I am a Scottish artist and designer based in Glasgow. My key area of interest is in collaborative projects that explore place, narrative and participation. My work encompasses painting and drawing, installation, print and delivery in the community. Learn more about my approach and interests in this blog section of my website. For a more frequently updated insight into my practice please follow me on twitter @josievallely
Smithycroft on Bikes!
I was super lucky over the summer to join Kevin Andrew Morris during his mini residency and show at Assynt Ceramics, probably one of the most beautiful ceramics studios IN THE WORLD! And look, im sunburnt!
Assynt Ceramics Workshop is the studio of Master Potter Fergus Stewart. He works with stoneware and porcelain clays, all pieces are sustainably wood fired and salt glazed in his giant wood fired kiln. The choice of colours is influenced by the vibrant greens, blues and natural tones within the Sutherland landscape and the rich, variegated surfaces are decorated by the passage of the flame through the kiln.
If you want to visit, its located in the old stables behind Glencanisp Lodge set amidst the stunning landscape of Assynt. Follow Glencanisp Road (just by the traffic light crossing at the harbour end of the Lochinver main street) for 1.8 miles.
The Assynt Foundation Honesty Shop has ice cream!
I worked on my throwing and decorated using glazes and little illustrations inspired by the incredible landscapes all around the studio.
I work part time with Iriss, and at this year's Fire Starter Festival, we teamed up with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to deliver an 'Igniting Ideas' workshop, which was focused on how co-production and systems thinking could help get ideas off the ground. It was open to anyone working in social services.
The team spent the day investigating different approaches to project planning, ways to overcome challenges, and to ensure that all voices are heard in the process.
The day kicked off with coffee and a model making task. Everyone was asked to create a mini version of their 'challenge' using play dough, Googly Eyes and Lego. The results were fantastic! Challenges identified ranged from looking at creating a theatre from a disused community building and improving advocacy for people using care homes, to tackling wider systemic issues such as Brexit and borders.
The challenges were then picked apart using systems thinking. The group discussed how to identify the different factors at play in a system and how to build the bigger picture. Conversations were opened up using creative exercises, such as the iceberg model to explore the patterns, structures, processes, values, beliefs and designs that could influence projects.
After working brains hard for a few hours, a well deserved (and delicious) lunch was served before the group dived into the world of co-production. Attendees were given a copy of the new Iriss co-production project planner to support them on developing a live co-production plan. A lot of chatting, thinking and making ensued. From creating hats (based on de Bono's Six Thinking Hats) to explore issues from different perspectives, to using the design council's Double Diamond model, lots of new approaches were tried and tested.
The day was all about using design methodology and systems thinking to support a shift in power away from professional expertise towards an asset-based understanding of everyone’s inherent knowledge and value.
Feedback was positive and people left feeling energised and enthused.
Important people sign up to join the monsters!
"Scotland’s largest health board has thrown its weight behind a national bid to make the country tobacco free by 2034. The director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), John Matthews OBE, has signed ASH Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-Free Generation. designed to further help drive down smoking rates.
It comes after artist Josie Vallely ran workshops with children who were inpatients and outpatients at the Royal Hospital for Children – where they created an activity resource promoting facts about the impact of second-hand smoking on children and families.
Despite the continuing drop in Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s smoking rates, smoking remains the biggest single preventable cause of ill-health and premature death in Scotland."
A blog originally posted on the See Me Website
We've been working with artist Josie Vallely on her Caring Conversations projectwhich launched as part of SMHAF in Paisley last Tuesday. Talking Heads volunteer Emily Benita tells us about the day.
After a rare and appreciated sunny Bank Holiday weekend, Paisley was overcast once more but the colourful launch of Caring Conversations, the latest project from artist Josie Vallely and her many contributors, more than lightened up the grey. Hosted in the newly established Wevolution hub, a stone’s throw from Paisley Gilmour Street station, the launch was lively and very well-attended.
“I want it to be a colourful, living space,” Josie said to See Me Scotland ahead of the launch. “The opposite of a white cube gallery.”
Caring Conversations is as far as you could get from a sterile, hushed environment. The seed of the exhibition was a commission from the festival and See Me to create a dialogue through exploring stigma within mental health and social care. Josie’s background is in design, having switched from a degree in medicine to approaching the lived experience of illness mental health from a more creative and overarching perspective. When finding out more about the stigma people face today, Josie realised that a particular perspective wasn’t being heard.
“What I felt was missing in the today’s conversations round mental health was the perspectives of people delivering services and the challenges they were up against. I wanted to open up a conversation between staff and services users about experiences of mental health and wellbeing.”
Josie held workshops with participants at the Sunshine Recovery Cafe, working with a range of occupational therapists, professional artists and people from across Renfrewshire. She conducted the workshops and installation with help from ceramicist Kevin Andrew Morris and artist Simon Worthington. Through her work, Josie defies the stereotypical idea of an artist working in solitude.
“My role as artist is a kind of medley between designer of the exhibition space, facilitator of other people's making and developer of the concept that brings the 'message' of the body of work together,” she explained.
“This project was particularly interesting because we had the scope to shape the space in order to fit the work, thanks to the amazing wevolution team and the SRGS that own the space.”
Wevolution feels tailor-made for the exhibition, a cosy and welcoming space, bright white walls contrasting with juicy orange and deep blue. The cooks chop coriander for the lunch as the guests gather around the tapestries and ceramics on display. The fresh, spicy scent carries, making for a truly sensual experience.
Guests were treated to performances from Buddy Beats, poets Shaun Moore and Fundamental Conduit and the Well Happy Band, who all feature in the packed Renfrewshire events catalogue. Drop-in sessions will be held at Caring Conversations throughout the festival, allowing for space, materials and guidance in creating further work along the exhibition’s themes. But when the festival is over, what does Josie intend for the legacy of Caring Conversations?
“What I want people to take away from the work is that there is potential in Scotland to move toward health and social care provision free form mental health stigma and discrimination. It’s a long road but there are people all over Scotland who are passionate about making this a reality.”
A long road, perhaps, but Caring Conversations is a wonderful respite and resource along the way.
I have always loved working with ceramics- there is something so exciting about creating a solid object from mud! These latest pots are inspired by the colours I was exploring in Applecross- the pinks and creams from skylines and the pearl inside shells, the organic shapes and mark making form the stones and the lichen that grows on them. I really enjoy trying to capture tiny 'landscapes' in the accidents of the glazing process, distilling them down into these domestic objects that hold acts of care and subsistence- a bowl of soup, a pot of coffee.
In the studio with Squint
We have been busy collaborating in the studio on some outfits for a performance in late October- inspired by some of the scots songs and writing I'l be getting my tongue round!
We have been thinking about Scots words like driech, and responding to the colours on washed out industrial sea shores and the shapes of North East fishing wear.
Sketchbooks from Wester Ross
Gig posters for Saramago
Blackhill on bikes
I had the absolute pleasure of working with the team (both young and old!) at St Paul's Youth Forum, to create a suite of logos for all their fantastic projects! check out their work here
I work on lots of different kinds of projects and sometimes it can be hard to keep track of what I up to!