Something Different for Christmas

I have the joys of participating in the Dunning Christmas Fair, on Sunday 26th November, so only a couple of weeks away now… so my workshop is chaotic, with half-done flowers on slates in anticipation.

Now in it’s 19th year, this display of hand-made work by a curated selection of local artists is one to behold!  the quality of the work improves year on year, with the mix of artists changing a bit each time.  Many of the artists were part of the In the Garden with Friends exhibition, and indeed, there were some that became friends due to participating in the previous Dunning fairs.

The fair will be open 11.30 until 4pm, Sunday 26th November 2017

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And Up and Running

Draw breath, enjoy life, and relax

That is what I have been up to in the last week since the exhibition opened to great acclaim. The private view was hoochin’, a great turnout, with about 250 guests (guesstimate), and the carpark over-flowed onto the country lanes…

So to share some images of the exhibition, before it all kicked off, and my carefully curated room got peppered by red dots, and gaps in the display due to sales.

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The In the Garden with Friends exhibition is evolving as the first week has gone by, with artist’s bringing in ‘top ups’ of work, which I personally think keeps adding interest!

So we are about half-way through the exhibition, and here are some of the comments received so far:

“The exhibition is well worth a visit. So much local talent deserves plenty of attention from far and wide.”

“So much talent under one roof and reasonable prices for unique pieces of art. Loved my visit and my Ceri White purchases 💖🌻

“Went the other day xxfantastic!!”

“great venue and a great selection of talented people”

Katharine Huggett

Felting, weaving, embroidery…

Katharine Huggett Feltmaker and Fabric Manipulator who lives in Blackford Perthshire. She is married with two grown up kids who have now flown the nest leaving her to further explore the world of fibre

Katharine has spent all her life “playing with textiles” and has tried her hand at many crafts before discovering feltmaking on Orkney which has remained an influence in many of the pieces she has made since. In 2009 Katharine gave up working as a Gymnastics Teacher and Swimming Coach to enable her to spend more time working with textiles. She Teaches workshops in a variety of subjects and her work can be seen at various forth coming events near her home. She contributed a number of the banners in the “Standards of Scottish Heritage” Exhibition which is currently on tour round the UK and well as a number of private commissions.

Embroidery is another one of Katharine’s favoured mediums and in recent years it has increasingly become her focus with her one of a kind items. She produces both large and small items that are totally unique, never to be repeated. The range of materials used in her sometimes quirky items is diverse and sometimes unexpected from coir to cotton and Shetland Wool to Shells.

Very aware of the damage humans do to the planet , Katharine uses reclaimed materials within her work. She can often be seen rummaging through boxes in charity shops and at the Remake Scrap store in Crieff. Her recycling also extends to making her own looms from bed frames!

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Tracy Markey

Felter, dyer and tutor 

As the main focus of Tracy’s work is centred around responding to nature, she was delighted to be asked to participate once more in “In The Garden With Friends”.

Expanding the garden theme to include trees, Tracy’s work has been created especially for this exhibition.  Her birch tree vessels are, in part, inspired by the poem “song trees“ by Morgan Downie and partly in response to the many hours she spends wandering through forests of birch trees.

Preferring to create predominantly with ethically sourced and local fibre Tracy particularly enjoys the transformative nature of the process that occurs when water, soap and movement are applied to individual wool fibres.  In essence, a magical alchemy.

Working out of her dedicated felting workshop in Crieff, Tracy is also the proprietor of Lagom Felt Studio – a fibre and yarn emporium with accompanying art and craft gift gallery.

Interview with Annette Forsyth

1)  Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, my name is Annette Forsyth and I am a landscape and macro photographer.

2) What is your process?

My process for macro and landscape photography can be quite different. A fair bit of my macro photography happens in my garden and I keep a close eye on the particular species I am after, watch the light and pounce when I feel the conditions are right. Same applies when I am doing macro photography in the field. I tend to visit familiar places to check how far the flowers are and keep an eye on the best time to go and photograph them. Flowers don’t hang around for a long time, if you miss them you have to wait for another year.
My landscape photography is a mixture of planned and opportunistic. If I am planning to visit a location for a sunrise for example I will have checked it out at least once before and use tools like the weather forecast, a tide times app and the photographer’s ephemeris to determine where the sun is going to rise etc. Usually I arrive with a picture in mind. But I also equally love being flexible and if the weather presents a different shot I will go for that.
Back home the work continues in Camera Raw and Photoshop. All my images are shot in raw format and need to be developed. Sometimes that is just a few tweaks in Camera Raw and sometimes a lengthy process in Photoshop. My aim is usually to produce an image that reflects my emotional and visual experience in the field. Photoshop is often frowned upon by non-photographers, but is an integral part of the image making process in digital photography.

 

3) If you walked into a shop/gallery and saw your work for the first time as a customer, how would you describe it?

Beautiful and exuding a sense of calm and timelessness. Some people have told me they find my images painterly, that is not something I strive for necessarily, but I do try to capture moods and something of the essence of the places I visit. I try to create images that are a bit more than a mere record of a place and hope that people can connect to them on an emotional level as well.

4) Did you have a ‘non-creative’ life/career before doing what you do now and how did it compare?

In my “former” life I was a Biology, Geography and English (TEFL) teacher. But that is 20 years ago now, although my teaching experience comes in handy on my photography tours and workshops. Since then I have been self-employed and work in our walking tour business apart from being a photographer. I also run a self-catering flat at our house. In many ways it is great to have such a varied work life, however at times you can also feel pulled in many different directions.

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5) Apart from your hands, what is you favourite tool or material to work with?

That would be my camera of course. Depending on the subject I use different lenses, my macro lens is probably my favourite one. Apart from that I also enjoy the crafty side of producing my mounted prints and cards from cutting mounts to sticking and glueing my hand-made cards. One of my least favourite tasks is making sure the glass is spotless and getting rid of dust caught inside when framing up images. Any tips gratefully received 😉

6) Is there a different medium/method of art/craft that you’d like to give a go?

I have dabbled with a number of crafts over the years – calligraphy in my teens and twenties – drawing & painting (though enjoyed the process more than the results) – even upholstery and for a couple of years I was quite into mosaics as well.
At the moment I really enjoy what I do and don’t feel the need or desire to try something else, but that may well come.

7) What visually inspires you?

Nature! Not a surprising or original answer, but it is as simple as that.
I love being out in low light and in moody conditions. Generally I am very drawn to water as it is always changing and provides movement, play of light and reflections. I am also drawn to forests and trees. I grew up with a forest across the road and perhaps that is where my affinity with trees comes from. Forests are quite a challenging environment to photograph in and it is not easy to find clean compositions in what is essentially a pretty chaotic and busy environment.
For my macro photography it is very much flowers that inspire me in all their magnificent shapes, colours and forms.

 

8) What’s your favourite joke or limerick? Feel free to make up your own!

I can never remember jokes or limericks, but my brain is hard-wired to pun and do spoonerisms. I have however learned to keep the spoonerisms to myself (mostly) and won’t bore you here. You should thank me for that!

www.annetteforsyth.co.uk

Photography & walking tours in Scotland , for German speakers

Fiona McKenzie van Baardwijk

1)  Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, my name is Fiona van Baardwijk and I am an artist and tutor.

2) What is your process?

I take photos of the natural world, crop them ( almost always into a square format) and try to recreate what I see, I don’t aim for a particular effect but I try to achieve balance in colour, tone and composition particularly. See photo below.

Whether in oil or pastel, I begin with a contour drawing and introducing tone, then block in colour and finally add texture and detail.

3) If you walked into a shop/gallery and saw your work for the first time as a customer, how would you describe it?

I have had various reactions to my work, depending on whether it is one of my more colourful ones, I have produced some metre square canvasses of flowers in the past and they can be quite overwhelming at close quarters, some of my other tree pieces have provoked a sense of calm. I’m happy if I can convey a sense of peace or joy.

4) Did you have a ‘non-creative’ life/career before doing what you do now and how did it compare?

My last paid job was as a Hearing Aid Audiologist in the private sector, I liked working with people but being able to draw, paint and talk about art all the time has been like breathing in for the first time in a long time.

5) Apart from your hands, what is you favourite tool or material to work with?

I like to work with soft pastels and have some wonderful Unison colours but I also love oil paint and it’s rich sheen. If there was one material I couldn’t live without, it would be charcoal, as it’s so versatile.

6) What visually inspires you?

I find lots of things visually inspiring and get particularly excited by a juxtaposition of colour or texture e.g. Moss on a smooth pebble, rust on metal. I love the process of growth and decay and a lot of my work is about trying to capture transience in the natural world.

8) What’s your favourite joke or limerick? Feel free to make up your own!

I’m sorry I’m hopeless at jokes but I do love a quote, one of my favourites is “Never, never, never give up!” from Winston Churchill.

Interview with The Artists: Gillian Hunt

1)  Who are you and what do you do?
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I am a Photographic Artist i.e. I don’t do weddings, corporate etc rather I take artistic images of flora. To support the starving artist side of me I work alongside my Photographic Artist husband doing printing and framing for ourselves and contracts for other artists. I am also the Membership Secretary of Perthshire Open Studio and work with Fortigall Art on their SocialMedia. On the non creative side we also have a busy holiday cottage 🙂
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More recently I have been approached and signed up by an American Licensing Company. My first License was sold last week and it looks as though I may possibly have another sale in the pipeline.
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2) What is your process?
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My process is twofold. I spend many hours walking around where I live and photographing the flora. I did a four year study of the Rosebay Willow herb and produced a body or work called the Fairy Ballet. I also grow flowers from seeds as I get to build a relationship with them and buy growing plants from our local garden centre. The are all potted up and grown on our first floor decking. We have a wild wildlife area surrounding us and the rabbits, ducks a deer eat any plants I try to grow in the ‘grounds’.
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Each day in Spring Summer and Autumn I study the plants and the light – and when it feels right I spend hours taking images from many different angles with different lenses. I also introduce ‘other elements’ during the shoot to bring in the Enchanted Forest effect which is currently what I am working on. Once the images are taken I then choose the ones to go forward. I then spend many happy hours with my flowers in photoshop and with my drawing tablet. Once I am happy (and like all artists I struggle with ‘when do you stop’) they are printed. This year I am bringing in new elements to the printed work – to highlight the ‘glints’ you would see on the living flowers.
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3) If you walked into a shop/gallery and saw your work for the first time as a customer, how would you describe it?
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I would say my work is different, it has a ‘painted’ feel to it. The images are usually bright and colourful although some are more edgy and they do grab the attention. The images are there to provoke reaction and are not stock shots of flowers. I have had it said to me that I take Macro Flowers to a whole other level!!!
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4) Did you have a ‘non-creative’ life/career before doing what you do now and how did it compare?
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My working career includes working in a library, living and working in a hotel for a year in Scotland in the early 70’s – called the Ardeonaig Hotel. I came back to London after that and started my 15 year long career on the technical side in Broadcast Television. I worked in the edit suites of post production and also with the studios during the productions – I have a few tales to tell about celebrities. What happened in the studio didn’t stay in the studio it made it on to the Christmas tape!!! A tradition across TV. I loved working in TV until the money men got hold of it. I left when I was pregnant with our first child. I ran a children’s clothing company for a while, once both children were toddlers, selling seconds and end of lines at parties and play groups. The I pursued a writing career writing Children’s books and had some success. I also trained as a Reflexologist – practising for eight years..Then we moved to Scotland with the family and I stared my career letting out mine and other people’s holiday cottages. At the same time I did my Relexology. We are still doing renting out our cottage along side our creative careers. I did also train as a counsellor. I have a deep interest in mental and physical health. In the end though the creative side of me won.
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I LOVE what I do now and wouldn’t want to go back to anything I have done in the past.
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5) Apart from your hands, what is you favourite tool or material to work with?
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Obviously my camera. But I love the feel of paper and always work with textured papers. I also work with paint brushes, glitter and now crystals. Plus I love working with wood for my frames and the stains and waxes we mix and apply. I also love my drawing tablet and pen which is key in most of my work!
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6) Is there a different medium/method of art/craft that you’d like to give a go?
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I would love to be able to paint and draw, but despite the fact that I am told everyone can draw – I don’t feel I can.
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7) What visually inspires you?
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I am always drawn to bright colours of nature whether it is Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter. Oddly though when I working on my drawing tablet – I have specific films on in the background and that seems to inspire how my images grow.