Doors are open in Ayrshire

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THE first weekend of September promises to open doors for residents and visitors alike – literally – as the annual Doors Open Day event gets under way across Ayrshire (September 3-4).

It offers an opportunity to visit and experience up to 70 of Ayrshire’s finest buildings including castles, churches, townhouses, museums, towers, libraries and council headquarters, free of charge.

Doors Open Day Ayrshire also includes a number of fascinating events sponsored by Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), ranging from a cup of tea up a tower to a chilling spell in a cell.

This year’s programme of events can be found on the THI website:

One of the main attractions, featuring on the Doors Open Day national programme, is certain to be 10 Rooms – a creative project at Holmston House in Ayr, where a group of renowned Ayrshire artists have each been given two rooms – an exhibition space, where you can see some examples of previous work, and an installation space, where the room itself becomes one of their artworks.

They will even involve you in the process, showing you their techniques and letting you try them out in this beautiful setting.

On Saturday September 3, photographer Alastair Cook will take your portrait to hang as part of his installation The Unfolding Reflection.

Watch as he creates Collodion glass prints from your image and then installs you as a work of art on the wall!

Also on the Saturday, at 11am and 2pm, you can join glass artist Leona Stewart, who will unwrap the mysteries of the copper foil technique, while giving you the chance to create your own small piece of stained glass, based on the inspiration of Holmston House. On Sunday September 4 at 11am and 2pm, local printmaker Ian McNicol, will be helping children and adults to make their own colourful press prints, using a simple technique that produces beautiful results.

Composer and photographer Chris Dooks will be hosting two workshops, suitable for adults and teenagers, which draw on Holmston House’s history as a poorhouse.

Photography and Breathing on Saturday at 2pm is a hands-on approach (bring your own camera) about the health benefits of photography. This hour-long workshop will look at evidence for how photography can benefit recovery from certain illnesses.

Then, on Sunday at 2pm, he presents Music as Triage – a workshop looking at different aspects of sound as a healing device, using the installation as starting point. Participants will leave with their own CD of healing sounds.

Michael Hitchon, President of Kyle and Carrick Civic Society said: “I would like to thank everyone who has agreed to open up their buildings during Doors Open Day.

“The properties often lie at the heart of our communities and boast a wealth of beautiful features from artistic architectural expertise to stunning stained glass windows and these can only be fully appreciated from the inside.”

South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan said: “Doors Open Day offers a superb chance for us to explore many interesting, historic and iconic buildings across Ayrshire. I’d encourage residents and visitors to visit as many buildings as possible and to take part in the range of activities on offer.

“I’m intrigued by the 10 Rooms exhibition at Holmston House, which looks especially interesting.

“I really like the idea of the senses being stimulated by sound, vision and touch through photography, music and stained glass. The local artists are all well known and I’m certain their work will be much admired by visitors and that the workshops will be a huge success. Best of all, it’s free!” Doors Open Day in Ayrshire is organised by volunteers from the Kyle and Carrick Civic Society, with help from other voluntary groups and support from the three Ayrshire local authorities.