Cherie with her dog, Wilma. Photo credit: Nobadphotos
Hello English language learners and friends of Blue Noun Language Hub in Crieff, Scotland.
My eye was recently drawn to an advert on our local Facebook selling site, “Buy your 2022 Abandoned Trolleys Calendar,” it read.
This was something very different from the usual items being offered up for sale.
For our English for Creatives blog series, I got in touch with the seller to find out more…
Abandoned Trolleys Calendars, 2022
Meet Cherie Gilruth, a Perthshire designer and a recent graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art and Design (my former college!).
This is how she describes herself on her website:
The 2022 edition is actually her second Abandoned Trolleys Calendar, after beginning to collect photos of abandoned shopping trolleys during the first Covid Lockdown.
“It’s a calendar made solely of photos of trolleys that have been misplaced. During the first lockdown, I began documenting all the trolleys I came across on my allocated, ‘1 hour daily walk’ on my Instagram stories.
I got lots of engagement from my followers about them, including pictures of their own abandoned trolleys from around the world… people seemed to genuinely love it!
“I decided to make an Instagram page dedicated solely to photos of abandoned trolleys. I made the decision late last year to turn some of these pictures into a calendar and have continued with it this year. “
Cherie made an initial batch of 100 for sale:
“I knocked up an online shop to sell them from and posted the link to my Instagram – 50 went in the first few days”.
Image from Abandoned Trolleys Calendar, photo credit: Innes Gregory
I asked Cherie about the charity that sales of the calendar support.
“I’m supporting The Lighthouse for Perth suicide prevention charity as it does great work in helping those in crisis situations work through feelings of hopelessness.
Mental health support just isn’t well enough equipped for the number of people suffering. It’s charities like The Lighthouse for Perth that bridge the gap between a person needing support and actually receiving it.
I’ve lost my stepbrother, brother in law and my friend to suicide, and had many other people in my life be suicidal, including myself, so a charity like this is invaluable and needs all the support it can get.”
“Mental health support just isn’t well enough equipped for the number of people suffering.
It’s charities like The Lighthouse for Perth that bridge the gap between a person needing support and actually receiving it.“
Cherie Gilruth, 2021
Although it began as a private project during Lockdown, once she dedicated an Instagram page to the project, people started sending pictures from all over the world.
“The images for this year’s calendar are mostly by Edinburgh photographer Colin Lindsay, a man who now has a hobby of photographing abandoned trolleys after seeing last years calendar!
I’m sure he said he’s taken more than 500 images this year! Other images are from other page followers, or myself.”
Image from Abandoned Trolleys Calendar, photo credit: Colin Lindsay
“I have a few product ideas up my sleeve to work on going into the new year, one is to assist wheelchair users in their everyday life.
I’m on my second prototype and the person who is testing it uses it every day, so I think I’m onto something...”
Cherie Gilruth, 2021
Who buys the calendars?
“So far I’ve noticed the people that buy my calendar all have a great sense of humour. I think it suits a Secret Santa gift. One woman told me she sends an obscure calendar to a friend every year – I’ve had a guy buy them for all his staff at work. I think this is just hilarious. I guess my calendar is for these kinds of people! I love it.”
Image from Abandoned Trolleys Calendar, photo credit: Erika Gyoker
Future Planning and Career Paths
Will you do another calendar for 2023?
“I’m unsure if I’ll do next year’s one. Perhaps if there’s demand. It’s a large project and demands a lot of my time. I’ve suggested maybe the photographer Colin can take over.”
Image from Abandoned Trolleys Calendar, photo credit: Ben Tyler and Chris James
Have you got a new design project up your sleeve for next year?
“I’m still working in healthcare at this moment, as we’re in such high demand. I was still doing caring jobs to support myself through art school. Covid hit in my final year, and I had to go right back into full-time hours.”
Covid has really brought all the opportunities crashing down for art graduates – it was tough enough when I graduated. Things are so much more difficult.
“The opportunities that would normally be awarded to a budding new designer just weren’t there. However, I’m working on carving my own path into this field of work now.
I have a few product ideas up my sleeve to work on going into the new year, one is to assist wheelchair users in their everyday life. I’m on my second prototype and the person who is testing it uses it every day, so I think I’m onto something.
Designing for disability was always my intention so 2022 is looking good!
I’m also signed up for a diploma in UX Design starting in February. This looks into the psychology of how people interact with a product. Should be interesting!”
“Our mission is to support artists, and as we grow, create income opportunities for early-career artists and designers.
It’s an exchange, as we need cool stuff happening in our space for our international guests to experience.”
English for Creatives | Creative Collaboration
Well if you even need to launch anything, our language school building has good disabled access. If we can help, just ask.
One thing you might be interested in, I’ve been planning to open our space up and be a regular venue for Perthshire Open Studios.
If things go well (re: Covid), we will have a special immersion week built around the event, taking our language guests on a guided tour of the artist studios to chat with the makers. We usually teach English for Creatives anyway, and go around studios – this week will be studio visits galore! We can fit in 4 a day across the whole of Perthshire.
I am looking for an artist/ creative who could make good use of our language hub space for a pop-up exhibition, as we’ll be using it very little that week.
There’s not a great deal of wall space to hang stuff on, but there would be plenty of surfaces to display products and prototypes – or do a demo or something. It would really match your work and client as we have the disability lift and full disabled access.
It’s still a long way off, but I think we’d have to register as a venue fairly soon.
“That’s certainly something to keep in mind! I’m not sure if I’m close to that myself but I guess it’ll prompt me!”
Have a think about it. Perhaps there’s someone you could split the venue with. In my imagination, you are just taking over the space for a week and using it like a big workshop – but also, it’s an opportunity to sell, so get some products made up to sell too.”
Amazing, thank you!
It’s no problem. Our mission is to support artists, both local and international. As we grow, we create income opportunities for local early-career artists and designers.
It’s an exchange, as we need cool stuff happening in our space for our international guests to experience and learn English with the conversations happening around it.
At Blue Noun we love chatting about all things art and celebrate having excellent, talented people all around us to do it with. We facilitate real cultural and creative exchanges happening, whether it’s in our language learning space – the Blue Noun Hub – or out and about visiting studios and workshops.
We also love showing off the beauty of Perthshire and the food and craft produce that is making it world-famous. Our whisky tastings are legendary!
Our business is also intended to be of benefit to the artist/maker economy of Perthshire. We bring our international creative guests into studios for a genuine exchange of cultures and art-making. Yes it’s an English lesson, but it is so much more! (Plus we pay all our artists and guest speakers for their time)
Come and join us for an English language learning holiday and grab a taste of Perthshire!
Your English Language Challenge
We hope you’ve enjoyed your English Language School talking design as part of our English for Creatives blog series.
We cover a broad range of topics in our blogs – some a lighthearted look at Scotland, others an in-depth look at art and culture. There’s something for every creative!
If you’ve liked this blog, you might want to read our Perthshire Open Studios special:
Use the comment section below to ask the designer a question.
We’ve introduced Cherie and some of her design practice. What question would you ask her if you could meet her?