them as I could into the patchwork that was forming.

I hit a few obstacles along the way, notably the discovery that blue tissue paper can fade to white outside in the sun, so I had to make another plan for the wave that forms the base of Spot the Dolphin! Searching the racks of Hobbycraft for inspiration, I realised I was staring at leopard print paper! Problem solved.IMG_1864

Hopefully I’ve created something both pleasing to look at and entertaining as well, I certainly had fun doing it! My sponsors were The Big Partnership, and it’s thanks to them and their trust in my design that Spot is sitting in the Bon Accord centre for the next two months as part of the Wild Dolphins Trail. You can spot Spot and his 49 siblings, who range from Phospho (fluorescent, glows in the dark) and Woolly Wallace (knitted), to a willow dolphin by Helen Jackson – with loads of fantastically imaginative painted ones along the way – around Aberdeen city this summer until 29 August. Then they’ll all be auctioned off to raise money for ARCHIE and the dolphins in the bay. So yay, fantastic project and so pleased that I took the plunge and swam with the dolphins!

Cat's eye

Facebook – Wild Dolphins

Twitter – @WildDolphins2014

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