River of Fish project swims up the Dee

A Fish that does not swim
A Fish that does not swim

Mel Shand and Helen Jackson, together with ceramicist Hilary Duncan, have devised a project blending artistic concepts and natural beauty.

“River of Fish” focuses on the life cycle of the salmon and the place this iconic fish has in our river.

Ceramic workshops will take place throughout the spring and summer to create two of the life stages - parr and smolts (two life stages of the salmon) with schools and other community groups.

Large willow fish called whoppers will appear at community venues such as the farmers’ market and members of the public will get the chance to decorate a ceramic scale for a charitable


The showpieces of the River of Fish will be the “Bars of Silver” – a limited edition of adult ceramic fish individually decorated by local artists. Five of the Bars of Silver have already been snapped up by local businesses and individuals for the £500 sponsorship fee.

Owners of the Bars of Silver may keep the finished fish or “catch and release” – donate the artwork back to auction at the end of the project.

The final River of Fish installation will contain more than 150 fish of various sizes and will appear initially at the Banchory Lodge Hotel on the weekend of the Banchory River Festival (June 12-14).

After moving to Woodend Barn with an accompanying exhibition, various Deeside destinations will play host throughout the fishing season until October 8 when the whoppers, as well as any fish which have been donated back will be auctioned. Funds raised will go to the River Dee Trust and Banchory Sports Village. See www.heckleburnquines.co.uk. for more.