09 June 2015

Hidden Door

I told you yesterday about my time at Spa in the City a few weeks ago, and today I want to tell you about the other part of my amazing day in Edinburgh! Like Spa in the City, Hidden Door was something I'd only heard of a few days previously, but, since I was going to the Grassmarket anyway, I decided to have a look. Hidden Door is an arts festival, where a hidden and disused venue is transformed by artists.
From St Andrews Square, I headed along Princes St then up King's Stables Road, where Hidden Door is held. It was a beautiful day, and along the way I admired the bluebells in the churchyard at St Cuthbert's, had a look at a car boot sale in a multi-storey car park, and, while trying to find my way into the car boot sale, had a browse through a farmers' market. I was still too early for Hidden Door which was opening at 12, so I did what I'd been planning all along, and spent some time in Armstrongs, a wonderful vintage shop. I did try on a purple patterned 70s dress, which looked amazing on, but was a little too tight, I smiled when I saw a turquoise and silver long dress that reminded me of one I had in the 70s, and I swithered over buying a green kimono, but after a whole hour in the shop I left empty-handed.
It was now time to find Hidden Door, and it was well hidden! It was lucky that, just as I was passing, they put out a sign, or I might not have found it at all! This year it is being held in a courtyard and some of the derelict buildings surrounding it, which used to be the council's street-lighting depot, but has apparently been abandoned for decades. I was pretty much blown away by the setting, even before exploring the artworks! There was so much decay and peeling paint, it was my perfect photography venue!
It took me a little while to realise that, even within the venue, it took a little exploring to see the artworks. Basically, any door that was open and didn't say No Entry was somewhere to explore. Inside the buildings were just as excitingly scruffy as their exteriors (although they did seem to be in good order structurally), and every space within was filled with intriguing artworks - if you've ever been to a degree show, think of all the weird and wonderful things you've seen there, this was similar.
The artworks really worked well with the spaces. I particularly loved the hanging paper aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling of one room, which were highlighted by the arches of the room, a space with purple disco lighting and the most amazingly peeling painted ceiling I've ever seen, and a retro caravan sitting in the courtyard. There was also a set of traffic lights in one room, and I wondered if they were left over from when the council used the site. Old stop/go signs were painted and used as signposts to the rooms.
This was also where I paused for lunch before heading back to St Andrews Square. There were a couple of food stalls in the courtyard, and I chose some Japanese pork gyoza (dumplings) from Harajuku Kitchen, which I ate while sitting in the courtyard (there were lots of interesting old chairs, painted crates, and stacked tyres to sit on).

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