(Above: Mi Casa woodcut print by Stuart Simpson)
I do love it when I go somewhere or see something that gets me all inspired. This weekend and last it’s been NEOS: North East Open Studios. Like other Open Studio events in Scotland, it gives artists, crafters and makers the chance to exhibit from their homes, studios and workshops for one week. A booklet is produced with all the entrants’ details and a wee map and away you go, going in to bothies and garages you’ve driven past many times without knowing the treasures within, and the amazingly talented people everywhere.
Last weekend we saw weaver Belinda Rose (upon mentioning I have acquired a spinning wheel she asked me if I’d joined the UK Spinner’s Guild: erm, I confess not, said wheel is gathering dust in a cupboard) and Jonathan Rose, bespoke furniture maker. We also chatted to the lovely Woodend Wood Engravers, mentored by the quite incredible Hilary Paynter, and met engraver and printmaker Nicola Chambury, who does beautiful nature-inspired trees and woodscapes. It makes me want to rush home and sew, make, design, think. So exciting- creativity is contagious.
Yesterday we ambled up to Monymusk and saw textile artist Ruth Simpson who was exhibiting along with other knitters, felters, jewellers and ceramicists in her lovely studio The Bothy. Downstairs her son Stuart Simpson, was showing his woodcut prints and pyrography, which was incredible, and by far my favourite of our NEOS excursions. His strong images of animals and trees were made all the more striking by the pyrography technique of burning the images into wood. I liked how the animals weren’t anthromorphised at all. They were definitely animals and quite… wild and inscrutable. Like you know that fox is thinking something, or means something- but you’ve no idea what! I bought a badger card which I’m going to frame.
Last stop was basket weaver Helen Jackson, where I had to rein myself in and only bought a teeny tiny basket (beautiful) and enquired about the classes she runs. Because then I can have as many baskets as I like!
All in all a fantastic event, and one I’m tentatively thinking about getting involved in next year… maybe…