World-renowned architect Tony Kettle reveals design inspiration for first opening road bridge over the River Clyde

“It was a rare opportunity to celebrate all that is special about this place, to remind people of the rich industrial heritage, of the globally recognised engineering and construction expertise that occurred on both banks of the Clyde” says Tony.

From a striking glass façade in Reykjavik designed to capture the essence of the northern lights all-year-round to an Eden-type garden in a low-energy office tower in Bahrain, world-renowned architect Tony Kettle continues to challenge his natural curiosity with projects across the globe.

His work on the Dewa Solar Innovation Centre in Dubai, which uses the latest technologies for renewable energy and combines it with Arabic geometry and the Fibonacci sequence, has received architectural acclaim – winning the RSA prize in Scotland and a LEED Platinum award as a benchmark for the Middle East region – and he had a hand in the initial designs of Europe’s tallest building, the Lakhta Centre in St Petersburg.

A £117m project led by Renfrewshire Council

While proud of his success abroad, it’s a project much closer to home though that piqued Tony’s interest in a way others couldn’t, and he jumped at the chance to design the first opening road bridge across the River Clyde – a £117m project led by Renfrewshire Council.

Tony said: “It’s fantastic to work closer to home. It means more if you are given a chance to contribute to improving people’s lives close to where you live.

“Shipbuilding on the Clyde inspired our design. The visual history of cranes juxtaposed against each other and the way the dry docks are cut into the banks at an angle. The challenge was to capture that spirit of movement in the angles of the new bridge structure, and to accentuate the fact this is a moving structure, not just another static bridge.

“The Renfrew Bridge is both a physical and symbolic connection, a celebration of the coming together of two communities that will undoubtedly benefit from having closer ties. It will create a gateway and a destination that should bring more people together to enjoy the riverbank and celebrate the history and rich cultural heritage that they share.

“It was a rare opportunity to celebrate all that is special about this place, to remind people of the rich industrial heritage, of the globally recognised engineering and construction expertise that occurred on both banks of the Clyde. What better way to celebrate it than with a new innovative moving structure.”

Visiting the site

Visiting the site to see the arrival of the final section of the bridge, Tony was delighted to see his designs come off the page and into existence.

“It’s fantastic to see the bridge in the flesh and I’m honoured and immensely grateful to the engineers and fabricators for their skills and ingenuity to make it a reality. I have learned over the years to be very patient as projects can be designed quickly but can take so long to materialise, so it’s great to see it arrive on the Clyde and for the project to move closer to completion.

“It will clearly improve transport connections between Clydebank, Yoker and Renfrew, but it will also give a focus and raise the profile of the towns as people and businesses are attracted to one of the longest span cable-stayed opening bridges in the world. People will be proud, and it will be a real landmark for the area and the seed for much wider regeneration.”

Tony formed the Kettle Collective with friend and managing director Colin Bone and their architectural studio now incorporates around 70 designers, each with their own focus on contextual design, sustainability and low energy solutions – with the recent Queen’s Award for Sustainability confirming their place at the forefront of international sustainable design.

With offices now in Edinburgh, London and the Middle East, Tony continues to further an inspiring career that all began with a few sketches at home.

Tony said: “My father inspired me to be what I am today. He was an engineer and used to do beautiful hand drawings with a single line and no mistakes. When you’re young, it’s these kinds of things that shape who you want to be, even if you don’t realise it at the time.

“We spent a lot of time in Sri Lanka when I was growing up while my father worked on the Victoria Dam, a beautiful double parabolic curved structure, and I learned so much about the importance of climate, culture, and context.

“Inspired to be a designer, I studied at Edinburgh Art College, then worked my way through the ranks at RMJM to be International Design Principal. From there, I formed the Kettle Collective with Colin 12 years ago and haven’t looked back since.”

Now with more than 35 years of experience in the industry, Tony Kettle is still famed in Scotland for his work to create the Falkirk Wheel, the hugely successful tourist attraction that combines art and engineering to create a moving boat sculpture that thousands have visited since it first opened in 2002.

“A Lego helicopter for my daughter…”

It was while playing with his daughter and her Lego that he felt the creative spark for the project and this led to a design which has been featured as an example of Scottish innovation on the £50 note and within the British passport.

“I was making a Lego helicopter for my daughter and realised the gearing could be used to maintain the horizontality of the caissons containing the water and boats. Maybe it’s just me that would think like that while playing with Lego, but sometimes the simplest tools are the best to understand a problem – and my daughter is still waiting to get her Lego back to this day!

“It is great to see that my completed design has enticed so many people to visit and enjoy the waterways, and I think the Falkirk Wheel is recognised globally now as part of our inventive culture as a nation. I visit now and then, almost as though visiting an old friend, and I’m immensely proud to have been part of the large creative team that were involved.”

While taking time to reflect on past successes and see the latest one come to fruition in Renfrewshire, time doesn’t stand still for Tony and his passionate team of designers.

New urban design projects across the Middle East are being undertaken in parallel with designing cutting edge low-energy model housing in Edinburgh, all part of a long list of difficult but exciting projects the Kettle Collective are taking on.

“I can’t resist a challenge. I have a natural curiosity to learn new things and enjoy turning seemly contradictory opposites into innovative solutions.

“As a Collective, we are inspired by the diversity of places and context we work in and look to understand, challenge and reinvent historical models to create new solutions – the key is to look for the special qualities that are unique to that particular place and celebrate them to create an authentic answer.

“I believe we do that with every project we are lucky enough to undertake and we certainly did that with the Renfrew Bridge. It’s a fantastic project that will change the landscape of the river for the better, offer fresh, improved transport connections, and create a visual landmark that generations to come can be proud of – I know I certainly will be.”

Scotland’s home of manufacturing innovation

The bridge is a key part of the £117million Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project being led by Renfrewshire Council and will connect Renfrew with Yoker and Clydebank directly for the first time and will open up work, health, education and leisure opportunities on both sides of the river.

The project will also create additional connecting roads, cycling and walking routes, including from Yoker Railway Station to Inchinnan Road in Renfrew and on to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) – Scotland’s home of manufacturing innovation.

The project is jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Governments through the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal, a partnership of eight councils working to deliver a programme of work to grow a strong, inclusive and sustainable City Region and an economy which delivers for all people and businesses.

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The Northern Lights danced across the night sky late on Friday 10 May, with the rare and spectacular display continuing well into the wee-hours of Saturday morning.

A stunning and unusual display

Typically reserved for regions much closer to the Arctic Circle, Friday’s light-show was visible right across the UK. Even Brighton and Newquay enjoyed breath-taking displays of colour.

For most of us here in Renfrewshire, some of the best rays were seen when looking South, such was the intensity of the solar storm.

More about the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that happens when energy from the Sun collides with the Earth’s atmosphere. The result is vibrant hues of green, purple, pink, orange and blue light trailing across the sky.

Friday’s display technically started several days earlier, when a series of massive solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) erupted from the Sun, throwing super-charged solar particles at our planet’s magnetic field. This triggered something called a G5 geomagnetic storm; thought to be the most intense solar storm for more than twenty years.

Photos from Renfrewshire

So, what was seen in the sky above Renfrewshire on Friday night? We’ve pulled together a collection of the best photos taken right across the area for you to enjoy.

How to spot them again

If you missed Friday’s display, don’t worry. According to experts, the Sun is approaching a very active phase of its 11-year solar cycle, so we’re likely to see more aurora-producing storms in the months to come.

To make sure you’re all set for next time, here’s our 5 top tips for aurora-hunting in the local area.

  • Check the forecast

The Met Office’s Space Weather forecast and NOAA’s Aurora forecast are a great place to check for solar activity and sign up to alerts. Then of course you need to check for clear skies for where you plan to aurora-spot.

  •  Head for dark skies

The night skies above Lochwinnoch’s Castle Semple and Muirshiel visitor centres are amongst the darkest in Renfrewshire, making them the best location for spotting the Northern Lights. If you can’t get there though, head for outdoor spaces away from the bigger towns and light pollution.

  • Look North

The auroral arc looks a bit like a donut that usually rotates around the Arctic Circle. So when there’s aurora activity visible above Renfrewshire, it tends to display in the skies to the north.

  • Avoid the full moon

A full moon can outshine an aurora display. Aim for nights where the moon is new or not too bright.

  • Be patient, and be prepared!

The Northern Lights can be unpredictable to say the least. Dress for the weather, bring a comfy seat and supplies, and be prepared to wait!

Big congratulations are due to the team behind Paisley Halloween Festival.

They recently went along to the E Awards in Edinburgh after being shortlisted for the Best Large Festival gong, following the success of last year’s event.

Created by EVENTIT Scotland, the E Awards is Scotland’s only annual awards do for the events and festivals industry, celebrating the outstanding work of event teams across the country.

Held at the 02 Academy on 25 April, the E Awards are a testament to the whole sector, honouring planners, suppliers, venues and events and celebrating their successes.

Judged by a panel of leading figures who have helped shape the industry, the E Awards are widely considered to be one of the most prestigious awards to win for Scottish events.

Last year’s Paisley Halloween Festival saw a gothic extravaganza, featuring incredible aerial acrobatics, thrilling street performances and lots of spooky installations, take over the heart of the town centre.

Thousands of people came along and enjoyed the free-to-attend festivities, which ran for three nights from 26 – 28 October.

So, back to the E Awards where – much to the team’s surprise – they did in fact win this year’s Best Large Festival award, keeping excellent company with other winners like the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and the Aberdeen Student Festival.

So congratulations to everyone behind the magic of Paisley Halloween Festival – Renfrewshire Council’s events team, partners, performers and local community groups – who all come together to make the festival such a great experience. We’re already excited for this year’s event!

A report from February’s stargazing session

After a very wet and windy January put-paid to any telescope time at our first Dark Sky Viewing Night, everyone was feeling more optimistic for February’s event.

Taking place under some of the darkest skies in Renfrewshire, the latest stargazing session moved to Muirshiel Visitor Centre.

We spoke to John Pressly, Science Curator at Paisley Museum and the man behind the Dark Sky Viewing Nights for a quick report on how February’s event went on Monday night.

“We did have a full house again and all 40 people who showed up also deserve a vote of thanks for making the journey to Muirshiel.

The sky was fairly clear just after sunset and there was a thin crescent Moon hanging invitingly in the sky, tempting us with the possibility of a good night of stargazing to come.

Unfortunately it was not to be and just before the event began we were treated to a deluge of hailstones!

Whilst waiting for the weather to improve a talk on Jupiter was given and there was an opportunity to ask any astronomy-related questions that anyone had afterwards.

A hopeful eye was kept on the weather, which for the most part delivered snow flurries, sleet and rain, but we did get the occasional clear patch of sky.

Not enough to get the telescope set up sadly but there were some binoculars available for our visitors and those that had them did get to see some astronomical delights, such as Jupiter, the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades star cluster.

The brief clear patches did help emphasise just how good a dark sky site Muirshiel is, with very little light pollution to mask the wonders of the night sky.”


We’ve got our fingers firmly crossed for clear skies and a little less rain for our March stargazing event, which has already sold out too.

More on Dark Skies

A recap of 2023, exploring Renfrewshire in photos.

As the year comes to a close, we asked seven local photographers to share some of their favourite photos taken in Renfrewshire during 2023. The collection ranges from incredible wildlife and moody landscapes to live events and stunning architecture, with captions and descriptions in their own words.


Graham Morgan (@travelandmixpix)

Dark skies and stars in a woodland

Bluebell Woods at night, always a great place for a stroll or walking the dogs… Takes on a life if it’s own in the dark and in winter.

Northern Lights in Johnstone, Renfrewshire

The Northern Lights, always a chance to see them in the autumn or winter, even outside dark areas. The fireworks added a bit more to the scene.

A road curves away covered in autumn leaves

Linn Brae in Johnstone, leaves sat perfectly in the pavement all the way down the hill forming a carpet of leaves…. The wind had blown them away by day’s end ☺️

A snowy lane with a small dog in the foreground on a lead

Bluebell Woods in the snow and walking the dog’s, very photogenic at the best of time’s and everything combined to get me a photo I like very much.


Picturing Paisley (@picturing_paisley)

We are a photography collective, passionate about all that is positive in Paisley and we try to bring one image every day to our Instagram, highlighting a positive message of the town. We love capturing images of all the wonderful places, events and businesses in the town. We’ve chosen one photo from each of our members. We are Avi, Audrey, Carole, Christine, Karen and Kate.

a year in photos the libaray

Red book on a shelf, in Paisley’s new library and learning hub. Looking forward to being part of the community who uses this beautiful new asset.

jeans on a bench with flowers

These stuffed jeans in Brown Lane have walked their last steps.

Mill on the Water - Anchor Mill and the White Cart Water @picturing_paisley

All is calm on river Cart heading towards the Hamills.

People on scooters during a massed scooter ride

Vespa Day in Paisley

The inside of an art deco pub

Pub culture … plenty of choice in Paisley.

A snowy church

Coats Venue in the Snow


Lee D Connor (@l_dconnor)

Illuminated figure during the 2023 Paisley Halloween Festival

Illuminated figure during the 2023 Paisley Halloween Festival. When I attend an event with my camera I try to capture detail & interest for the viewer, celebrating the subject.

A photo taken during a walk at Jenny's Well, a nature reserve in Paisley

A photo taken during a walk at Jenny’s Well, a nature reserve in Paisley. This area is one of my favourite places to walk.

A large hill

Windy Hill in Renfrewshire.


Pauline Moss (@minimossp)

Baby Blue tit in Spring sat on a branch

Spring. This is a baby blue tit with its juvenile plumage—one of my favourite birds taken at one of my favourite places in Renfrewshire, the RSPB reserve in Lochwinnoch.

A young woodpecker sits on a branch

Summer (despite the rain drops). A young woodpecker, photographed in my back garden in Houston. This year was the first year we’ve ever had woodpeckers in the garden and I spent a lot of patient hours trying to capture a decent photo of this shy bird.

A Redwing visits Renfrewshire in the autumn

Autumn. This was the hardest season for me to choose because Renfrewshire is treated to such a fantastic array of visiting birds. This photo is a redwing on my neighbour’s rowan tree. At one point we had between 20 and 30 redwings flying around the area and the noise was incredible. That is my sure sign of Autumn—the redwings and the geese.

a heron takes flight in the snow

Winter, during the recent snowfall. This is one of the resident herons at the River Gryffe. I had been standing taking photos for a while when an angler waded into the river and spooked the heron and I was lucky enough to capture it in flight. I also hadn’t noticed before this photo that the heron has lost one of its feet.


Michael A (@the_rusting_robot_84)

Paisley's industrial history

Paisley’s industrial history lives on in the fantastic architecture on display. On this summers day the sun caught the former Anchor Mill just right and it looked glorious.

Sunset over Paisley Old Firestation

The light fog combined with the sunrise to provide an autumn glow. The old fire station took on a fairytale appearance in that early morning light.

Big skies over Dykebar @the_rusting_robot_84

Dykebar hill and the surrounding houses looked like a little hill top village against the fantastical looking clouds and blue sky.

Paisley Abbey in the snow

Steeped in a long history, Paisley Abbey played a significant role of establishing and growing Paisley as a town. It still sits proudly in the centre of the modern town and made for a picturesque winter scene after some recent snowfall.


Tam Love (@theclashcityrocker)

Renfrew Bascule Bridge

This shot was taken at the start of the year on what was one turned out one of the coldest days of the year. It was taken early morning when there was a heavy frost and freezing fog hanging over the bascule bridge in Renfrew

Renfrew Victory Baths

I have been wanting to get a photo of the Victoria baths in Renfrew ever since they had been lit up as part of their 100-year anniversary but had never got round to it. I headed out late one night in March to get this shot. I slowed the shutter speed down on the camera to capture the moving traffic passing the swimming baths.

Renfrew Town Hall and Sunset

This shot of the Renfrew town hall was taken on my phone as I was walking home one night, I noticed the sun beginning to set behind the town hall. As it was setting the sun light lit up the beautiful cloud formation that was over the clock tower, I knelt behind one of the flower beds on the high st to introduce some colour in the foreground.

Sunset over a bridge

This is a shot of the sunset at the new footpath and cycle path bridge crossing over the river cart. The bridge was built to link Inchinnan, Renfrew & Paisley and to improve cycling and active travel to the newly built manufacturing and innovation centre near Glasgow airport.

A cast member from Paisley Halloween Festival 2023

I was really happy to be asked if I could photograph the Frank and McStein monster lab show for emergency exit arts at the fantastic Paisley Halloween Festival this year. This is a shot of one of the cast members that took part in the amazing fire show.

Red chairs stacked in rows

Wandering chairs. Paisley Town Hall.


Kirsten Ferguson (@kizbang)

A young fox raises it's head up to the sky from long grass

If you aren’t in over your head how do you know how tall you are? Red fox in tall grasses. I captured this image in May of 2023 in Paisley. The fox was concealed from view, lying in long grasses.  I caught the moment as he raised his head to sniff the air. I have photographed foxes for over 14 years, and I still feel privileged to observe moments of calm and vulnerability that so few get to witness.

Two badgers playing

Sibling rivalry (taken in the Renfrewshire area mid summer 2023). A very special encounter as I have waited a long time to see badgers. I got the chance to observe a family of badgers emerge from the sett, and to watch their interactions with each other. This image was taken in poor light, and from a great distance, pushing my lens to its limit. Despite the grainy image I love how it captures the interaction between these two siblings. It serves as a reminder of the variety of wildlife that resides in our local area.

close up of a toadstool

Fly Agaric. This image was taken in October 2023 in the grounds of Dykebar hospital.  I opted for a different perspective to this classic toadstool associated with fairytales. The contrast of colours and textures in these natural forms reminds me of the fabrics in Elizabethan costumes.

Autumn bracken, Gleniffer Braes

Connections (October 2023). I spend a lot of time in the Gleniffer Braes. I’m used to looking to the skies, and at longer distances for larger subjects. So it was challenging to look down and cover smaller areas of ground with macro photography. I captured this shot on a bright day in Autumn photographing the textures and colours of the season. This image of bracken leaves in golden light is my favourite from that day walking in the woods.


A final thanks.

Big thanks from the whole Paisley Is team, to everyone who has tagged, chatted, and shared your advenutres with us on Instagram. Special thanks to the photographers here who have shared their work with us. Thanks for your enduring creativity.

Snowy aerial photo of Gleniffer Braes

Snowy photo of Gleniffer Braes, December 2023 @bike.camera.van

In celebration of the Royal National Mòd being in Paisley we’re putting a spotlight on some of our own trad musicians.

Fergus Dorrington was one of Renfrewshire’s young pipers to mark the opening of the nine- day festival which showcases the best in Gaelic music, language, and culture.

The 16-year-old was part of the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band that bagged first place in the novice category at the World Pipe Band Championships in August.

Fergus said: “I felt ecstatic after winning the Worlds and it’s a feeling and memory I will never forget. Straight after getting on the bus to go home from Glasgow Green, we were singing and dancing the whole way back to the band hall where we had a well-earned party.”

Fergus, who attends Johnstone High School, has been playing the bagpipes for the last five years.

He said: “The thing I love most about playing the bagpipes is the friends and memories you make and the amazing experiences and opportunities it gives.

“I’ve done everything from playing with a trad band in Islay, busking and playing at piping solos, to getting to play at the Usher Hall with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland! I’ve also performed at the Paisley Abbey for events with the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band.”

Speaking ahead of the Mòd starting in the town Fergus said: “I’m really excited for the Mòd to be in Paisley as it’s such a massive event with a big community and I can’t wait to play at it with the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band but also with the house band too!

“For anyone who is not sure whether they like Scottish Trad music, all I’ll say is you should dive right in and see what you like.

“What I enjoy most about Scottish Trad is the culture and wide range of bands out there such as Breabach, Rura, Beatha and all the different approaches and styles that they bring. I also enjoy seeing the familiar faces of friends, family and idols at these events.”

Mar chomharrachadh air a’ Mhòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail a bhith ann am Pàislig tha sinn a’ cur cuideam air cuid den luchd-ciùil thraidiseanta againn fhìn.

Bha Fearghas Dorrington air fear de phìobairean òga Siorrachd Rinn Friù gus fosgladh na fèise a chomharrachadh a bhios a’ ruith airson naoi làithean agus a’ taisbeanadh an fheadhainn as fheàrr ann an ceòl, cànan is cultar na Gàidhlig.

Bha an gille 16-bliadhna na phàirt de Chòmhlan Pìoba Sgoiltean Siorrachd Rinn Friù a choisinn a’ chiad àite ann an roinn luchd-ionnsachaidh aig Farpaisean Còmhlan Pìoba na Cruinne san Lùnastal.

Thuirt Fearghas: “Bha mi air mo dhòigh às dèidh dhomh na Worlds a bhuannachadh agus is e faireachdainn agus cuimhne a th’ ann nach dìochuimhnich mi gu bràth. Dìreach às dèidh dhuinn faighinn air a’ bhus airson a dhol dhachaigh à Glasgow Green, bha sinn a’ seinn agus a’ dannsa fad na slighe air ais gu talla a’ chòmhlain far an robh partaidh air a chosnadh gu math.”

Tha Fearghas, a tha a’ dol gu Àrd-sgoil Johnstone, air a bhith a’ cluich na pìoba airson còig bliadhna.

Thuirt e: “Is e an rud as fheàrr leam mu bhith a’ cluich na pìoba na caraidean agus na cuimhneachain a nì thu agus na h-eòlasan agus na cothroman iongantach a bheir e seachad. Tha mi air a h-uile càil a dhèanamh bho bhith a’ cluich le còmhlan-ciùil ann an Ìle, a’ cluich san t-sràid agus a’ cluich aig aon-neach na pìoba, gu bhith a’ cluich aig Talla Usher le Còmhlan Pìoba Nàiseanta Òigridh na h-Alba! Tha mi cuideachd air cluich aig Abaid Phàislig airson tachartasan còmhla ri Còmhlan Pìoba Sgoiltean Siorrachd Rinn Friù.”

A’ bruidhinn mus tòisich am Mòd sa bhaile thuirt Fearghas: “Tha mi air leth toilichte gu bheil am Mòd ann am Pàislig leis gur e tachartas air leth mòr a th’ ann le coimhearsnachd mhòr agus chan urrainn dhomh feitheamh gus cluich air le Còmhlan Pìoba Sgoiltean Rinn Friù ach cuideachd leis a’ chòmhlan-taighe cuideachd!

“Do dhuine sam bith nach eil cinnteach an toil leotha ceòl Traidiseanta na h-Alba, chan eil agam ach gum bu chòir dhut dàibheadh a-steach agus faicinn dè as toil leat. Is e an rud as motha a tha a’ còrdadh rium mu dheidhinn Trad na h-Alba, an cultar agus an raon fharsaing de chòmhlain a-muigh an sin leithid Breabach, Rura, Beatha agus na diofar dhòighean-obrach agus stoidhlichean a tha aca. Tha e a’ còrdadh rium cuideachd a bhith a’ faicinn aghaidhean eòlach charaidean, teaghlaich agus iodhal aig na tachartasan sin.”


Dè tha dol / What’s on

Learn how to say these handy phrases in Gaelic and help welcome our visitors to Mòd Phàislig 2023.

The order is GaelicPhonetics-style (sounds like)English.


  • Madainn mhathmah deen vah – Good morning
  • Feasgar math – fess garr mah – Good afternoon 
  • Fàilte – fahl tchu – Welcome 
  • Fàilte gu Pàislig – fahl tchu goo pash-lig – Welcome to Paisley
  • Fàilte gu Mòd Phàislig – fahl tchu goo mod fash-lig – Welcome to Paisley Mòd 

Saying goodbye

  • Mar sin leibh – Mar shin luyhv – Goodbye 
  • Cheerie an-dràsta – cheer ee an drass tah – Bye for now 
  • Chì sinn a-rithist sibh – chee sheen uh ree-eesht shoo – We’ll see you again

Questions and answers

  • Ciamar a tha thu? – kimmer uh hah ooh – how are you? 
  • Ciamar a tha thu fhèin? – kimmer uh hah ooh hayn – How are you yourself (how is oneself)? 
  • Tha mi gu math – hah me goo mah – I am well (good) 
  • Tha mi gu sunndach – hah me goo soun doch (as in loch) – I am in good form 

Describing your day

  • Latha math – Lah mah – Good day /Nice day 
  • Latha brèagha – Lah breeh ahh – Lovely day 
  • Tha i fliuch – hah ee flooch (as in loch) – It’s wet 
  • Tha i fuar – hah ee foo arr – It’s cold
  • Tha i grianach – hah ee gree anach (as in loch) – It’s sunny 


  • Gur math a thèid leibh – goor mah uh haydge luyhv – All the best 
  • Glè mhath – glee vath – very good / well done
  • ‘Se ur beathashey oor behah – Shea
  • Tapadh leibh – tah pah leave – Thank you 



Want to know more about these handy phrases in Gaelic? Check out this excellent video from Visit Scotland—diving deep into the roots of Gaelic and the meanings of placenames across Scotland.

Find out more

As part of our celebration of the Royal National Mòd being in Paisley this year we wanted to shine a light on some of Renfrewshire’s young trad performers.

We met Emily Fraser at the start of the year for the launch of Mòd Phàislig. The 18-year-old harpist from Paisley has strong family links with the traditional music scene and has even competed in the Mòd in previous years.

Emily has been involved with a number of local arts groups over the years and, most recently, performed as part of the annual Ceilidh Trail tour organised by Fèis Phàislig.

Talking about her family links with Fèis she said: “My aunt was part of the Fèis Arainn (Arran) committee and she would help out a lot. That’s how my sister and I started to go along and how we met Grant who then decided to start the Fèis here in Paisley.”

Emily has been playing the harp for around seven years now. Speaking of her love of the instrument and trad music she commented: “I think the harp is a lovely instrument. It’s got such a lovely tone to it and there are so many different techniques you can try with it as well.

“What appeals to me about trad music is the community that comes along with it. There are so many great people involved in the music scene that you can work with. With the rise in popularity of events like Celtic Connections and the Mòd there are more opportunities for musicians as more people become aware of what trad music can be and want to experience it.”

Emily has competed in the Mòd before as a soloist and also won one of the competitions as part of a harp group. She talked of her excitement of the event taking place in Paisley this year. “I’ve been looking forward to having the Mòd on my doorstep this year. It’s such a great opportunity to get together and boost your musical ability if you’re a performer but it’s also just a great festival to come along, get involved and enjoy as a spectator.”


Mar phàirt den chomharrachadh againn air a’ Mhòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail a bhith ann am Pàislig am-bliadhna bha sinn airson solas a chuir air cuid de luchd-ciùil òga à Siorrachd Rinn Friù.

Choinnich sinn ri Emily Friseal aig toiseach na bliadhna airson cuir air bhog Mhòd Phàislig. Tha ceanglaichean teaghlaich làidir aig a’ chlàrsaiche à Pàislig, a tha 18 bliadhna a dh’aois, ri saoghal a’ chiùil thraidiseanta agus tha i fiù’s air a bhith a’ farpais aig a’ Mhòd sna bliadhnaichean roimhe sin.

Tha Emily air a bhith an sàs ann an grunn bhuidhnean ealain ionadail thar nam bliadhnaichean agus, o chionn ghoirid, chluich i mar phàirt den chuairt bhliadhnail air a’ Chèilidh air Chuairt a bhios Fèis Phàislig a’ cur air dòigh.

A’ bruidhinn mu na ceanglaichean teaghlaich aice ris an Fhèis thuirt i: “Bha piuthar mo mhàthar na pàirt de chomataidh Fèis Arainn agus chuidicheadh i tòrr. Sin mar a thòisich mi fhèin agus mo phiuthar a’ dol ann agus mar a choinnich sinn ri Grant a chuir roimhe an Fhèis a thòiseachadh an seo ann am Pàislig.”

Tha Emily air a bhith a’ cluich na clàrsaich airson timcheall air seachd bliadhna a-nis. A’ bruidhinn mun ghaol a th’ aice air an ionnsramaid agus ceòl traidiseanta, thuirt i: “Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gur e inneal àlainn a th’ anns a’ chlàrsaich. Tha tòna cho breagha aice agus tha uimhir de dhòighean eadar-dhealaichte ann as urrainn dhut feuchainn leatha cuideachd.

“Is e an rud a tha tarraingeach dhomh mu cheòl traidiseanta a’ choimhearsnachd a tha na chois. Tha uimhir de dhaoine sgoinneil an sàs ann an saoghal a’ chiùil leis an urrainn dhut obrachadh. Leis mar a tha tachartasan leithid Celtic Connections agus am Mòd a’ dol am meud, tha barrachd chothroman ann do luchd-ciùil agus barrachd dhaoine a’ faighinn eòlas air cò ris a dh’fhaodas ceòl traidiseanta a bhith agus ag iarraidh eòlas fhaighinn air.”

Tha Emily air a bhith a’ farpais anns a’ Mhòd roimhe seo mar neach-ciùil agus cuideachd air tè de na farpaisean a bhuannachadh mar phàirt de bhuidheann chlàrsaichean. Bhruidhinn i air an toileachas a th’ aice mun tachartas a tha a’ gabhail àite ann am Pàislig am-bliadhna. “Tha mi air a bhith a’ coimhead air adhart ris a’ Mhòd a bhith air an stairsnich agam am-bliadhna. ’S e deagh chothrom a th’ ann tighinn còmhla agus do chomas ciùil àrdachadh mas e neach-ciùil a th’ annad ach ’s e fìor fhèis a th’ ann cuideachd airson tighinn ann, a dhol an sàs agus tlachd fhaighinn mar neach-amhairc.”


Dè tha dol / What’s on

A sensational, dynamic and inclusive programme of concerts, events, exhibitions and workshops has been unveiled for the Royal National Mòd which returns to Paisley between 13 – 21 October 2023.

Scotland’s premier Gaelic cultural event will celebrate the language and Scottish traditional music, song, drama, literature, art and sport.

Hundreds of musicians and artists will take to stages, halls and libraries in over 20 venues across Paisley and its surrounding areas during the nine-day event when it returns to the Renfrewshire town for the first time in ten years.

Mòd Phàislig will get underway with the Cuirm-Fosglaidh a’ Mhòid 2023 (Mòd 2023 Opening Concert) at Paisley Town Hall on Friday 13th October, featuring contemporary folk act, Breabach. The five-piece, who are currently Folk Band of the Year, will be one of the first acts to take to the stage of the newly refurbished Renfrewshire venue.

The hall will also play host to an unforgettable night of traditional music and Gaelic culture showcasing young talent from Renfrewshire and beyond for Ar Cànan ‘s Ar Ceòl (Our Language Our Music) on Saturday 14th October. Fèis Phàislig youngsters and the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band will put on a show-stopping performance, whilst The Glasgow Gaelic Choir will be joined by some of Scotland’s finest Gaelic singers including Ainsley Hamill, Deirdre Graham and Joy Dunlop. Kilbarchan Pipe Band and Jenna Reid and Harris Playfair will also make an appearance on the show’s fantastic bill.

A specially created show launching the reworked Gaelic song collection of Frances Tolmie: Gun Sireadh Gun Iarraidh, will also take place at Paisley Town Hall on Tuesday, 17th October.

Tolmie’s iconic collection of songs have been passed down, reimagined and reshaped over many years, and are being brought together in one special collection by Kenna Campbell and Ainsley Hamill. The pair will be joined by others who have used Tolmie with their own repertoire and style, including Ceitlin Lilidh, Mischa Macpherson, Màiri Callan, James Graham, Rachel Walker, Mary Ann Kennedy, Wilma Kennedy and Seumas Campbell. They will be accompanied by a Scottish folk all-star house band.

There will also be an opportunity to connect with Gaelic outdoors – thanks to a Gaelic Nature Walk at Paisley’s Fountain Gardens led by Alasdair Whyte and developed in partnership with local community development organisation STAR Project. On Sunday 15th October, participants will be able to experience Paisley’s oldest public gardens, discover Gaelic folklore and learn Gaelic names for the trees, plants, animals, birds and features in the park.

Workshops are also on the programme, with Gaelic speaker and traditional musician Evie Waddell hosting Fàilte Gu British Sign Language (BSL) (Welcome to BSL) on Friday 20th October. Joined by a team of d/Deaf performers, Evie will help participants learn some Gaelic signed song and rhythmic traditional step dance in what is set to be a joyful cultural exchange that will be open to all. A vibrant show will follow at Paisley Town Hall that evening, using traditional songs and stories, sign and dance, to explore the relationships between Scottish culture, Gaelic and BSL.

There will be a varied and extensive programme for families across the week with activity taking place in venues right across Renfrewshire. Struth will return on the Monday and Tuesday, giving young people the opportunity to chat with some of Gaeldom’s best-known stars, while week-long Mòd Kids Clubs and day sessions led by Fèis Phàislig, and local partners such as Lochwinnoch Arts Festival and Erskine Arts, will fill the October school holidays with a raft of activity.

Gaelic Bookbug will run at libraries in Linwood, Foxbar, Ralston, Johnstone and Glenburn, while children’s ceilidhs will take place at the UWS Students’ Union on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th October.

Later in the week, The Tannahill Centre will stage the Fàilte Cèilidh – a warm welcoming multi-cultural ceilidh for communities from all cultures to share stories in their native languages, mixed with Gaelic. The event on Thursday 19th October will be hosted by School of African Cultures in partnership with local community groups Pachedu and Inspiring Families.

As Halloween nears and the Mòd draws to a close, Saturday 21st October will see a Spooky Samhain Family Cèilidh at UWS Students’ Union. This Halloween themed cèilidh for all the family, led by Fèis Phàislig, will celebrate Halloween and the Samhain festival in Paisley’s famous fashion.

The coveted sport events will also bring the Mòd’s programme of activity to the King George V Playing Fields on Saturday 14th October. The sport of the Gaels, shinty, will be played by men’s, women’s and youth teams in hotly contested finals, while the Football Mòd Cup will see two teams with Gaelic roots battle it out. While Sunday 15th October sees Paisley Abbey welcome the Mòd Church Service.

The celebrations are set to go into the wee hours and spill out into businesses across the town, with the Mòd Festival Club being held at The Sneddon. The Paisley pub will welcome a variety of pop-up live music sessions and entertainment each day of the festival and give event goers a chance to catch up after the day’s festivities.

The much-loved Bungalow will host the Mòd Late & Live which will let visitors experience live traditional and Gaelic music from some of the best names on the scene. The Swan and The Keg will also be home to lively pub sessions throughout the week of the event.

The wealth of events and activities on offer sits alongside the Mòd’s prestigious competition schedule, which will see the usual array of talent vying for the most coveted titles in Gaeldom. The Gold Medal, Traditional Gold Medal Final and Silver Pendant competitions, choirs competitions and Drama Final will all take place throughout the week, alongside children’s and music competitions, which will all welcome competitors from across Scotland and the wider world to Paisley.

Battle of the Bands will also be back for 2023 as young Scottish traditional and Gaelic acts perform for an esteemed panel of judges and lively audience at the The Wynd Centre for the final on Tuesday 17th October and the Literature Prize Giving will be held on Wednesday 18th October.

Following last year’s addition of art into the Mòd programme for the first time, artworks championing Gaelic culture and Scottish life from across Scotland will also be celebrated at the Mòd Phàislig with a digital display. The entrants for the Highland Art Prize will then be showcased at Glasgow’s Briggait from Friday 20th October. Visitors can also enjoy a guided tour of the ten longlist finalists.

A fitting finale to the Paisley Mòd will come in the form of the much-loved Massed Choirs. Hundreds of singers in choirs across Scotland will join in solidarity when they congregate in Paisley town centre on Saturday 21st October.

That night, folk-electronica powerhouse Niteworks will play Paisley Town Hall to round off a spectacular nine-day celebration of Gaelic. The concert presented by The Reeling, which was announced last month and marks the band’s only Scottish venue gig of the year, has seen fans snap up tickets.

Mòd Phàislig 2023

Tha prògram do-chreidsinneach, fiùghantach agus in-ghabhalach de chuirmean-ciùil, tachartasan, taisbeanaidhean agus bùithtean-obrach air fhoillseachadh leis a’ Mhòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail ’s e a’ tilleadh a Phàislig eadar 13 – 21 Dàmhair 2023.

Bidh prìomh thachartas cultarach Gàidhlig na h-Alba a’ comharrachadh a’ chànain còmhla ri ceòl traidiseanta, òrain, dràma, litreachas, ealain agus spòrs na h-Alba.

Bidh na ceudan de luchd-ciùil agus luchd-ealain a’ gabhail chun an àrd-ùrlair, tallachan agus leabharlannan ann an còrr air 20 ionad-cruinneachaidh ann am Pàislig agus san sgìre mun cuairt rè an tachartais naoi làithean seo, nuair a thilleas e don bhaile ann an Siorrachd Rinn Friù airson a’ chiad uair ann an deich bliadhna.

Thèid Mòd Phàislig a chur fo sheòl le Cuirm Fosglaidh a’ Mhòid 2023 ann an Talla Baile Phàislig air Dihaoine 13 Dàmhair, a’ nochdadh a’ bhuidhinn cho-aimsireil tuath-cheòl, Breabach. Bidh an còmhlan de chòignear, a tha gu làithreach ainmichte mar Còmhlan Tuath-cheòl na Bliadhna, mar aon de na ciad thachartasan a ghabhas gu àrd-ùrlar an ionad-chruinneachaidh seo a tha air a dhèanamh suas às ùr, ann an Siorrachd Rinn Friù.

Bidh an talla a’ toirt aoigheachd cuideachd do dh’oidhche nach tèid à cuimhne de cheòl traidiseanta agus de chultar na Gàidhlig, a’ taisbeanadh tàlant òg à Siorrachd Rinn Friù agus nas fhaide a-muigh airson Ar Cànan ’s Ar Ceòl air Disathairne 14 Dàmhair.  Bidh òigridh Fèis Phàislig agus Còmhlan Pìobaireachd Sgoiltean Siorrachd Rinn Friù a’ cur gnìomhadh iongantach air àrd-ùrlar, fhad ’s a bhios cuid de na seinneadairean Gàidhlig as grinne ann an Alba, a’ gabhail a-steach Ainsley Hamill, Deirdre Ghreumach agus Joy Dunlop, a’ gabhail pàirt còmhla ri Còisir Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu.  Còmhla riutha air àrd-ùrlar bidh Còmhlan Pìobaireachd Chill Bhearchain agus Jenna Reid is Harris Playfair a’ nochdadh air prògram na h-oidhche.

Thèid taisbeanadh air ùr-chruthachadh, a’ cur air bhog cruinneachadh às ùr de dh’òrain Ghàidhlig Frances Tolmie: Gun Sireadh Gun Iarraidh, a chur air àrd-ùrlar ann an Talla Baile Phàislig air Dimàirt 17 Dàmhair.

Tha an cruinneachadh suaicheanta de dh’òrain Tolmie air an sìneadh sìos, air an ath-obrachadh ’s air an ath-chumadh thar mòran bhliadhnaichean, agus air an toirt còmhla ann an aon chruinneachadh speisealta le Kenna Chaimbeul agus Ainsley Hamill. Còmhla ris an dithis sin, bidh feadhainn eile a tha air Tolmie a chleachdadh nan cruinneachadh agus na stoidhle fhèin, a’ gabhail a-steach Ceitlin Lilidh, Mischa Nic a’ Phearsain, Màiri Callan, Seumas Greumach, Raonaid Walker, Màiri Anna NicUalraig, Wilma NicUalraig agus Seumas Caimbeul. Gheibh iad taic-ciùil bho chòmhlan taighe de rionnagan tuath-cheòl Albannach.

Bidh cothrom ann cuideachd ceangal a dhèanamh le Gàidhlig air an taobh a-muigh le taing do Chuairt Nàdair Ghàidhlig ann an Gàrraidhean Fuarain Phàislig, air a stiùireadh le Alasdair Whyte agus air a leasachadh ann an com-pàirteachas leis a’ bhuidheann leasachaidh coimhearsnachd ionadail, Pròiseact STAR. Air Didòmhnaich 15 Dàmhair, bidh cothrom aig com-pàirtichean eòlas a chur air na gàrraidhean poblach as sine ann am Pàislig, faighinn a-mach mu bheul-aithris Gàidhlig agus ainmean Gàidhlig do chraobhan, planntrais, beathaichean, eòin agus àiteachan cudromach sa phàirc, ionnsachadh.

Tha bùithtean-obrach air a’ phrògram cuideachd, leis an neach-labhairt Gàidhlig agus an neach-ciùil traidiseanta, Evie Waddell a’ toirt aoigheachd do Fàilte Gu Cànan Soidhnidh Bhreatainn (BSL) air Dihaoine 20 Dàmhair. Le sgioba de luchd-gnìomhaidh a tha bodhar,  bidh Evie a’ cuideachadh chom-pàirtichean le beagan Gàidhlig ionnsachadh, agus òrain is dannsa-ceum traidiseanta ruitheamach soidhnichte, ann an suidheachadh a tha gu bhith na iomlaid chultarach thoilichte agus fosgailte do na h-uile. Leanaidh taisbeanadh beòthail ann an Talla Baile Phàislig air an fheasgar sin, a’ cleachdadh òrain agus sgeulachdan traidiseanta, soidhneadh agus dannsa, gus na dàimhean eadar cultar na h-Alba, Gàidhlig agus BSL a rannsachadh.

Bidh prògram farsaing agus measgaichte ann do theaghlaichean fad na seachdaine le gnìomhachdan a’ gabhail àite ann an ionadan-cruinneachaidh air feadh sgìre Siorrachd Rinn Friù.  Tillidh Struth air Diluain agus Dimàirt, a’ toirt cothrom do dhaoine òga còmhradh ri cuid de na rionnagan as aithnichte ann an saoghal nan Gàidheal, fhad ’s a bhios Clubaichean Clann a’ Mhòid a’ dol fad na seachdaine agus seiseanan gach latha air an stiùireadh le Fèis Phàislig, agus com-pàirtichean ionadail leithid Fèis Ealain Loch Uinneach a’ lìonadh seachdain nan saor-làithean sgoile san Dàmhair le sreath de ghnìomhachd.

Ann an leabharlannan Linwood, Foxbar, Baile Raghnaill, Baile Iain agus Glenburn, bidh Bookbug Gàidhlig a’ ruith fhad ’s a bhios cèilidhean chloinne a’ gabhail àite ann an Aonadh Oileanaich UWS air Diluain 16 agus Dimàirt 17 Dàmhair.

Nas fhaide air adhart san t-seachdain, bidh Ionad Tannahill ga chleachdadh airson Cèilidh Fàilte – cèilidh ioma-chultarach fàilteach do choimhearsnachdan bho gach cultar gus sgeulachdan a roinn nan cànan dùthchasach, measgaichte le Gàidhlig. Gheibh an tachartas air Diardaoin 19 Dàmhair aoigheachd bho Sgoil nan Cultaran Afraganach ann an com-pàirteachas leis na buidhnean coimhearsnachd ionadail, Pachedu agus Inspiring Families.

Mar a bhios oidhche Shamhna a’ tarraing nas dlùithe agus am Mòd a’ tighinn gu crìch, air Disathairne 21 Dàmhair chithear Cèilidh Teaghlaich Spooky Samhain a’ gabhail àite aig Aonadh Oileanaich UWS. Bidh an cèilidh cuspaireil Samhna seo don teaghlach air fad, air a stiùireadh le Fèis Phàislig, a’ comharrachadh Oidhche Shamhna agus fèis Shamhna ann an stoidhle ainmeil Phàislig.

Bheir na tachartasan cliùiteach spòrs prògram ghnìomhachdan a’ Mhòid gu Raointean Cluiche Rìgh Seòras V air Disathairne 14 Dàmhair. Thèid iomain, spòrs nan Gàidheal, a chluich le sgiobaidhean nam fear, nam mnathan agus na h-òigridh ann am farpaisean crìochnachaidh a bhios gu math teann, agus chì Cupa Ball-coise a’ Mhòid dà sgioba le freumhan Gàidhlig a’ farpais an aghaidh a chèile. Air Didòmhnaich 15 Dàmhair, bidh Abaid Phàislig a’ cur fàilte air Seirbheis Eaglaiseil a’ Mhòid.

Tha na subhachasan deiseil airson a dhol air adhart gu uairean beaga na maidne air feadh a’ bhaile, agus sgaoileadh a-mach gu gnothachasan air feadh na sgìre, le Club Fèis a’ Mhòid ga chumail anns an Sneddon. Cuiridh an taigh-seinnse seo ann am Pàislig fàilte air measgachadh de sheiseanan ciùil beò sealach agus cur-seachad air gach latha den fhèis, a’ toirt cothrom do luchd-tadhail air fois a ghabhail an dèidh subhachasan an latha.

Bidh am Bungalow a’ toirt aoigheachd don Mòd Anmoch is Beò anns a’ Bhungalow, a bheir cothrom do luchd-tadhail eòlas a chur air ceòl traidiseanta is Gàidhlig bho chuid de na h-ainmean as fheàrr a tha mun cuairt. Bidh an Swan agus an Keg nan dachaigh do sheiseanan taigh-seinnse air feadh na seachadaine.

Tha am beairteas de thachartasan agus ghnìomhachdan a thathar a’ tabhann a’ ruith taobh ri taobh le clàr fharpaisean cliùiteach a’ Mhòid, a chì an sreath àbhaisteach de thàlant a’ farpais airson nan tiotalan as tograiche ann an saoghal nan Gàidheal. Gabhaidh am Bonn Òir, Farpais Crìochnachaidh an t-Seann Nòis, agus farpaisean an Aigeallain Airgid, farpaisean chòisirean agus Farpais Crìochnachaidh an Dràma àite tron t-seachdain, ri taobh farpaisean chloinne is ciùil, a chuireas uile fàilte air farpaisich bho air feadh Alba agus an t-saoghail nas fharsainge, gu Pàislig.

Bidh Cogadh nan Còmhlan air ais ann an 2023 agus còmhlain òga traidiseanta Albannach agus Gàidhlig a’ gnìomhadh mu choinneamh pannal spèiseil de bhritheamhan agus luchd-èisteachd beò aig Ionad Wynd, airson na farpais chrìochnachaidh air Dimàirt 17 Dàmhair agus na Duaisean Litreachais gam buileachadh air Diciadain 18 Dàmhair.

A’ leantainn air farpais ealain na bliadhna an-uiridh ga chur ri prògram a’ Mhòid, bidh obair-ealain ag adhartachadh cultar Gàidhlig agus beatha Alba bho air feadh Alba, ga chomharrachadh aig Mòd Phàislig le taisbeanadh didseatach. Thèid com-pàirtichean Duais Ealain na Gàidhealtachd a thaisbeanadh an uair sin sa Bhriggait ann an Glaschu bho Dihaoine 20mh Dàmhair. Faodaidh luchd-tadhail tlachd a ghabhail cuideachd à cuairt stiùirichte de obair nan deichnear luchd-crìochnachaidh air an liosta fhada.

Thig crìoch fhreagarrach air Mòd Phàislig ann an cruth Caithream nan Còisirean. Thig na ceudan de sheinneadairean bho air feadh Alba còmhla nuair a chruinnicheas iad ann am meadhan Baile Phàislig air Disathairne 21 Dàmhair.

An oidhche sin, bidh còmhlan folk-electronica Niteworks a’ cluich ann an Talla Baile Phàislig gus naoi làithean iongantach de shubhachasan a thoirt gu crìch. Tha a’ chuirm-chiùil a chaidh ainmeachadh air a’ mhìos mu dheireadh air a riochdachadh leis The Reeling, ’s iad a’ comharrachadh an aon chuirm a-mhàin aig a’ chòmhlan ann an Alba am-bliadhna, agus air a bhith a’ faicinn thiogaidean gan ceannach nan sruthan.

This year’s Royal National Mòd programme truly has something for everyone and shows the incredible breadth and richness of Gaelic language and culture spanning all backgrounds and ages.

James Graham
Chief Executive Officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach

Find out more

Restoration & Creation on Paisley’s Browns Lane is supporting shoppers, backing business and saving furniture from landfill.

“We got carried away with chairs; it was never meant to be chairs,” jokes Caroline Sweeney, a former globetrotting IKEA manager now running her own home interiors and upcycling business in Paisley.

She adds: “IKEA was probably one of the best companies in the world ever to work for. I spent 20 years living and working abroad in the Middle East and across Europe.

“I always missed Scotland and I wanted to come home and run my own business.

“Customers at IKEA were looking for more sustainable furniture and for something custom-made, something they couldn’t get anywhere else so that’s what I have focused my business on.”

A creative hub

Caroline established Restoration & Creation on Browns Lane, a creative hub in the grounds of a former stables.

Alongside Caroline’s chairs, there’s exhibition, retail and making space as well as room to run a range of workshops.

Recent funding from the Council has enabled Caroline to welcome five more makers to base themselves at the hub, making and selling their handmade products.

This includes Sandra and Gary Nesbitt, aka BlackCat Upcyclers.

“Gary is the maker; I’m the artist,” explains Sandra, their combined talents put to upcycling furniture and making custom-made pieces for indoors and outdoors.

Sandra works for Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership supporting young adults with autism and complex learning disabilities.

Sandra says: “I would love to run workshops for people with learning disabilities and autism. I show them how to upcycle things and each year there’s an event selling what they’ve made. It’s so lovely seeing their faces light up at people buying their products.

Sandra met her husband Gary 11 years ago after he’d changed careers from joinery into healthcare.

Gary adds: “We love upcycling, and we feel it’s so important to show people what can be done with unwanted furniture or items heading for landfill. Moving to the hub gives us the opportunity for people to come in and see what we do and how we do it.”

Alongside Sandra and Gary’s workspace is Gryffe Casting Studio.

It’s run by Emma Lewis, a former hotel revenue manager, whose business sees her make casts of hands, baby bumps and capture family bonds.

Emma says: “I’m focusing myself as a family casting specialist, there’s so many variations and ways to capture special moments in life.

“I was working from the shed in my garden which meant my business was hidden away, and I missed the banter with colleagues from working in hotels.

“The camaraderie between us all at the hub is fantastic, we’re all aiming for the same goals and all supporting each other, sharing each other’s social pages, learning from each other, encouraging each other.”

Keeping tradition alive

For Kinda Zackry, being part of the hub is helping her to keep the tradition of porcelain painting alive.

Kinda learned about porcelain painting while living in Dubai, the process involving four firings in a kiln, each with 24 hours to cool down then up to four more days painting depending on the intricacy of the artwork.

“We didn’t have YouTube or other media, so after learning from a Japanese lady, I went on and bought lots of books and taught myself more and more,” says Kinda, who lives in Bridge of Weir.

“Moving into the hub I was scared as it’s my first time running my own business and being responsible for everything, but I feel ready to take that step.

“I want to grow, for everyone to know my name, to come here and to ask for a painting and I want to share my skills as nowadays there are fewer porcelain painters in the world so I’d like to help to keep it alive.”