Monday, 2 May 2016

Art & Design exhibitions

Over the last 4 days Aberdeen has seen the Look Again Festival celebrating its innovative visual art and design projects. I had the opportunity to visit a few features in the city and came home inspired and actually happily surprised about what Aberdeen has to offer creatively.

The Brutalist Playground by recent Turner Prize winners Assemble and artist Simon Terrill was fabulous for children AND adults.

Copy from festival guide; Brutalist Playground

The pop-up mirrored pavilion literally reflected the historical architecture of the Castlegate, celebrating Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Copy from festival guide; Mirrored Pavilion

 Inside the pavilion a few fellow artists (including Anne who I exhibited with during NEOS last year) showcased their beautiful designs.

Copy from festival guide; Look Inside Design Collective

And in one of the empty shops in town Unreal Estate was set up; a conceptual artist-run estate agent showing work of ten Aberdeen artists and designers who have explored the city's archive to produce an alternative take on Union Street. At the entrance you could pick up a leaflet about each of the exhibited artwork (similar to a real estate agent!) and learn more about the building which was the source of inspiration for that artwork. I loved the whole concept and it's so clever to come up with this!

Copy from festival guide; Unreal Estate

One of the Unreal Estate flyers, front page

One of the Unreal Estate flyers, back page

In the weekend we visited Edinburgh and immersed ourselves in the culture there! First we explored the area Stockbridge where we stayed in a fabulous Airbnb apartment. I instantly fell in love with the village-like atmosphere, coffee shops, restaurants, boutique shops and delicious outdoor market which takes place every Sunday. I will have to come back again as two days are really too short!

When we just arrived and enjoyed our tea in one of the nice coffeeshops, we met Tommy, an artist and owner of Saorsa Gallery in Stockbridge. We had a really nice chat (he gave us some recommendations which is always handy!) and visited his gallery the next day. We love his vibrant paintings and unusual technique (painting on the back of frame glass).

We visited the Botanic Gardens where the Ideal Hut Show had just been opened. We just happened to be there at the right time. Really quirky designs!

The Ideal Hut Show sign

Some of the quicky designed huts on display in Botanic Gardens


Some of the quicky designed huts on display in Botanic Gardens

All elements of this hut taken apart

Inside out...

...and outside in

A room of one's own

Funny jokes about architects and engineers on this one

Press release "The Ideal Hut Show"
In Inverleith House we saw British Art Show 8. Unfortunately that was not my cup of tea!

We ended the first day at The Modern Art Gallery where the exhibition of Modern Scottish Women was shown; "This revelatory exhibition of work by Scottish women artists concentrates on painters and sculptors. It covers the period from 1885, when Fra Newbery became Director of Glasgow School of Art, until 1965, the year of Anne Redpath’s death. The eighty years which lay between these events saw an unprecedented number of Scottish women train and practise as artists."

Dorothy Johnstone by artist Anne Finlay, 1920

The next day we went to RSA Annual Exhibition where we saw Home; a large curated exhibition of leading Scottish and invited international architects exploring the theme "home".

RSA Home exhibition (scan from catalogue)

 In the same building there was also the Academicians Gallery and I was in particular blown away by Kate Downie's mixed media work.

"Walking the Dragon I" by Kate Downie

Also printmaker Barbara Rae and painter Janette Kerr had some beautiful work shown.

"Night Beach" by Barbara Rae

"Twisting and Turning" by Janette Kerr

I'm still buzzing after this wonderful weekend away and have already noted down many ideas for my next art projects. I look forward to getting started with some new artistic explorations and putting a few of these into practice the coming months!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Last winter trip of the season

The weekend of the 18th of March we had booked ourselves on one of the ski club (ESTC) meets at Laggan, south of Newtonmore, in The Cabin, one of Edinburgh JMCS huts. It had been quite warm recently so most snow had already disappeared. Well, at least on the east side where we live but The Cairngorms had still plenty!

On Saturday early morning we started at Cairngorm upper car park and skinned up Fiacaill a' Choire Chais. The weather forecast gave us negligible wind but very thick, low cloud. We were hoping that if we got high enough we would be above it. And we were right because when we approached the steep bit of the ridge, we could see the sun appearing. A few steps more and we were witness of a beautiful cloud inversion in the valley.

Skinning up Fiacaill a' Choire Chais through clouds ©Fenfolio2016

Skinning up Fiacaill a' Choire Chais through clouds ©Fenfolio2016

Above cloud inversion ©Fenfolio2016

Skinning up Fiacaill a' Choire Chais in spring weather ©Fenfolio2016

Skinning up the steepest bit of Fiacaill a' Choire Chais  ©Fenfolio2016

After we took in the stunning scenery and soaked up some vitamin D, we headed towards Cairn Lochan, back into the thick cloud. It was constantly changing so it didn't last long until the sun was back again. Initially we planned to skin further to Ben Macdui but most of us preferred to ski down the very appealing slopes here. The snow on our first run back to the saddle at Coire Cais was so good that we did this a few times!

Taking in the views towards Ben Macdui ©Fenfolio2016

Making our way to Cairn Lochan ©Fenfolio2016

Making our way to Cairn Lochan ©Fenfolio2016

View from Cairn Lochan ©Fenfolio2016

Then we skied down Coire Raibert and skinned up the top of Cairngorm, skiing downhill on the groomed slopes back to the carpark. Down here there was not much snow left so we really had to circumnavigate carefully around the heather. Luckily the Fiacaill ridge poma was not open and it still had lots of snow so we had the opportunity to ski down here. Again, the snow quality was fantastic so I went first showing the 9 guys how you really ski, haha!! It was the perfect last run of the season.

On Sunday, we made a walk to A'Mharconaich, one of the mountains along the Drumochter Pass. Although I could still feel my muscles from the day before, it was great to be out again and walking through the snow patches.

It has been a fantastic winter season. Now it's time for other sports like cycling and sea kayaking in hopefully some decent summer weather!

Walking up to A'Mharconaich ©Fenfolio2016

Descending from A'Mharconaich ©Fenfolio2016

Me being happy! ©Fenfolio2016

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Artistic Explorations: Papercutting (1)

Recently I added a new art medium to my palette; papercutting. During a 4-week workshop run by artist Anna Shirron, I have been working on an A1 sized cartridge paper, carefully cutting out sections with a scalpel knife to create a design. Once I figured out that certain sections shouldn't be cut away to keep the design strong, I really enjoyed the meditative process. The technique is very effective, even with simple designs and the results are striking.

For my design I chose various flowers such as cow parsley and teasels, inspired by printmaker artist Angie Lewin.

Angie Lewin print

Angie Lewin print

This is my papercutting (A1 size) with a black paper as background.

Floral papercut with black paper as background

Floral papercut close-up ©Fenfolio2016

Floral papercut close-up ©Fenfolio2016

We had so much fun just taking photos of our artwork and using the light source to create various patterns on the wall! I'm already thinking of using this technique to create a new lampshade at home.

Floral papercut silhouette ©Fenfolio2016

After the workshop we put all our work in front of windows as part of the exhibition at Woodend Barn. This was the trickiest bit of all! It really looks fab and we already received a lot of feedback.

Floral papercut displayed in front of window

Exhibition papercut artwork participants ©Fenfolio2016

Exhibition papercut artwork participants ©Fenfolio2016

Exhibition papercut artwork participants ©Fenfolio2016

Papercut artwork by Elaine Reid ©Fenfolio2016

Papercut artwork by Chloe Wilson ©Fenfolio2016

Papercut artwork by Leslie Stewart©Fenfolio2016

Papercut artwork by Leslie Stewart ©Fenfolio2016

Papercut artwork by Claudia Stumpp ©Fenfolio2016

Papercut artwork by Ellie Rattenbury ©Fenfolio2016