North East Open Studios is in full swing again. This year it's on for nine days; starting last Saturday and finishing this Sunday. I always plan my opening times so that I can have a couple of days "off" to go and visit other venues. On Tuesday, I went out and about into the countryside northwest of Aberdeen. Yesterday I went north. It is always fascinating and inspiring to see the work of others - from designer silver jewellery to handmade books, from sculpted wood to miniature oil paintings.
There were beautiful textile pictures, inspired by the natural environment - rock faces, seashores and the sea itself. Inspired by marram grass on a windy day, by the turquoise shimmer of a west coast bay, or the crumbling stones forming part of an ancient building. There were ceramic tiles imprinted with natural objects - leaves, larch fronds and even beech leaves made of clay. There were watercolour scenes of local beauty spots and harbours; of northeast vistas, clifftops and beaches. And other ones of peaceful paths through the woods and great boles of beech trees. And boats made of driftwood, with sails of old maps. Tweed heart bunting and attractive cushion covers. And the venues varied widely too - from a tiny potting shed where bright sticky tape had been put on the rafters, warning you to mind your head, to a portakabin fitted out with great worktop and storage space, to a beautiful conservatory and living room in an artist's own house. There was also a draughty barn, a garage lined with sheets, a purpose-built exhibition space and a working studio with artists making jewellery and mixed media work.
It was lovely to chat with other artists and makers; to compare notes, not only on what they make and how they do it, but also on things like social media and outlets and exhibition spaces. That's what it's all about; a meeting of creative minds, a moving forward, swapping of ideas and plans and ways of doing things. We all learn so much from each other. I always have plans to be more in touch with other NEOS folk throughout the year. Perhaps it will be different this time around; I sense a sea change, and not only with what is happening next week in Scotland.
Apologies for the lack of co-ordination of words and pictures in this post. It has been a busy week; this evening technology has got the better of me. I have been uploading photos to Dropbox, to save on hard disk space. But I could not figure out how to use them in my blog. So instead, I have used some of my shed paintings. I will do better next time. I hope.