Green Room by Marjorie Gill

Finally, when there is nothing left

in the trunk, the clothing passed out

among siblings and cousins in moments

of common sense, she leaves the lid open

so the scent of the child’s belongings

will fade, so she won’t be tempted

to put her head inside that box to breathe.


Then she decides to paint the room,

chooses the child’s favourite grass green,

and can only manage one coat. The cracks

in the woodwork glare at her like honesty.


She stamps a hole in the suitcase.


But she can’t change the bedding;

its grey blankets still convey

the child’s limbs. If only, like tea leaves

in a china cup, she’d read the pillows

that morning and barred the door.

Now, she knows their pattern,

only needs to close her eyes

to see them, crumpled, with a space

left open for her head.



Marjorie Gill

Unmade Lewis photo credit Ian Paterson
Unmade Lewis photo credit Ian Paterson

Creative ripples in our pond

When poet Helen Boden came to see  Away Being at St Margaret’s House last month she took away a bunch of postcards to share with the Southside Writers Group in Edinburgh. Inspired by Ian Paterson’s  images of abandoned croft houses writers Marjorie Gill and Jean Taylor have shared their poems with us. The same images that graced the walls of Gallery 1 earlier this year also inspired Mike Vass‘s new music commission Coming Home sponsored by Enterprise Music Scotland. The EYG Big Band who helped to develop the pieces last year played the pieces in the gallery on January 4th to welcome in the new year and these were recorded and are now on

Taking inspiration from the exhibition
Taking inspiration from the exhibition





Wearing our badge with pride…

Only two weeks after our pop up performance of Coming Home at our Away Being exhibition and the intrepid Charlotte Hathaway the co- ordinator of The Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band has already put together her film of the final rehearsal and performance at St Margaret’s House and posted it on youtube and curator Jan Bee Brown has been blogging in all the Trad circles. Meanwhile some great shots by Jo’o Holmes @cardiganandmac have arrived. Jo’o was a total star and volunteered as car park attendant and pot-hole forewarner at the event and then took these shots as he thawed out…many thanks Jo’o! Having worked with these young musicians since September the distance travelled is amazing – the Thrive Archive is very proud of them all!

EYG Big Band wind section. Photo credit cardiganandmac
EYG Big Band wind section. Photo credit cardiganandmac


EYGBig Band string section
EYGBig Band string section
EYG Bass section
EYG Bass section

Time passes…

A wonderful heart-wrenching exhibition. The empty houses – was all hope gone or was hope transferred somewhere else? The Hallaig slates so rough and misshapen like the island rocks and stones, every word from the soul…time has many dimensions and at the heart of time is the soul.

Another wonderful comment bringing our Away Being exhibition to a close. Time passes and its time to reflect on what made it work. Working with musician and composer Mike Vass and photographers Ian Paterson and John Maher was a pleasure and with sponsorship by Enterprise Music Scotland and Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band we got to know such a great group of young Trad musicians! You can now see their performance of Coming Home filmed by Charlotte Hathaway who leads them and we wish them every success in the future. Our project was enriched by the generous input of storyteller Allison Galbraith, singer Roxana Vilk, VJ Mettje Hunneman, our guest artists, Isabel Ferrand, Ulrike Oeter, Catriona Taylor and Liz Skulina and last but not least our volunteers and young photographer Yazmin Conn.

Liz Skulina's Coin Stories
Liz Skulina’s Coin Stories

One day soon we’d like to set up a Thrive Archive house band – ‘The Still Thriving Bigger Than You Think Band’  and we certainly need some pipers for our next musical collaboration ‘A Sandwich Short of a Picnic’ which will be linked to our Hearth Heart Earth project.  Are you a piper? Do you have a song or a recipe to share? Fancy marching to a community picnic to celebrate our culinary heritage? Keep in touch!

This dog needs a walk and would like a picnic.
Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Musicians
Walkies to a picnic?


Away Being closes the door

Does what all great exhibitions do…promotes thought & surprise & great conversations – thank you.

The latest fantastic comment about Away Being ,our cross arts pop-up exhibition that sadly came to a close on 10th January. Way after closing time Ian Paterson, the photographer whose images started the whole project, was still chatting to our last visitors.

Photographer Ian Paterson
Photographer Ian Paterson

As curator I loved welcoming visitors and watching them take in the eclectic exhibits with a mug of tea in their hand. I heard so many moving stories and some shared their tears.

3 simple questions
3 simple questions. Photo Sheila Masson

We received so many postcards and our community envelope wall doubled in size. Our three simple questions kept our guests thinking and many picked up a coloured pencil for the first time in years.

What does coming home mean to you? photo Sheila Masson
What does coming home mean to you? Photo Sheila Masson

As one door closes another opens, watch this space for our next project…

Hearth, Heart, Earth

envelope art sparks new project
envelope art sparks new project

Thank you to all the volunteers at St Margaret’s House who helped us to Thrive. We couldn’t have done this without you, its what ‘community’ is all about.


What makes Scotland feel like home?

” I hear her. Scotland is music, as much apart of me as the the air…I want to make a life here, I want to create here. I am here because I can’t believe how much more whole I am purely for begin in Scotland”

A moving comment on one of the Thrive Archive’s postcards this week as we welcomed over 200 visitors to Away Being @St_MargaretsH. The launch of a new music commission and an exhibition of community and professional artwork inspired by Leaving Home a series of haunting photographs from the Outer Hebrides.


Jo’o Holmes captured the flash performance by the Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band playing Coming Home by Mike Vass lit by Mettje Hunneman’s VJ set. Enterprise Music Scotland sponsored the music and The Thrive Archive sponsored the exhibition. EYG enabled the band to work with Mike and our curator and artist Jan Bee Brown over 4 months to create art and music through an unique collaborative arts process.

Away Being
Away Being
Away Being
Coming Home

It’s good to share…

Some lovely comments in our visitor book this week as the Away Being exhibition continues in Gallery 1 at St Margaret’s House 10am-4 pm until Saturday.

it's good to share
it’s good to share

On Sunday 4th January we had 150 people and Magnus the dog at our gatherin to celebrate a new piece of music by Mike Vass inspired by the stories that emerged from an exhibition of haunting photographs Leaving Home in Stornoway in 2013. Every visitor this week has left us their own story, has written a postcard or decorated an envelope. We have had phone calls from Skye and visitors who have crossed borders to see the exhibition and share the Thrive experience. So – the kettle’s on – pop in if you’re passing…

Come on in...
Sign design by Mia Scott one of the multi-talented musicians of EYG Big Band.


A Braw Gaitherin

There was such a great buzz at Away Being yesterday, Mike Vass premiered Coming Home his new suite of music and The Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band did us proud.

It was a pleasure to welcome, artists Liz Skullina and Catriona Taylor, story teller Allison Galbraith and VJ Mettje Hunneman who generously gave their time, skills and artwork to make the Away Being pop – up exhibition happen.

Thanks to all who came to make art, eat cake, drink tea and discuss what makes Scotland feel like home.

The exhibition featuring photographs by Ian Paterson and John Maher continues in Gallery 1 at St Margaret’s House from 10-4pm until the 9th January.

Leaving Home images by John Maher
Leaving Home images by John Maher 

Photo credit Sheila Masson


How does leaving home make you feel?

What makes Scotland feel like home?

Photo credit Sheila Masson

What does coming home mean to you?
What does coming home mean to you?

Photo credit Sheila Masson


What does coming home mean to you?
How does leaving home make you feel?

Photo credit Sheila Masson

Punk inspires Trad’…

Winter Warmer - Away Being part of the Coming Home Concerto by Mike Vass
Winter Warmer – Away Being part of the Coming Home Concerto by Mike Vass

Only three more sleeps before we gaither to celebrate Mike Vass’ latest music commission Coming Home with Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band at Away Being our pop-up event in Gallery 1 at St Margaret’s House. Cakes are being baked, the tea urns are toasty and the Thrive raffle prizes are also pretty hot!

The Thrive Archive tells stories in unusual ways and it’s been an honour to be part of a new piece of music to welcome in a New Year! We like to mix things up and this eclectic event interweaves stories, photography, fine art, VJ visuals, community art and a 20 piece Trad’ band all inspired by a series of haunting images taken by former Buzzcocks’ drummer John Maher and Fife vet Ian Paterson.

The suite of music, sponsored initially by Enterprise Music Scotland, will continue to be developed throughout 2015 connecting diverse communities both within Edinburgh and beyond and you can help!

This talented band of teenagers now hopes to create flash mob performances around the city centre, on beaches, up mountains and at festivals. So keep in touch, send us your suggestions and tell us your stories of what makes Scotland feel like home. Go on, spread the word, a wee bit of funding will help this project thrive.

sponsored by Enterprise Music Scotland

sponsored by Creative Scotland

Music played by EYG Big Band