Making art from barrels, part nine


We’re just back from Glasgow where our Barrel Art project has finally launched. In case you’re a new visitor to this site, the brief, in a nutshell, was to take a series of actual whisky barrels and find a way to express the vast lengths of time it takes to actually produce a bottle of Glenfiddich Single Malt.

So here are the final pieces.

As we revealed a week or so ago, the final idea is to use the barrels, or bits of barrel, to explain the ‘jobs’ that each part of the process has to do.

So, for example, the 32 staves of a barrel have to guard the 15 year-old whisky for all that time.


So we simply sand-blasted a suitable sentence out of the inside surface of the charred wooden staves.


For the 12 year-old whisky, we based the piece on a cross-section of a tree trunk.


This became a vast piece, six foot in diameter, using the staves of about six barrels. It weighs about a quarter of a ton.


For the 18 year-old we featured the barrel hoops, re-engineered as an impossible double helix.


The next piece is based on the ‘Angel’s share’. Some blame evaporation for the drop in the level of the liquid over twenty years, others think it’s thirsty angels dropping in for a quick sip. So for this one, we created type out of wood that has been cut away, to symbolise the angel’s share.



As you walk around the piece it says ‘For 21 years we take a share’.

The oldest whisky inspired the simplest design – for thirty years the liquid waits to be decanted. We used the charred insides of a barrel lid for this one, and simply wondered what 30 years of days and nights would look like.



Here are some shots of the pieces on display in Glasgow.



The pieces will be exhibited from today at the Studio Warehouse Gallery in Glasgow until the 27th November.

There’s also extensive coverage of the work and background on the project on the Glenfiddich site.

The Studio Warehouse is at 100 Eastvale Place,
Glasgow G3 8QG, 12 – 5.00 pm (daily), open until 7pm (27th only), admission free.

If you’re interested, the history of the project is tracked in eight previous posts on Thought for the Week. The first recorded the initial distillery visit, the second looked at previous examples of barrel art, the third explored the brief, the fourth recorded early experiments as we waited for barrels, the fifth saw us pulling barrels apart. The sixth revealed some of our first ideas, the seventh showed the approved general idea, and two weeks ago we shared some of the work in progress pictures.

Our thanks to our collaborators on this project, primarily Wesley West and his team for their faultless production, but also The Foundry for type assistance, Kevin Summers for some great shots and of course William Grant and their PR consultancy, Red, for asking us to get involved.