The Thistle Centre’s Spider Slide

The Thistle’s Stirling team and Creative Stirling have joined forces to offer children and members of the local community the opportunity to redesign the centre’s wooden Spider Slide.

First introduced to the Thistle’s in the 1980s, the Steve Hoffman sculpture started its life as just that, but after gaining popularity and attention from children visiting the centre, they decided to convert it to a slide.

Since 2014, however, the Spider Slide has been sitting in storage.

“The Spider Slide has become something of an urban legend, they (The Thistle’s) had it and wanted to do something with it, but they wanted it to be centred around the community that has known and loved it for a long time… Bringing the spider out of hibernation has been where we stepped in as Creative Stirling.” Ruth Currie, project manager for Creative Stirling’s ‘Stirling Place Partnership’ told the Scotia Scoop.

The group has created an interactive exhibition space in their 44 King Street ‘Made in Stirling’ store. A collaboration of sorts with the whole Creative Stirling team, as well as Stacey Rolinson, a designer from the University of Stirling, and David Galletly, an illustrator with a studio space at the Creative Stirling hub.

We wanted to tell the spider slide’s story… There is a map of the Thistle’s centre which was configured and brought back to life by a member of the Thistles’ staff who has worked with the centre for years and knew all about how the shopping centre had changed. That has been helpful to track the spider’s journey… It has had a big life for a small spider.

A map of the Thistles Centre featuring spider drawings by David Galletly

As well as working with Thistles staff, Creative Stirling has called out to the local community to submit their own stories and memories of the spider, and its various resting places, via their social media.

The response has been overwhelming, with the initial post now sitting at just under 500 comments, most of which contain stories and anecdotes about the slide.

One lady wrote “I loved it and was on it hundreds of times, as were my kids when they came along. It is a memory all of us Stirling kids share.”

The redesign of the spider is not being put forward by Creative Stirling, but instead members of the public who are coming into the Made In Stirling store.

“We as an organisation believe that being an artist doesn’t need to be one very specific thing, it all comes down to how it looks and how it is designed, either conceptually through the drawings that are there, or whether that becomes the actual design applied to the spider, it helps open up those creative paths for everybody.”

The organisation is also offering the opportunity for the public to decide whether the spider needs a new look.

A poll to help decide the slide’s future

“The biggest debate now is do we re-design the spider slide with one of the great designs submitted by the kids that have come into the store, or do we keep it as is? That is all up for negotiation, we even have a poll in store which is getting really, really close.”

The project’s end goal is to find a new home for the spider, one within the Stirling community.

“We are very keen to hear from people who think that they could give it a home from within their community. We haven’t got any specific intention for where it will go. For a short time, we will keep it here, just so people can see it. It will be moving out of our exhibition space in the next few weeks though.”

The Spider Slide exhibition is open until the end of the month.

Designs submitted by children and visitors to the store