The contemporary art space Cample Line has been set up amongst the fields and agricultural vistas of Dumfriesshire for three years now. Occupying what was once a set of three single-storey mill workers cottages, before it was knocked through and given a second storey in the Victorian period, it will open for the 2020 season later this month with a somewhat aptly themed exhibition – “Acts for placing woollen and linen” - by the American conceptual artist Helen Mirra, whose strong socio-environmental drive underlies her textile work.

And yet none of the weaving in “Acts” is Mirra's. First shown as “Standard Incomparable” in Pasadena, USA, this 65 piece exhibition of works from 16 countries was the result of an international call in 23 languages for weavers to produce two pieces of work to exacting criteria. “Mirra asked for works the length of the weaver's arm, with seven stripes the width of the weaver's hand, made in natural materials, plant or animal, local to the weaver and in a plain weave in muted colours,” says Cample Line Director, Tina Fiske. “That was the standard. But the fact is that they're also all radically non-standard. They reflect the body of the individual that made them.”

“We've had them on the walls for a few days now in preparation,” says Fiske, “and a lot of staff have said it's like having 65 different people in the room.” This indirect individuality, coming both from size – some of the weavers were children and their pieces are correspondingly tiny – and materials from jute to bison, linen to wool, is also underlined by some weavers' interpretation of the explicit requirement to produce work in a “plain weave”. “One collective incorporated twigs into theirs,” she tells me. “Some have thrown in fancy herringbone or twill, a few impressive weaving techniques.” Fiske laughs. “Sometimes you see the similarities, sometimes the differences.” It is fragile and very human.

Fiske had long followed Mirra's work and first saw “Standard Incomporable” when part of it was shown at London's Large Glass gallery. Fiske contacted Mirra asking to show a selection, filling the American artist in on Cample Line's long history as a mill. “And we got the most interesting reply back. She said she had a proposal for us. She wanted us to show the whole body of work and then “disperse” it for her.” This dispersal was not to paying clients, but to the Earth that it came from – each should be physically walked out of the gallery by specified individuals, and placed where they felt best, laid out on the ground, and left there.

Fiske has a theory. “I think when she got our letter, she looked at a map, saw we were situated in open countryside with farms and a field network for animal grazing. She spotted that we were in the Nith Valley, the foothills, and she read the terrain and saw an opportunity.” All Mirra has asked is that those walking the weavings come back to Cample Line and tell them where they have left their piece, “so we can put a pin in a map.” says Fiske. “Some pieces could have visitors after the fact.”

The roots of the dispersal are in a reference Mirra found “to an Act passed by Charles II, which required the burying of bodies in wool, meaning that everybody on passing had to be shrouded in English woollen, not in their fine Flemish linens!” There was an equivalent Act in Scotland by James VII for burying in “Scots linen”. Combined with her interest in bleachfields, the pre-chemical means of laying out linen in a field close to the mills, pegged to the ground, to bleach in the sun, it seemed the right thing to do with her “temporary” collection.

All 65 weavers were contacted to find out if they were willing for their work to be “dispersed” in this way. All but 5 were, and so these beautiful objects, some as thick as a piece of Arran knitting, some as gossamer thin as cheesecloth, will each, in the final three weeks of the exhibition, be walked out into the surrounding Buccleuch estates and beyond, and laid out to be trampled into the ground by cattle or become part of the Earth. “I feel much better that the weavers were able to have a deciding vote,” laughs Fiske, aware that in some strange way, Cample Line has hastened the demise of these pieces of art But there is a shadow collection, too, Fiske tells me, as each weaver wove their piece twice, sending one to Mirra and one to another weaver. “That's the thing with Helen,” says Fiske. “She's very influenced by a desire to be responsible for the materials she brings in to the world.”

Cample Line, Cample Mill, Cample, nr Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, 01848 331 000, 21 Mar – 15 Jun, Thurs – Sat, 11am – 5pm or by appointment

Don't Miss

Last chance to catch Hardeep Pandhal's Tramway exhibition, "Confessions of a Thug: Pakiveli." It's title and format is based on a piece of 1839 pulp fiction by Philip Meadows Taylor, a sensationalisation of the infamous Thug cult of what British India rulers called "religious murderers". Recently, some have questioned it as a fiction of British colonial making, although this is still disupted. Pakiveli is Pandhal's rap moniker, and this show, supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, explores the idea of identity and how it shifts over time and as a result of conflicting realities.

Confessions of a Thug: Pakiveli, Tramway, 25 Albert Drive, Glasgow, 0845 330 3501, Until 22 Mar, Tues - Fri, 12pm - 5pm; Sat - Sun, 12pm - 6pm

Critic's Choice

Musician Mhairi Hall and painter Beth Robertson Fiddes collaborate at An Lanntair this month on Hall's new album Airs, a combination of synthesizer and nature sounds mingled with Hall's own piano interpretations of historic Scottish and Gaelic airs.

“It was fascinating watching Mhairi,” says Robertson Fiddes, who was invited by Hall to watch her record the new album at Crear in Argyll with the idea that she might create some cover art for it. “It's not something that I've every experienced before or thought about, that actual recording of the music and the different decisions that are made. I'd imagined musicians just go into a studio and press record, but it's complex and selected so carefully. I realized we have similar ways of working, the selection and layering and discarding that happens in my work that nobody ever sees.”

Along with the sound engineer, “who'd never been outside in his life,” jokes Robertson Fiddes, she and Hall stepped out into the Argyll landscape, from beaches to woodlands, to record sounds, even travelling to the artist's own studio (“buckets of paint and brushes and mess!” she says, in contrast to the clean world of the recording studio), recording her ripping paper to make landscape collages. It is embedded, stretched out, in Hall's work. Robertson Fiddes spent the next year and a half painting landscapes to the sound of Hall's “works in progress”, samples of which the composer would send her as she went along. “And it all turned into something beyond just the production of a piece of artwork based on an understanding of a similar place.”

Airs, An Lanntair, Kenneth Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, 01851 708480, 21 Mar - 18 Apri, Mhairi Hall in concert 27 Mar, Mon - Weds, 10am - 6pm, Thurs - Sat, 10am - late, Sun (last of the month), 1.30pm - 5pm