On November 20th, On the Rocks Festival, Scotland’s largest student-run arts festival, hosted an ‘On the Pebbles’ (OTP) series of events. As a precursor event to their 2022 festival, OTP kept the community of St Andrews busy this past Saturday with more than just a handful of events ranging from Hip-Hop classes to markets, to pub evenings with live music. Following the week of hype and advertisement leading up to OTP, I had become quite excited to see what the committee had planned for the Bubble.
The first OTP event that I went to was the Makers’ Market, a pop-up sale set to support women-owned businesses featuring baked goods, jewelry, and art, among a handful of other pieces in collaboration with the St Andrews Heritage Foundation. Going into the sale, I had varying expectations. I knew that some of the stalls would have some treasured pieces but I was not anticipating both the quantity and quality of items and artwork that covered the St Andrews Heritage Museum and Garden. The comforting smell of baked goods swirled around as I made my way through the sale, browsing and conversing with the small-business owners. I was able to speak to a few of the vendors, all of whom were incredibly friendly and helpful to an indecisive person like me. Notably, Mhairi Claire of Making for Good was exceptionally welcoming at her table that had one-of-a-kind totes, jewelry, and homemade candles that transform my room into a Christmas wonderland when lit. If you would like to have a look into the featured local businesses at the Makers’ Market, please see the list of vendors at the bottom of this article to learn more about these women’s businesses.
The second event of OTP that I attended was a seaside watercolour workshop. Tucked away at the 18 Restaurant, thirty students and other St Andrews community members attempted to recreate the beautiful, panoramic views of West Sands and the Old Course while sipping on a signature cocktail from the 18. The workshop invited all skill levels and adopted a laissez-faire approach to providing tips; they provided a sheet with suggestions but, for the most part, left us to our own artistic visions. Having limited art experience, I was nervous to take on watercolours as I know that they are a very unforgiving paint, leaving little to no room for error. However, the atmosphere of the event itself was relaxing and encouraging. The hosts walked around with words of encouragement that kept the struggling artists inspired, motivated, and perhaps gave a false sense of security. As I looked around at my peers’ masterpieces, I could not help but notice that I was very clearly a beginner.
We only had an hour to create a masterpiece, or at least attempt to do so, which I felt was very rushed…especially because many of the attendees arrived late. I would have appreciated a longer workshop so that I could take a bit longer to chat with those around me, sip my cocktail, and paint. Despite this, I still had a wonderful time complete with beautiful views, a refreshing cocktail, and, in my opinion, a valiant effort in painting with watercolours.
Overall, the On the Pebbles festival was a Saturday well spent, even though I was only able to make two of their events. As stated earlier, I was impressed with the Makers Market. Not only were there several items that caught my eye but it was also rewarding being able to support local, small businesses in addition to getting to meet women balancing school work and running a business. If you have the opportunity, I would recommend going to an event or two during their larger 2022 festival, if not for the great experiences but for the cool stickers given out at each event!
Makers’ Market vendors:
That Dough Tho (@ThatDoughTho.uk.usta)
Making for Good (@MakingforGood)
Made by Georgia (@MadebyGeorgia)
Anasu Jewellery (@anasu.uk)
Eva Fexy and Michelle Marsh
Bella Flame (@Blackmoorxart)
Pooja Tanjore (@poojitha.writes)
Bella Nay Tay (@equalisuits)