Gallery of past work

Thursday, 22 September 2016

North East Open Studios

Before we came south, we spent a lovely day last week visiting our selection from the more than 200 artists from north east Scotland exhibiting in this year's North East Open Studios (NEOS). We restricted ourselves to those local to Banchory and the lower Deeside valley near where we were staying and mostly to those focusing on textiles, print making and ceramics with a basket maker and silversmith thrown in for good measure. As well as the lovely work we saw, we had the great pleasure of talking to the artists and makers about their work. All gave freely and most enthusiastically of their time. It was an excellent day!

Generally though, I was too busy looking and talking to take many photos so I'm sorry to say I have only a small and rather random selection of things seen and of pieces bought.

First of all, we visited the studio at Heckleburn, home of ceramicist Hilary Duncan and base of the group of artists and makers, Heckleburn Quines, The studio was in itself a delight. It was reached up a long winding road through pine and birch woods and was light and airy and bathed in warm autumn sunshine. Courses are occasionally offered here at the studio and I hope to time a visit here next year to coincide with one.

After much browsing through the gallery, I bought one of Hilary Duncan's lovely little jugs, chosen for its simplicity and gentle colour but I could have bought one of a number of other pieces. I also particularly enjoyed her sets of small cylinders (glaze and surface decoration samples?) each with its own unique and most appealing abstract design. These tiny works of art were arranged throughout the exhibition space on shelves, in cabinets and in small groups. 

Next to tempt me was a wicker basket created by maker Helen Jackson. I was taken immediately by the simple tapering shape and the beautifully proportioned leather handle. It was irresistible and was my second purchase of the day, although I have yet to decide what it will hold when I get home. Maybe it will be nothing - it's an object for visual pleasure, after all.

Also showing at Heckleburn was work by textile artist Sarah Pooley. Her machine embroideries and lampshades were beautiful and I was again sorely tempted. However, for now, I didn't buy but include a photo of a piece called 'Machair'. Her work was mostly behind glass and my photos in general were disappointing (as is this one) but the conversation we shared was a great pleasure.  

Next, we went to the Milton Gallery in Crathes, a venue we have visited many times before. We particularly enjoyed the large, almost life size bronze of a girl reading by Ana Ladd ... sadly rather out of our price range!

After a very pleasant light lunch in the restaurant at the Milton Brasserie (and a particularly enjoyable lemon cheesecake!) we then returned to Banchory to see a lovely exhibition of wood block prints by Woodend Engravers. This was a group of makers of very varied experience who clearly helped and encouraged each other and their enthusiasm for their craft was a delight. I bought a selection of small cards printed with some designs I particularly liked, but I seem to have misplaced them and there is no images to be found on the internet. If I find mine next week in a particularly necessary clear up of my work space, I will add them.

Our final stopping place on that day was at the Old Post Office at Bridge of Canny in Inchmarlo. Here we found Beverley Hutton Moore showing her lovely silverware in her small studio. I took no photographs but I include one of two small silver bowls taken from her website, even though the quality is not good.

The next day, we took a trip out to Glen Buchat on Donside in a lovely isolated valley with a rich community of artists. We had visited this venue before during NEOS and felt we should return. We especially enjoyed a series of enamels on copper by Shelagh Boyle entitled Winterfields. I was fascinated by the graphic quality of the images she had created - and of course by the preference for black and white.  

All in all, we have had a wonderful summer with much quality time spent with family but now it's definitely time to settle back into our usual home routine. I feel more than usually starved of an outlet for my creative energies and will be pleased to find my way back. 


  1. Wonderful examples of your art wanderings...I especially love the enamels on copper! Glad you had such a good summer.

    1. Thank you very much, Mary Ann. It was a two lovely days ... and, yes, we liked the enamels on copper too. I now find myself looking at landscapes in a different way, watching out for those same graphic lines.

  2. Hi Margaret, Thanks for showing your travels to art shows ... wish I could have seen them, too ... some great stuff !

    1. Hi Sharron - good to hear from you again. We've had a great summer and these two days were the artistic height for me. As well as seeing lovely art work, it was wonderful to meet such kind, helpful people who were so willing to share their skills and enthusiasms.


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