Tuesday, 2 October 2018

North East Open Studios 2018

I can't believe how fast summer went! It has already been more than two months since I last posted an article here. Earlier this year I started to use Instagram where I regularly post photos and videos. It's a more convenient way for me to record my artistic journey and connect with other artists and people who are interested in my work.  You can see the latest feed on the right-hand side of my blog (if you receive blog updates by email you first have to click the title).

It has been a very busy time with a kayak expedition to Greenland (which I hope to write about later this year) and preparations for the yearly North East Open Studios. From 8-16 September I exhibited at the beautiful Phoenix Hall at Newton Dee in Bieldside, Aberdeen, with 10 other artists.

Artists at the Phoenix group

In the run up to NEOS I was asked by the Committee, among a few other artists, to take part in a promotional video which was going to be shared on social media. It was exciting to do but it's so weird to hear yourself talking!

                                                                 Video of me in my studio

                                                          Video of all interviewed artists

I had a wonderful, light space and was able to display my works in the way I wanted. I brought two side tables to display my print sculpture "Betula"and my limited edition artists' book "Woodland" (the original was sold at RSA Open!).

Settling in in my exhibition space

As most visitors like to buy smaller items, I designed and made various notebooks. These proofed to be very popular so soon I will have these available in my Etsy shop!

A selection of my handmade notebooks

I used wooden boxes to display my notebooks and cards

For the event I also made a new artists' book where I used birch bark and some leftover prints.

This print sculpture was another new piece I added to my collection. It is made from two prints (from a laser engraved plate), machine-stitched together and assembled onto a piece of birch branch with three twigs.

"Betula" print sculpture (front)
"Betula" print sculpture (close-up back)

It was an amazing week, where I met so many lovely people. Hearing their feedback about my work was just priceless. I also really enjoyed working together with the other artists and being part of a group. Newton Dee has been a fabulous host for our event and I can't thank them enough for letting us use their space. Even though I was exhausted after 9 days of listening and talking, it's something I definitely want to do again, again....and again!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Kayak & Walk Shetland

Last month we went to Shetland to visit our neighbours/friends who have a holiday house on mainland (Walls). It was about 8 years ago since we last visited the islands. You can read a summary about that here. Obviously I was quite anxious about the ferry crossing after my previous experience so I had been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast and sea state. We were due to leave on the 14th of June but there was a huge storm forecasted that evening so we decided to postpone it to two days later. I'm glad I did because we had a smooth journey.

The Shetland Isles lie 168 km North East from Scottish mainland

On Sunday the 17th of June we arrived in the early hours and met up with Dave and Lucy in their beautiful house in Scarvister.

North Scarvister house

As it was stunning weather Dave, Jaap and me went out for a kayak trip along the coastline from Westerwick to Reawick. Lucy was injured so she took photos of us from land.

Kayak trip Westerwick-Reawick

More detailed map

Jaap and Arctic tern

Stunning linked cave at Westerwick

There was a cave around every corner!

Good conditions to explore every bit of the coastline

Practicing our paddle strokes in narrower bits

The geology there is mindblowing!

Jaap in his element

This rock structure at Clett looks like a bull
Jaap is keeping a safe distance from crashing waves

The cliffs at Reawick are made of sandstone

Dave paddling at Reawick

Lucy had a fantastic bird's eye view of us from land © Lucy Gilbert 2018

Exploring one of the many caves at Westerwick  © Lucy Gilbert 2018

Approaching sea stacks at Sil Wick  © Lucy Gilbert 2018

Another sea stack we could get through! © Lucy Gilbert 2018

Shags on rock
Happy paddlers at Reawick

The next day the weather changed and it got really windy so we went for an exciting coastal walk from Dale of Walls to Sandness.

Route coastal walk Dale of Walls to Sandness

Happy couple

Lucy watching the waves

Beautifully coloured waves

Exhilirating to watch the waves crashing against the cliffs!

Huge surf at Sandness

The third day the wind came from the South West, F4-5, so we decided to paddle on the East side, at Bressay. Lucy had to do work on Noss. It's a very short ferry crossing from Lerwick but you feel like you're miles away from mainland. We left the car at Setter and hoped to circumnavigate the island clockwise. At Bard Head the sea state was such that we decided to return the same way.

Route map of our trip along the East coast of Bressay

Coffee break on the beach of Noss overlooking Bressay

Seal basking in the sun

Add caption

Stunning cloud formation above Noss

Then it got too windy for kayaking so we visited Lerwick, its wonderful Shetland museum and Bonhoga Gallery.

The Viking influences can still be seen in Lerwick
(image manipulated on Iphone)

After a few wonderful days we left our friends and went up to Hamnavoe to stay at Johnnie Notions böd. In Shetland, a Böd was a building used to house fishermen and their gear during the fishing season. Now they offer basic accommodation: http://camping-bods.com/. We booked this place exclusively (it has 4 bunk beds). There is a simple kitchen (cold water), no shower but two toilets and it has a woodburning stove. Just perfect for a few nights, instead of camping in some windy and sometimes wet weather!

Johnnie Notions Böd in Hamnavoe

Johnnie Notions Böd in Hamnavoe

Information about Johnnie Notions

Inside "our " böd

We walked from Hamnavoe to Eshaness to Dore Holm back to Hamnavoe via Tangwick.

Map Eshaness

A wee gang of cute puffins!

Field of cotton grass

Wild orchid

Dore Holm (manipulated on Iphone)

Wave in collapsed cave (manipulated on Iphone)

On our last day we met up with Lucy and Dave again (who stayed over in our böd for 1 night) and did the Fethaland circular walk.

Route circular walk Fethaland

A large rock of quartz had to be investigated upclose

Close-up quartz

Looking towards Isle of Fethaland

Remains of old fishing houses

Skillfully built fishing house

House with a view

After a superb week with some mixed weather it was time to go back home again. It was unfortunate that the moment we got on the ferry the weather looked very stable for the following week and it would have been just perfect for kayaking. Next time we go to Shetland we'll definitely stay longer! We already know a lovely place to stay at...

Goodbye inspiring Shetland, till next time!