Several artists, photographers and craftspeople from Fraserburgh and the surrounding area are joining forces with like-minded artists from across the North-east in a celebration of local art by opening their homes and studios for people to view their work in the eighth North East Open Studios event which will run from September 10 - 18.
The event which is the largest of it’s kind in Scotland, has expanded as more artists join and its popularity goes from strength to strength, offers the general public the opportunity to see, and in some cases purchase the work of locally-based artists at their studio or one of a fellow artist.
Reports from visitors last year were all positive from both people who spent the whole week touring different areas of the North-east and people viewing their local talent.
A free booklet featuring details about each of the participating artists and example of their work are widely available throughout the area, with 286 entries (170 pages) it makes a very nice coffee table reference book.
The North East Open Studios event covers the whole of the North-east area including St Cyrus, Johnshaven, Aboyne, Ballater, Banff, Portsoy, Turriff, Inverurie, Kenmay, Alford and Aberlour to name but a few.
Locally, from Gardenstown to Strichen, a wide diversity of talent will be show casing their work including some well known full time artists and keen amateurs.
Speaking to the Herald, Pitullie-based photographer, Paul Woodburn, who runs Eastlight Photgraphy at 12 Pitullie, said: “This is my third year of showing at NEOS, both my wife and myself thoroughly enjoy the event, although it is hard work.
“We have a constant stream of visitors, but there is always time for a chat. It is so nice to be able to talk with so many different people about my photographs.
“This year I am showing all my latest work, as well as conventional photographs I am displaying my new “In Colour” process which I have been developing since 2000. This gives me an additional dimension for expression and emotion, adding further individuality to my work.
“My theory on photography is that the photographer should give the viewer a fresh, different or alternative perspective on a subject and that at the time of taking the photograph should have a clear vision of the finished product.”
Pitullie–based artist Isobel Gregory, who will be show-casing her own work and hosting a number of her fellow artists at her studio at 27 Pittulie, told the Herald: “The influence for my paintings are to show local subjects.
“Most of my 3D works are upcycled/recycled and eco-friendly, and my jewellery is unique and individual, some with a Scottish flavour. My Broch Calendar for 2012 will also be on sale during NEOS.
“Sharing the studio with me this year are Helen MacDonald - felt maker, Cara Mitchell, my granddaughter who graduated from Aberdeen College this year, she is a creative photographer and Ethel West – flower artist.”
Cafe Connect in Fraserburgh will display work by Amy Davenport and the work of participants created during a workshop run by her. Amy explained what the public can expect, she said: “I am really looking forward to showing a collection of my traditional pinhole and digital photographic artwork at Fraserburgh Community Web’s new venue Cafe Connect.
“Also incorporated is photography by project members from Cafe Connect and Aberdeenshire Council’s Robertson Road Resource Centre created during workshops I ran in the run up to NEOS.”
Maitland’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant will show case the unusual work of Jill Harrison. Jill, who studied graphics and sculpture at Bradford College in Yorkshire explained how her images are made using the fleeces of sheep.
She said: “My recent works are images made using the fleeces of the small flock of rare breed sheep that we keep on our croft near Fraserburgh. These images have been exhibited at various galleries and other venues in Scotland with some success selling mainly to private collectors.
“The woollen pictures of animals and iconic personalities are made entirely from raw fleece in the beautiful natural colours of the sheep themselves and occasionally dyed to create subtle shades.
“The show that I’m putting on for NEOS. will be on for the whole of September at Maitland’s Store in The Coffee Shop and Restaurant area.”
Fraserburgh Academy students will show their work at Finlayson Street Surgery, commenting on the display, Dr Helen Fowler said: “This working surgery exhibits work by students of Fraserburgh Academy. For the past three years. Staff, patients and members of the public have enjoyed the exhibition of young peoples’ work in the community.”
Meanwhile, out in Rosehearty Christina Maitland’s Rural Frames Workshop/Gallery at Smithyhillock Farm will showcase her paintings and frames.
Explaining her inspiration, she said: “My work is mainly in watercolour, pastel and very occasionally oil. Farm life, the countryside and nearby villages with lovely harbours provide a rich variety of subject matter.
“I am also a picture framer and have a wide range of mouldings to choose from.”
With short taster courses in woodwork, John Cook, of Genius Designing at Boyndlie will be offering hands on experience for visiotors. He said: “We are planning a short taster course on woodwork during this year’s Open Studios event.
“There will be demonstrations in joint design and practical instructions on how to mark out and cut joints. If you plan to get involved in a small project to take away, please contact John on 07521 368 300. If you are interested come along between 10 and 18 September.”