Street artists have woven a new work into the growing gallery of public art brightening up Forfar buildings.
The old façade of St James Works was the canvas for a series of murals based around the burgh’s textile heritage in the latest of a series of similar projects created with Angus Council’s town centre regeneration funding.
Local man Aiden Edmeades led the project after eyeing up the old mill’s potential for a number of years.
The one-time Don and Low textile factory was the headquarters of Angus Council before becoming the site of Forfar’s Asda store, but prominent facades of the listed building were retained on St James Road and The Vennel.
Mr Edmeades, 23, said: “I had looked at it for several years and spoke to Forfar councillor Lynne Devine about doing something there, then brought together artists I knew to create an exciting insight into the mill work which went on in Forfar.”
Angus-based artist FitLike, who has been working in the north east and farther afield since 2015, was joined in the project by STUC from Arbroath and Ryze from Edinburgh.
Aiden added: “I’m so pleased with the result and grateful to the artists for doing so much research.
“FitLike focusses on community art projects and facilitating participatory art with primary pupils and youths and adults alike.
“For his part of the project he sought to elevate the interesting stories of the women workers who have contributed to the mill industry over its time in the town.”
Positive public reaction
Mill-working figures now adorn the 10-foot high windows of the building, alongside once familiar industry terms including tow, warp and weft.
“We hope the piece will allow those who worked in the mills to reminisce and talk about their time in the industry, and encourage younger generations to find out more about it,” said Aiden.
“The artists have been overwhelmed with the response and there were a lot of comments from people passing by.
“We also had a lot of help with the history and information from the Meffan in Forfar and Verdant Works and are grateful to them for that.”
Plans for future art
Ms Devine said: “The ‘windows’ on the old St James Mill building, now Asda, were the perfect site for displaying the different aspects of the past industrial era.
“I’m so pleased with the result and grateful to the artists for doing so much research.”
Mr Edmeades and Ms Devine have now turned their sights on the Vennel façade in the hope it will become another part of Forfar’s expanding street art exhibition.
“Hopefully we can look at doing it as a summer project, but the town centre fund cash is now allocated so we would be looking for support from businesses or others who might be able to help with the project.
“Having covered Forfar’s jute heritage the idea would be to create something around the way the town is now.”