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The Steeple

Just started a two-week residency – supported by Wasps – in the flat and studio at The Steeple, Newburgh, Fife.  Making work about the building itself. An exhibition will follow at the Briggait, Glasgow, in 2018.


Giacomo’s, Dunfermline.

Currently making new work based on the very excellent Giacomo’s – a proper old-school caff that I have been going to for years.  The business changed hands recently and I thought I should get in there quickly and make some work – before there are any changes that might affect the ambience.  I’ve been in a few times to make drawings and shoot video.  Also researching the history of the café and the building that houses it.  Hope to interview customers and staff soon.  IMG_4463.jpg

The Pathfoot Building.

As of 19th September, 2016, I’ll be working as artist in residence at University of Stirling’s Pathfoot Building – a self initiated project made possible by a Creative Scotland grant.  I’ll be there two days a week for six months – making work that focuses on Pathfoot’s modernist architecture in relation to the art collection housed there, the surrounding landscape and the people who use the building.


13th November 2017 update: The show ‘Low-Rise, High-Function’ has been up since 4/9/17 and continues until 15th December.  Book is just about to be published – a selection of drawings.  Not really using this WordPress blog much now, having shifted news items to Instagram and Twitter.  Details of the show are on my site:

Film 1. In and around Pathfoot (4 mins 3 secs).

Film 2. Sarah Bromage’s high jinks (44 secs).

Film 3. Jane Cameron & soul payback (27 secs).

Film 4.  Animation of Bertoia chair (44 secs).

Weekly posts throughout the residency – please scroll down.

Week 29 (w/b 24.4.17).  The final week of the residency.  Sorry to be leaving – it’s been such an excellent experience working here.  What a splendid building.  I spent my last day – Sunday –  videoing Sarah Bromage roller skating through empty corridors – reliving her childhood in pathfoot.Skates.jpg

Week 28 (w/b 17.4.17).  Pathfoot’s deserted rear entrance during the Easter holiday.  BackEntry.jpg

Week 27 (w/b 10.4.17). Roof access ladders.  Black ink brush pen on cartridge.Vert-Homescan6.jpg

Week 26 (w/b 3.4.17).  View from staff room.  My studio centre bottom, behind tree.  View-from-kitchen-.jpg

Week 25 (w/b 27.3.17).  Watercolour of Crush Hall interior with Mary Martin mural.HS3.jpg

Week 24 (w/b 20.3.17).  Diagram of my proposed hanging mobile for above the stairs.Diagram.jpg

Week 23 (w/b 13.3.17).  Hepworth view.  Pentel brush pen on A5 cartridge paper.Heppp.jpg

Week 22 (w/b 6.3.17).  The radiogram that lives in E corridor.radiogram.jpg

Week 21 (w/b 27.2.17).  Original 1967 Pathfoot chair starred in animated film today.Orange.jpg

Week 20 (w/b 20.2.17).    Misty morning Hepworth. Reading week.  Quiet everywhere.Hep.jpg 

Week 19 (w/b 13.2.17).  Paolozzi bronze sculpture ‘Forms on a Bow, No. 2’ (1949).Pao.jpg

Week 18 (w/b 6.2.17).  Stairs flanked by foliage. The first thing I noticed at Pathfoot.Stairfoliage.jpg

Week 17 (w/b 30.1.17).  One of the views from Oscars.Top-view.jpg

Week 16 (w/b 23.1.17).  A Bertoia chair.  Standard Pathfoot office furniture in 1967. Bertoia.jpg

Week 15 (w/b 16.1.17).  The view from the side window of Oscars refectory. HomeScan1.jpg

Week 14 (w/b 9.1.17).  Mysterious stone in the woods behind Pathfoot.Mystery-Stone.jpg

Week 13 (w/b 12.12.16).  The courtyard outside the Art Collection office window.Courtyard.jpg

Week 12 (w/b 5.12.16)The bridge behind C corridor.Bridge.jpg

Week 11 (w/b 28.11.16).  The view that greeted me when I arrived the other morning.IMG_20161123_090139035.jpg

Week 10 (w/b 21.11.16)  Watched a wren hopping amongst the ferns this morning.Wren.jpg

Week 9 (w/b 14.11.16).  Working on various ideas…Blue-Suzy-tee.jpg

Week 8 (w/b 7.11.16).  Post-outdoor sketching session.  Chilly.  Came inside to thaw.IMG_20161107_103933311_HDR.jpg

Week 7 (w/b 31.10.16).  Hepworth aperture.spa272-copy.jpg

Week 6 (w/b 24.10.16).      “There were views all around…spa282-copy.jpg

Week 5 (w/b/ 17.10.16).  Dynamics of tree / building / black painted timber.IMG_20161020_154149729_HDR.jpg

Week 4 (w/b/10.10.16).  1968 article from UoS Archives.IMG_20161011_145829278_HDR.jpg

Week 3 (w/b 3.10.16).  Wavy mowing traces with grey roof strip.IMG_20160922_14.jpg

Week 2 (w/b 26.9.16).  Internal courtyards integrate architecture and landscape.Blog2.jpg

Week 1 (w/b 19.9.16).  1990’s front extension mimics adjoining 1967 architecture.Blog-aaa.jpg

Bonnington Hydro Electric Power Station.

I’ve been interested in this Art Deco hydro electric power station for a while now and recently started making work about it – attracted to its architectural grandeur and position in this lovely rural spot, near the Falls of Clyde at New Lanark – its Art Deco lines, giant interior and the constant humming noise that fills the air around it.  I’m intrigued by the way that many of these power stations have their own private, manicured grounds – which nobody really uses but which just look nice. Bonnington, built in 1926, was the first large scale hydro electric plant in Britain. I’ve begun making weekly visits by train and bike – an adventure in itself – to make drawings, record sound and shoot video of the building and its surroundings.


Bill Day, who lives in the house which is attached to the power station, has this original pamphlet about the Lanark Hydro Electric scheme and kindly allowed me to photograph it.


Bonnington 1 from Ally Wallace on Vimeo.


I joined Glasgow Print Studio last year, having not done any printmaking since about 1983.  It’s been a voyage of experimentation and rediscovery.


A3 linocut on newsprint.IMG1330

A3 screenprint on white paper.IMG__1332

A3 linocut on painted fabric.IMG__1334

Screenprint on coloured card (width A3).IMG__1331

A3 screenprint on white paper.IMG__1475

A3 screenprint on white paper.IMG__1520

A3 screenprint on white paper.IMG__1517

Thistle Foundation, Edinburgh.

I’m working on an architecture related project at the Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, from July 2015 until January 2016.  I go there one day a week and spend most of the time outside – making observational drawings.

Thistle Foundation is a charity supporting people with disabilities and health conditions, originally established in 1944 to provide housing for disabled WW2 veterans.  The houses form an estate – mostly enclosed by a perimeter hedge – which was designed to allow disabled veterans and their families to live together.   Large areas of the estate have remained relatively unchanged since the 1940s.  I am interested in the relationship between the remaining original architecture and the new building developments which are taking place in and around the estate.  I am particularly interested in the area around the bowling green and Robin Chapel, which forms a sort of focal point within the estate.  Until recently, the bowling green had been in use since the 1940s but the Thistle Bowling Club finally disbanded in 2015 and the future of the green is uncertain.

The drawing process will kickstart ideas – through my looking at the buildings and layout of the place in relation to how it is used.  I also have access to the Thistle archive which will help feed into the work.

April, 2016.                                                                                                                Hoping to collate everything soon.  Ideas for permanent works in the new Thistle centre (due to open in June, 2016).  I’m working on a book of drawings and words gathered during the residency.  Also a short film from all the video footage that I’ve gathered.  And these engraved tiles (Photoshop visualisations below).  A4 size, 7mm thick, plaster resin panels with drawings laser cut into them.  The drawings are from a small notebook that I sketched in whilst exploring the areas immediately around Thistle during my residency – particularly the semi wasteland of Greendykes.  I was interested in Thistle’s perimeter hedge and how it created a feeling of the estate as being a safe haven within it.  I also thought about the historical relationship between the Thistle estate and the nearby housing schemes, many of which have since been demolished.  As the areas around Thistle are currently being redeveloped, I hope that my drawings will be a reminder of the history of those surrounding areas and of the houses and communities that were formerly there.  The tiles are a reference to the inscribed stone panels which adorn many of the Thistle houses.  They also look a bit like foundation stones – for a new building.

Looking across Greendykes, from a point near Matthew Street.1. Greendykes wasteland view from nr Matthew St

View along Greendykes Road, showing Thistle’s perimeter hedge.2. Thistle hedge, Greendykes Rd

Remains of defunct electricity box in Greendykes, in overgrown land near Tudsberry Avenue.Old electricity box in Greendykes wasteland nr Tudsbery Ave

Below – Various views from the Chapel tower.  ipad.Green_Lines_2.12.15-copyHouse_Details_2.12.15-copyPaths_2.12.15-copyChimney_2.12.15-copyBelow – Various architectural studies.  Pen in A6 sketch pad. 4_11_a4_11_b4_11_c4_11_d4_11_e4_11_f11_11_a11_11_b11_11_c11th November, 2015.  Apple tree behind Wighton House.IMG_20151111_121735749Below – More studies of old and new buildings.  Coloured pencil on A4 paper.Col-Pencil1Col-Pencil2Col-Pencil3Col-Pencil4Various views.  Felt tip pen on A4 coloured paper.PinkRedPurpleDk BlueL BlueBrownCream

A walk from Chapel Court to Harewood Road – stopping every 90 paces to sketch.F90-P-1F90-P-2F90-P-3From enclosed, post-war estate… F90-P-4F90-P-5to site of vanished 1930s council housing scheme… F90-P-6 F90-P-7F90-P-8to reconfigured 1930s school building and 21st century flat blocks.F90-P-9

The hedge runs around the perimeter of the estate.Hedge

Bowling green, no longer in use but still regularly mown.  Various views – ipad.Green_9.10.15B.G._hedge_29.9.15Bowl_view_10.9.15Green_view_10.9.15_More bowling green views – Felt tip pen on A4 cartridge paper.10.9.15_410.9.15_5While I was sketching, Ann from no. 8 made me a cup of coffee and gave me a KitKat.10.9.15_110.9.15_3I chatted with Davy the Gardener, who let me film him mowing the bowling green.10.9.15_2Guided tour from Tam the caretaker- looking at how the estate boundary has changed in recent years.  The hedge, which used to completely encircle the place, is still there but has been partly replaced by new housing.  Drawings of Wighton House (below).Wighton2_30.9.15Wighton_30. (Below)  Studies of the Thistle buildings.  Felt tip pen on A4 paper.5.8.15_15.8.15_25.8.15_35.8.15_426.8.15_126.8.15_226.8.15 (Below) More aerial studies of houses and covered walkway, as seen from high up in the Robin Chapel tower, done on the ipad. Crescent_26.8.15Walkway_26.8.1511_QW_26.8.1511_Queen's_Walk_26.8.1510_QW_Porch_26.8.1519.8.15  (Below)  Study of a house in Queen’s Walk.  ipad drawing.  I’ve been doing a lot of aerial perspective drawings from the Chapel tower.  It’s a good vantage point.  Fence_19.8.15

12.8.15  (Below)  Detail of covered walkway, as seen from the Robin Chapel tower.  ipad drawing.  The covered walkways were an integral part of the original 1940’s layout and, until recently, snaked their way all over the estate, allowing people to travel around under a sprawling shelter.  For various reasons, most of the covered walkways had to be removed recently.12.8.15a

12.8.15 (Below)  Aerial study of a porch.  ipad drawing.Porch_12.8.15b

Photographs and plans from Thistle Foundation archive.IMG_20150723_143952248IMG_20150723_133420835IMG_20150723_145101544IMG_20150723_144442707

Photographs by Ally Wallace – 30/7/15.IMG_20150730_133940671IMG_20150730_134317562IMG_20150730_133956357IMG_20150730_145654219IMG_20150730_155607638

The first day of drawing – 30/7/15.PicMix

Art / Science Collaboration

From 1/9/14 until 30/6/15 I was Leverhulme artist in residence at Glasgow University’s Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology (MCSB), working in collaboration with staff in the Plant Science group in the Bower Building, principally with molecular biologist Dr. Allan James and biochemist Prof. Hugh Nimmo.  This 10-month residency will be followed by an exhibition of the resultant work in the University’s Memorial Chapel, from 25/9/15 – 6/11/15. The project aim has been to make art in response to the laboratory environment, focusing in particular on the research carried out by Allan, a Research Associate in Hugh’s group.  The Plant Science group uses several different approaches to study the plant circadian clock, particularly the ways in which variations in temperature and light influence the clock and hence plant behaviour.  The work to be exhibited will be an interpretion of the scientific process and scientific creativity, from ideas developed through collaboration with MCSB staff.

The project has been funded by an Artist-in-Residence Grant from the Leverhulme Trust.

Dr. Allan James keeps a blog of his thoughts on laboratory life at: and his It’s About Time collaborative project here:


IMG_1095-copyIMG_1022-copyIMG_1027-copyThe show has been successful in spreading the word about the project and in conveying what it is that I’ve got to say about the experience of making art about the lab and observing the way that scientists work.  Lots of interesting feedback from visitors either connected with art or with science or neither.  The good thing about the Chapel is the broad range of people that pass through it for various reasons such as concerts, talks, weddings etc or to worship or just look at the architecture – so all those different types of people have seen the show, which is a great result!

Week 44 (w/b 29.6.15).  Scroll down for earlier posts.

Residency completed – now to sort through all the work that I’ve gathered during the past 10 months and prepare it for the exhibition in September.

Week 43 (w/b 22.6.15).

Diluting_Triton copy


Week 42 (w/b 15.6.15). Preparing_a_QPCR_plate. copy 2 Week 41 (w/b 8.6.15). Blot development. DevBlotGroup Week 40 (w/b 1.6.15). Microwave oven, for heating molecular biology reagents. Microwave Week 39 (w/b 25.5.15). “The plants are what is interesting….”. Dry_ArabaMan Week 38 (w/b 18.5.15). DkRmCombo Week 37 (w/b 11.5.15). Flower pot. Flower Pot2 Flower Pot multi Week 36 (w/b 4.5.15). A drawing of a razor blade cover, from Allan’s workbench, done on the ipad. Razor_blade_cover copy copy Developed thus…… YelPnk ….and then into something else.  I’m interested in the concept of these repeat experiments that scientists do where a set of similar things are subjected to particular conditions to see if one of the things will do something different from the rest (please excuse the jargon). MultiBlade Week 35 (w/b 27.4.15). Repeat experiment using drawing of mystery object from lab bench. MultiTest copy Week 34 (w/b 20.4.15). Recent lab epiphany for Allan.  Results from in vitro transcribed clock RNA experiment.  I’ve altered the gel images in photoshop.  Ideas for screen prints. Double copy Double copy 2 Week 33 (w/b 13.4.15). A drawing of a water bath float – done on the ipad. BioLabs Week 32 (w/b 6.4.15). Words by Dr. Allan James – photoshopped by me. Exon Skip group Week 31 (w/b 30.3.15). IMG_20150331_092057293After seeing an item about my project in the MVLS Newsletter, Alli Jackson, Research and Communications Manager at Glasgow Polyomics, invited me to visit her workplace at the University’s Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre to have a guided tour – which I did on Tuesday and found very interesting.  They are a research facility in MVLS that generates and analyses biological samples on a massive scale – using ‘omics technologies – they look at the profiles of different types of molecules in a system – e.g. all the proteins bacteria produces, perhaps comparing things like when they are under stress to normal conditions. Or looking at what happens to the metabolites in your blood after you eat a fatty meal compared to a healthy meal. Or looking to see if you have a gene that is being produced above normal levels, that might confer susceptibility to a disease. They do a lot of public engagement events and were on TV last week.  Their website is here: Week 30 (w/b 23.3.15). Four of the 15 posters produced and given to me by Dr Stuart Sullivan, advertising a series of talks that he organised in the Bower Building.  I like the titles and choice of images.  I’m thinking of doing some watercolours of these. Seminar 12-12-14 copySeminar 13-2-15 copy Seminar 15-7-14 copySeminar 31-1-14 Week 29 (w/b 16.3.15). Felt tip pen drawings on A3 coloured paper, of objects from a work bench in the Bond Laboratory. Composite Composite2 Week 28 (w/b 9.3.15). Drawings of details of two big plastic DNA models in Marshall Stark’s office, done on the ipad. Marshall Model 2 Marshall Model 1 copy copy Week 27 (w/b 2.3.15). The University Chapel Gallery.  This is where I’ll have an exhibition of the work produced during the residency – in September, 2015.  It’s a wonderful space and isn’t at all the kind of environment that I’d originally envisaged showing the outcome of an art/science project but I’m getting into the idea of it potentially being slightly bizarre – but in a good way. IMG_0423 Week 26 (w/b 23.2.15). An ipad drawing of a Petri dish, before and after shifting the layers around. Petri_dish copy copy Petri_dish Week 25 (w/b 16.2.15). Meet Ken.  He’s wearing my old trainers. IMG_0380 Week 24 (w/b 9.2.15). Ernst Haeckel – Kunstformen der Natur.  Works based on microscopic botanical images (1899 -1904).  Passed on to me by Dr. Jan Petersen, one of the Bower Building scientists with whom I am collaborating. Ernst Haeckel Week 23 (w/b 2.2.15). ipad drawing of Sartorius.  That’s the name stamped on this piece of lab equipment.  It’s for weighing stuff and it’s called a ‘balance’. Sartorius Week 22 (w/b 26.1.15). An ipad drawing of loom bands found on Allan’s workbench and belonging to his daughter.  He’s brought in a pile of them and is planning on using them to make a model to illustrate science ideas.  My drawing has ended up looking a bit like a face – unintentionally. Faceloops Week 21 (w/b 19.1.15). Useful low-tech apparatus in Eirini Kaiserli’s lab.  Boxes for putting plants in to see how they react to coloured light. IMG_0271  IMG_0272 Week 20 (w/b 12.1.15). A drawing of a pipette – done on the ipad. Pipette copy Week 19 (w/b 5.1.15). Allan is building a kinetic sculpture in the lab.  I’ve been helping out. KineticSculpKineticSclp Week 18 (w/b 29.12.14). These twelve coloured drawings were done by four of the scientists in the Bower Building after I’d given them each a pad and black pen, with instructions to draw objects in and around the workplace.  I’ve added colour to help identify who did what.   Red: Prof John Christie.  Purple: Dr Allan James.  Blue: Prof Hugh Nimmo.  Green: Dr Jill Nimmo. 12mix Week 17 (w/b 22.12.14). A selection of lab photos by scientists Prof John Christie, Dr Allan James, Prof Hugh Nimmo, Dr Jill Nimmo and Prof Marshall Stark.  I asked each person to take photos of objects in and around the workplace. 9photos Week 16 (w/b 15.12.14). Different stages of my drawing development for mini monitor animated sequence. Layr1 Week 15 (w/b 8.12.14). Prof. Hugh Nimmo & ELP 2nd album, Tarkus.         Movement study. Tarkus Movement thing Week 14 (w/b 1.12.14). Blue experiment.    intron2consensus RNAfold Blukote copy copyintron2consensus RNAfold Week 13 (w/b 24.11.14). Wobbly drawings of forceps done on ipad, for animation purposes. Forceps3 Forceps2 Forceps Week 12 (w/b 17.11.14). Electro blotting tank (blotter).     B&W experiment Blotter Persl1 Week 11 (w/b 10.11.14). Vacuum press gauge in Marshall Stark’s office.       Mitchell in the lab. 20141112_110305  Mitchell Week 10 (w/b 3.11.14). Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi growing in the greenhouse on roof of the Boyd Orr Building. IMG_0121 IMG_0125 copy Week 9 (w/b 27.10.14). Practical session.  Seating disarray. Chairs copy copy Week 8 (w/b 20.10.14). Coat tattoos using dye from the lab. 20141021_145650 copy  20141021_145650 copy Week 7 (w/b 13.10.14). Lab coat possibilities. Coatwee  Colcoat copy Week 6 (w/b 6.10.14). Campus wildflowers.                                   Machine that rocks things. 20140926_094717  Rockr  Week 5 (w/b 29.9.14). Interesting article in PNAS: 13245.full Week 4 (w/b 22.9.14). Making card sculptures for putting on the tables in various common rooms, to help publicise the project. 20140925_10373820140925_152336 Week 3  (w/b 15.9.14). Allan’s lab work this morning – aliquotting master mixes for PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction).  PCR – described as one of the monumental scientific techniques of the twentieth century, invented in 1983 by Dr. Kary Mullis Painting 33                  Micro2 Week 2  (w/b 8.9.14).    Over at the Gregory Building, Allan did some work on crossing a mutant Arabidopsis plant with a fluorescent one – a highly delicate job which involves stripping back one and dabbing its flower with the other. 20140912_103303                Far check Below – I watched Arabidopsis plants being sprayed with a substance which makes them fluorescent in the dark.  They are then photographed by a very sensitive camera in total black-out conditions, showing how some of the plants glow more than others.  The camera is so light sensitive that some of the pictures it produced actually show tiny cosmic rays darting about. D3b2Allan1Luc1min Week 1  (w/b 1.9.14). Here’s an interesting article by science writer Robert Frederick, passed on to me by Hugh.  It’s about an art/science project by scientist-turned-artist Edward Tufte   12571.full fromHughSept14  In the opening sentence there’s a line that I like – “…seeing without the use of words”.  Edward Tufte is an interesting artist: Below – Mugshots taken in the staff kitchen.  Lots of science logos, unsurprisingly. Day2 Mug1 Day1 Mug12 Day1 Mug11 Day1 Mug8 Day1 Mug4 Day1 Mug3 Day1 Mug2 Day1 Mug1  Day1-Mug6-copy Below – drawings of Allan placing 900 seedlings, one at a time, on agar in preparation for students starting in three weeks’ time.  The seeds are Arabidopsis – a common weed that can be found, for example, in the cracks between paving slabs.  Arabidopsis is a very good indicator for helping to understand how plants, in general, react to changes in temperature.  The scribbly words are the names of Arabidopsis seeds from different parts of the world. D2sda D2sdb D2sdc D2sdd D2sde D2sdf D2sdg Below – photo of complementary bottle opener keyring which came with a package of science equipment delivered to the lab. Day1 Keyring