Public Art

Whitesands Project, Dumfries, SW Scotland.
As a result of a town centre planning strategy, and with the support of the town community, the Dumfries and Galloway Council commissioned jeweller Natalie Vardey to make these 38 small scale artworks, sited along the River Nith. They are made in steel, copper and bronze with stainless steel revolving mechanisms and reflect the past and present trades of Dumfries.

represent salmon fishing/farming and the tourist trade. They also acknowledge the fact that the Caul was constructed to divert water to the Mill.

represent many trades, all connected with metalwork. They acknowledge the shipping trade with Bilbao and Brittany (iron ore and wool) and, by using a local artist blacksmith to fabricate them, connect the past and present. The fouled anchor in one of the finials was the hallmark for the Dumfries jewellers and silversmiths.

Situated as they are opposite the Camera Obscura, these represent a scaling down of the trades over the years, illustrating that the town now looks at itself differently and perspectives on trade can vary. The decorations and endplates on these relate to the town and the area:

there was a legal obligation to ensure that all guildsmen could show competency in archery and they practised with bows and pistols/guns on the Sands (the “Bairns Bowbarts”) Archery competitions were also held here.

church and law court spires, unchanged for many years. Fish, Water and Hills: represent the significance of Dumfries in the region. The keyhole endplates represent the blacksmiths and silversmiths who looked after the Toon Nock (clock). The blacksmiths made locks, keys and looked after the farm machinery.

both represent the weaving trade. The whistle called the girls to work at 7 am. The Suspension Bridge was built for them in 1875 to get to the tweed mills in Maxweltown, and the sound of their clogs going over the bridge (and the return trip at 6pm) is in living memory. The shuttle continues the tweed theme, and represents the weaving of time. The decorations on the whistles are: clogs, clog irons/horse shoes, and thread and spools.