Press Release 2016

A new Festival of Everything Creative is supporting the restoration and transformation of one of Scotland’s former cultural hubs. Creative Coathanger (Saturday 24 September to Friday 9 October 2016) will showcase a wide range of events many of them free, which celebrate the rich cultural heritage and burgeoning creative industries of the Scottish Borders.

Creative Coathanger, launched for the first time during Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Design and Architecture 2016, is being championed by a group of community leaders volunteering their own time to drive regeneration in the area through everything creative. The team has brought together a huge range of events, exhibitions, film showcases, open studios, exclusive one off pop up shops, workshops, performances, and even a craft beer festival – all under one banner. Activities focus in the towns of Galashiels, Selkirk and Hawick – where many of the world’s leading designers, including Chanel, Dior and Vivienne Westwood, have sourced their textiles.

Event highlights include:
The unveiling of The Flying Scotsman Mural – the renowned Edinburgh-based artist Chris Rutterford will reveal his final Flying Scotsman Mural on 1 October in the gateway to Galashiels. Chris specialises in artwork to stimulate energy and regenerate businesses. The mural will capture the scene of the iconic locomotive, The Flying Scotsman visiting the town earlier this year. Locals have been given the opportunity to feature in the crowds that will appear on the wall. Free.
Transforming Galashiels into Everything Creative – Over the first weekend in October, the whole town centre of Galashiels is to be transformed in a way that showcases the wide range of creative industries in the area. It will include an opportunity to design coathangers with festival sponsor, Mainetti. Free.
National Galleries of Scotland Exhibition – Participants from the local young person’s charity Galashiels Works, will display their art showcasing their perceptions of Sir Walter Scott in contemporary society. This is a collaborative exhibition between the National Galleries of Scotland, Abbotsford House (the home of Sir Walter Scott) and Tomorrow’s People (an employment charity that works with those facing multiple barriers to employment and equips them with the skills and confidence they need to get and keep a job). 1 -2 October. Free
Moving Image Makers Collective Mini Film Festival – The Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. Taking place at MacArts, a unique venue saved from demolition by the formation of a local community arts trust, this mini film festival will give a taste of the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival (an international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image based in the Borders). The showcase will include a special showcase by the famous French Director, Jacques Percontes.
PechaKucha – a series of presentations at MacArts on 6 October by Borders based designers, makers and shakers. PechaKucha night now takes place in over 900 towns and cities globally. It was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. Free.
Gala Woolscape Project – Wool Craft workshops with the artist Jennie Howes at the historic Old Gala House making an installation piece depicting Galashiels. Suitable for all abilities aged 14 to Adults. Takes place every Saturday to 22nd October 2016. Each workshop is £20 and includes some take home materials.
Tempest Brewery Oktoberfest – a full day of live music, craft beer, local food and a limited number of brewery tours at the Tempest Brewery in Tweedbank, Galashiels. Date: 24 Sep. Tickets: £15
Open Studios – The 13 artists based in WASPS Studios in St Mary’s Mill, Selkirk open their doors to the public on the weekend of the 1 and 2 October. StudioSara7 in Selkirk will also open her studio on 2 October.
Open doors days
showcasing the wide range of creative industries in the area, a selection of companies will open their doors to the public – some for the first time. Participating companies include Stewart Technology (electronic manufacturing services), Schofield’s Dyers & Finishers and Heriot Watt School of Textiles (one of the first textile schools in the world, which is based in Galashiels).
The Scottish Borders Manufacturers Association (which is the oldest of it’s kind in the world) will be supporting the open doors of textile industry – throughout festival.
Workshops – where participants will learn to make a range of creative items including felted soap, weaved wall hangings, corsets, lampshades, acrylic jewellery, beading and embroidery. There will even be a workshop on how to plan a wedding.
Sculpting the Past (Exploring The Art And History Of George Sutherland & Sons Sculptors, Galashiels) – A stone carving exhibition created by a third generation stone carver. Founded in 1881, this business ran for three generations over 118 years, becoming the foremost sculptors and monumental masons in the south of Scotland. The exhibition runs from 1 September to 9 October and shows the family history across two world wars. Free.

Other festival events include a Masonry Demonstration by experts from Historic Scotland, an exhibition showcasing everyday buildings, a Live Borders Creative Cycle Trail, Sculptural Eco Art Installations, a Pop Up Shop showcasing the work of local young creative entrepreneurs funded by the Princes Trust and a craft and makers fair.

The festival’s programming for the first year has been so successful that they have secured funding from Creative Scotland, Mainetti, Brand Satellite, New Arts Sponsorship and the Phone Co-op. It has also secured support from many other respected bodies and organisations such as VisitScotland, Historic Scotland, Borders Community Rail Partnership, Arts & Business Scotland, the Moving Image Makers Collective and the Alchemy Film Festival, The National Galleries, Live Borders and Heriot Watt University.

Explaining the importance of the festival, Mark Timmins, one of the festival directors for Creative Coathanger said:
“As the home of the once booming textiles industry, authors like Sir Walter Scott, the inspiration for poems such Robert Burns Braw Lad’s O’ Gala Water and famous art collections in the area, the Borders has a plentiful, unique and world famous creative heritage. This success continues today across everything creative, with some of our greatest exports including the actor and star of the TV series Outlander Grant O’Rourke, contemporary artists like Ant Macari and textiles sought-after by some iconic fashion brands like Chanel, Dior and Vivienne Westwood. The area has even attracted bands as big as the Rolling Stones. We believe that all of this should be celebrated and further creative talent positively encouraged. Creative Coathanger exists to encourage a range of individuals and organisations to hang their events from our festival.

“We’re starting small this year with Creative Coathanger, but we believe this is just the start. We aim to follow in the footsteps of other similar creative festivals from all over Scotland in the years to come.”

Karen Dick, Place, Partnerships and Communities Officer at Creative Scotland said: “Creative Coathanger provides an important platform to bring the community in Galashiels and the Scottish borders together to discover local artists, performers and those working across the creative industries in their area. The Scottish Borders are world renowned for their textiles and we are delighted to support this festival which encompasses such a wide range of creative practice.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Doug Wilson said: “The establishment of the new Creative Coathanger arts festival represents a real commitment to further enhancing our region’s tourism offering and attracting more visitors to the Scottish Borders, an area renowned for its links to the textiles, fashion and design industry.”

For more more about the festival or ticketing visit:

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For more media information contact:

Kirsty Innes, PR Consultant, Tel 07790 910 646, Email:

Peter Gilchrist, Creative Coathanger Project Coordinator, Email: Tel: 01896480456

Notes to Editors
A selection of free to use images are available to download from:

About Creative Coathanger
Creative Coathanger is a new concept which will showcase creativity in the Scottish Borders.
The region has a rich creative history and thriving contemporary community of artists, craft makers, musicians, poets, sculptors, designers, architects etc.
This includes the world renowned fashion and textile design school at Heriot-Watt University in Galashiels, and some of the world’s most famous textile mills.
Creative Coathanger is a festival of everything creative.
Events will cover a broad range of activities:
3D arts like sculpture and carving, buildings, outdoor space and public art
2D arts like painting, drawing, photography, printing, design and books
Makers, doers and performers, including fashion, film, music and interactive
We are also hoping to make the Galashiels town centre unrecognisable for the weekend, and will be inviting all shops and businesses to get involved in the event. We want to see empty shops and outdoor spaces turned into space for artists, designers and makers to exhibit, host pop-up studios and art installations, makers demonstrations and markets.

Creative Scotland
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. They do this through funding, development, advocacy and influence and they distribute funding from the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

They want Scotland to be a country where excellence and experimentation across the arts, screen and creative industries is recognised and valued; everyone can access and enjoy artistic and creative experiences; places and quality of life are transformed through imagination, ambition and an understanding of the potential of creativity; ideas are brought to life by a diverse, skilled and connected leadership and workforce; Scotland is a distinctive creative nation connected to the world.
For further information on Creative Scotland please visit Follow @creativescots and like

Other insights:
In the South of Scotland alone the creative sector is estimated to generate revenue of almost £60m per annum.
In addition to arts and culture, the Borders is home to some globally significant textiles mills, electronics businesses and the Italian brand Mainetti which makes over 100 million hangers every year in Jedburgh.
Creative Coathanger would not have been possible without the introduction of the Borders Rail Link – showing its great contribution to the area.
The textile industry in the Borders stretches as far back as the 13th century.
The Scottish Borders is often referred to as ‘Scotland’s Premier Textile Manufacturing Region’.
Textiles is a key source of employment in the Borders accounting for around 3,000 jobs.
The creative sector in the South of Scotland is estimated to generate revenue of almost £60m per annum, This is larger, than forestry and fishing combined and demonstrates the important economic contribution of the sector.