2016! You Made My Head Spin And My Heart Happy!

It’s Hogmany! What better day to sit back for just a minute or so and reflect on the year that has just flown past. 2016 has been quite the year to remember, with the launch of Discovery Walk, Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, interviews, lectures at DJCAD, sitting on panels, teaching, arty groupwork with Who Cares? Scotland , fundraising, exhibitions, commissions, Etsy, Open Studios and markets! Wowzers! It’s really hard to narrow it all down. It’s been a year that has been a huge challenge but with great rewards that leave me feeling enormously proud of what has been achieved both personally and with others too.

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I have met the most amazing people this year who I would love to continue working with. I also really enjoyed connecting with those who I have known for years. I love collaborating… and this has been a huge year for it. I’m looking forward to building on this and aim to make 2017 even more exciting!

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One of my highlights was getting to meet and work with Peter Davidson throughout the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail. He is the current illustrator for Oor Wullie and The Broons and we collaborated on the Oor Original sculpture, which sold at auction for an incredible £50,ooo! I would love to work with Peter again.

I would like to thank everyone so much for coming along with me on my inky adventures. Your support means so much. Whether it comes from a thumbs up on Facebook, a like Instagram, a comment on Twitter, a blether on the phone, an encouraging email, a five star review on Etsy or simply a big hug and some kind words in person, it inspires me to keep aiming higher and to push myself. 2017 will most definitely be a year of continuing to keep on chasing and catching those big dreams of mine and I hope you will continue to enjoy the journey with me too!

Here are some of my highlights…

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A collaboration project with creative pals Islay Spalding and Joanne MacFadyen raising more money for ARCHIE Foundation Tayside Children’s Hospital Appeal through the Teagreen Pop Up Boutique.

Discovery Walk

Discovery Walk was unveiled in April and I got to see my illustrations turned into bronze! The ten plaques were laid into the one of Dundee’s newest pavements, in Slessor Gardens, right on the doorstep of the emerging V&A. The walk was the first part of Dundee’s new Waterfront to be unveiled and our ceremony the first event to be held in the gardens!

Kelly Marr (the mind behind the walk) and I are in the middle photo launching phase two of Discovery Walk with our crowdfunding pins.


Discovery Walk celebrates the inspiring individuals linked to Dundee who were behind some of the world’s most groundbreaking discoveries. Read more about the walk here.

I am so incredibly honoured to be a part of this wonderful project. Not only do I see my illustrations become part of Dundee but I get to help celebrate our brilliant wee city by shouting about our amazing rich and influential history! I am very much looking forward to working on phase two with the rest of the brilliant Discovery Walk committee next year.

Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail

“Dundee’s biggest ever public event captured the imagination of countless children of all ages and culminated in an auction viewed by hundreds of thousands of people from every corner of the globe.”                                                                                                 Dundee University

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‘The Adventure of Discovery Never Ends’ (aka Oor Whimsy) was my first sculpture for the trail. He was commissioned back in 2015 and the first to be finished for the trail. He pays homage to Discovery Walk and other works I have done around Dundee. See more about him here and on the Bucket Trail website.

Being so heavily involved in the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail has been such an honour for me this year. It has been a lot of hard but very rewarding work. I was one of the trail artists painting four of our sculptures and also the Art Co-ordinator too.

 

Top left going clockwise: 1. Me going off to auction with the boys! 2. Oor Original, painted by Peter Davidson and myself raised £50,ooo at Auction! 3. Oor Dreamcatcher went to live at Ninewells and the Tayside Children’s Hospital after an amazing crowdfunding appeal raised enough money to win him at auction! Pictured here: Cassie Thompson, Grant Rodney, Me, Simon Crawley and kids from the children’s ward. 4. Oor Pirate was my adventure buddy all summer, he was sponsored by WhimSicAL LusH and continues to fundraise with Millie’s Beach Huts and Gillies and MacKay! 5. Me in the middle painting Oor Whimsy. He now lives with DC Thomsons, who also sponsored him on the trail via The Courier.

It was great to engage and work with so many artists, local businesses and people in the community to make the project happen.

Throughout the summer and right up until auction I went round making sure Oor Boys were all being loved and looked after. If there were any small repairs to be made I often made them onsite. Larger repairs were made offsite with the assistance of the artists and The Spray Factory. People really loved the Bucket Trail and looked after it, so the repairs were mainly just minor scrapes and scratches from people cuddling the sculptures so they could take their #oorselfies.

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Oor Whimsy and Oor Pirate bringing some smiles and laughter on the trail! 

Watching and feeling the excitement build up to the launch in late June was so much fun and then the launch happened! All summer people were running around trying to find all the Oor Wullies.

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Photos from top left: 1. The goodbye event in Slessor Gardens. 2. Oor Golfer caught with the greenkeepers at The Seniors Open in Carnoustie on Sky TV. The commentator was very confused! More about him here. 3. Blank sculptures. 4. Neil Cooney and I meeting Dave Gibbons (the artist behind Watchmen) with his sculpture. More about it here. 5. Aw the Oor Wullies lined up in my workshop ready to go out onto the trail! 6. My ‘dream team’ and I hitting the papers with Oor Dreamcatcher (with Cassie Thompson in the top right too). Read more about Dreamcatcher here.

What was really lovely was watching people of all nationalities and generations enjoy the experience together. There were many comments that the trail had brought Dundee together and had given people a great pride in their city.

Our tiny Bucket Trail team worked really hard to bring the trail to life, culminating in a huge and exciting Goodbye Event at Slessor Gardens before the 70 Sculptures went to auction in September.

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1. Me hugging Oor Whimsy backstage at REP theatre during post auction interviews. 2. Me hanging out in my workshop space at DC Thomsons making sure all the Oor Wullies were looking their best after being on the trail. Photo by Evening Telegraph. 3. Auction headlines on STV news. 4. Oor Pirate was given an escort to his new home by the entire Dunedin chapter on their Harley Davidsons! That was quite something indeed to join in with!

The auction night was electric! The 4 sculptures that I worked on raised a total of £90,000 at auction, which was beyond any expectations I had! I think my face that appeared in the papers the next day said it all when the final figure of £883,000 raised was announced.

To know that the money raised from Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, something that I was a big part of, is going towards building a brand new twin operating theatre for Tayside Children’s Hospital is just huge. Something I will be proud of for the rest of my life.

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Oor Dreamcatcher, The Adventure of Discovery Never Ends (Oor Whimsy) and Oor Pirate raised £40,000 for ARCHIE Tayside’s Children’s Hospital Appeal!!!

Here are some other fun things that happened this year…

Porter’s Gin went worldwide this year, featured on Channel Four’s Sunday Brunch, was featured in magazines such as GQ, Glamour and made Vogue’s Hot List! It made the shelves of Harvey Nichols too. The boys have worked incredibly hard and I am really proud of them. Every time I see a picture of the bottle somewhere it makes me smile as I did all the artwork! For more of that story please look here.

I was on the Beechgrove Garden in June! Loved watching them film… and I got to meet Jim and Carol too! ^_^ I was invited up to paint up at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital by ARCHIE Foundation as they were putting the final touches to the amazing garden and children’s waiting areas with money raised for Wild Dolphins. It was lovely for me to see how the Bucket Trail money raised might be used in Dundee.

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Bramble Cottages was nominated for an award in November! Read more about the project here
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Love this illustration by Ummi Jameel of me on the #CEOShopfronts panel with Mike Press, Fiona Chautard, Kirsty and Pete from Tom Pigeon. Back in March I was invited to quite literally talk shop by Culture Enterprise Office Scotland, which was lots of fun (and a wee bit scary too as we had a live and streamed audience). See more interviews I did with CEO here.
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After a busy old year it was lovely getting back into the swing of attending markets. I love meeting new people and catching up with old friends and existing customers. Thank you to everyone who visited me this year and bought WhimSicAL LusH goodies!

There are so many more little stories and adventures that I could have included but there simply is just not enough time. If you’d like to see more pop over to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, there is much more on there!

So then, all that is left to say is…. Thanks again to my family, friends and everyone else who has supported me this year. It really is appreciated. A very happy New Year to you when it comes and wishing you love and happiness!

Lang may yer lum reek! ^_^

Suzanne x

Collaborating with the primary two class at Grange Primary School after they showed me their Oor Dreamcatcher project they had been working on. I love that they were so inspired by my sculpture.

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