Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Angus Open Studios - part one

Last weekend was the very first Angus Open Studios so Kirsty and I set off again, map and directory in hand, for a day of exploration.  For anyone not familiar with this part of the world, Angus is the bit between Aberdeenshire and Fife, and we live about 7 miles north of the Angus/ Aberdeenshire border.

This corner of Scotland is so often overlooked and it really shouldn't be.  Visitors tend to go to Edinburgh and/ or Glasgow then travel up the west coast to the Highlands, totally neglecting the east coast from Edinburgh to Inverness.

The area around Lunan Bay is particularly beautiful, with miles of unspoilt countryside and the most amazing sandy beach - and it's only half an hour from here :)

Our first stop on the studios trail was at the amazing Hawkhill Forge in this old church at Lunan.

Colin and Lisa Badger make the most beautiful furniture in wrought iron and glass.  This photo really doesn't do them justice so do take a look at their website.

 Here are some examples of Lisa's other work.

A little further on we visited Redcastle Pottery which was an absolute feast for the eyes!  I have never seen such beautiful, intricate ceramics as these.  Kirsty and I particularly liked these bowls, but couldn't think of anywhere in the house to put one.

The artist, Maralyn Reed Wood, was busily working away on another sea themed creation, and was very happy to chat about her work.  She was very keen to encourage Kirsty's interest in art, and kindly offered to talk to her about it at any time she likes.

As we couldn't figure out a home for a bowl, we had to settle for something much smaller - this ceramic custard cream is amazingly realistic (same size as a real biscuit)!

Just a short distance along the road from the studio are the ruins of Red Castle.  One of the big bonuses about open studios events is that you get to visit places that you never otherwise would get to see.  I've certainly never seen the castle from this side before - and it looks totally different from every angle.  (The sea and golden sands are just off to the right of this photo).

Our next stop was a short drive away at Auchmithie.  I'd heard of the place but never been before.  I was expecting just a couple of houses, but it's actually a very small, coastal village in the most beautiful setting.

This lovely village was the location of  No. 70, a small studio housing quirky jewellery.  We particularly liked the Scrabble jewellery but there were no Ks left for either Kirsty or myself!

From there we continued south to Arbroath to visit ceramicist Fran Marquis and the superb selection of work by various artists that she had on display.  I was really taken with this lovely wee bowl - it has a pottery base (made by Fran) and the sides are made from a coiled leather thong, stitched into place by her basket weaver friend.

At the same venue we spotted this wee troll who reminded us of Hoggle from the film Labyrinth!  We couldn't work out what he/ she was made from - turns out it's an apple!  The apple is carved and then left to dry which is when it adopts its troll-like characteristics!  They are made by Judy Sweet, who also carves amazing figures in bone.  We had to have him, so Hoggle now lives with us!

We also visited venues in Carnoustie, Monifieth and Letham and particularly enjoyed Tessa Mendez's venue Felt Unique, as Kirsty and I both love anything to do with textiles in general and felt in particular.  For some reason I forgot to take any photos after lunch :(


  1. I loved the look of that venue in Auchmithie. Did you see the cute shed down by the shore? Totally missed the whole AOS event. Just another down side of not being a driver. Glad you have a great time :)

  2. Thanks for coming to visit HawkHill Forge & Art Glass' studio, and for your kind words about our work. We had a great event, especially as I met alot of new people, including you!

  3. Thanks for coming to visit No. 70! Sorry I didn't have any K's for you, they're trickier to come by as there's only one in a set. It's great to see pictures from the other venues and I love the story with the apple, it does look very Hoggle-esque. x

  4. Love Hoggle!! What a cool idea! x

  5. really glad you enjoyed AOS . shame you did not make it to forfar-maybe next time?

    Issy Valentine


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