Eleanor Logan of Creatively Exploring Gigha explains how they used a Creative Lives 'Keep on Creating' microgrant to hold a weekend of creative activities and sharing, to round off a wonderful lockdown project. 

"Living on a small island can present some challenges for being able to access arts and music. We rely on going off the island, people coming to us to share their talents, or doing it for ourselves by sharing our skills with each other. 

During the pandemic, we, like the rest of the world, had to stay at home and stay remote from each other. We are used to being isolated, so in many ways lockdown was not a shock to the system for us - the weather in the winter frequently locks us down!

We also had the whole island to ourselves and were able to get on with tackling the to-do list around our properties. But we did miss coming together. In the winter, the village hall often has something on every night, from line dancing to whist, table tennis, committee meetings, singing etc. Now that we are through the pandemic it's busier than ever, but for a while it was very strange.

We were lucky enough to get funding from Inspiring Scotland to undertake a creative project during the pandemic, which we named 'Creatively Exploring Gigha'. We started an online writers group, the school children learnt about digital animation and made a film, we had storytellers online, commissioned a new Gaelic song, took photos, and started a story blanket capturing individual stories about being connected with the island here.

Once we were able to come together, we finally made a beautiful film: Our Island: Creatively exploring the Isle of Gigha

However, we wanted to finish what we had started. A creative journey had begun and we wanted to finish and hang our storyblanket and continue to develop our creative skills.

Thanks to the Creative Lives 'Keep on Creating' grant, we were able to have a weekend of printing, sewing and showing. We learnt how to lino print, using different mediums and made lots of pictures and canvas bags. We used bamboo and Gigha tartan fragments to craft our story blanket contributions into an exhibition. And we came together as a community to share and show all we had done, not just that weekend but over the whole project. 

It was such a lovely way to complete our Creative Exploration of Gigha, by being together creatively rather than apart."