On Sunday my daughter Kirsty (11) and I had an absolutely brilliant day out visiting the Fife Open Studios. We weren't entirely sure that we were doing the right thing as we set off in torrential rain and encountered thick fog around Dundee, but once we crossed over the Tay Bridge into the Kingdom of Fife it did start to brighten up a lot.
We printed a spare (faded out) map off the website and plotted a logical circular route that would take in lots of the venues that interested us the most.
Kirsty was navigator (although I was glad to have the satnav as back up as some of the directions provided in the directory were less than brilliant!).
We managed to visit eleven venues in total - nine that were on our plan and two extras that we came across en route. They ranged from a house on a hill in the middle of nowhere, to a new shop right in the centre of Cupar.
As we visited so many, I won't go into detail about them all - just our two favourite venues which were Stacey Galfskiy and Aileen Clarke.
Stacey works in fused glass and much of her work has a chilli theme. In the garden her mum has a polytunnel containing an incredible array of varieties of chilli. She makes chutneys from her plants and is obviously very passionate about them.
This is Stacey's garden workshop in which she was running glass making workshops, so we just had to have a go!
Kirsty made a bee and I made a cat. Now we just have to wait for them to be sent on to us after Stacey has fired them in her kiln.
Our other favourite venue was (no surprise) textile artist, Aileen Clarke. I have some of her beautiful work in Starfish Studio - only a very little is listed on the website so you'll have to come in to see the rest!
I first heard of Aileen a few years ago when I bought one of her beautiful shimmering landscape pictures for my bedroom. Some time later, when I was getting ready to open Starfish Studio, I got in touch with her to stock her work.
I have wanted an embellisher (felting) machine for a long time, and having now seen Aileen giving a demonstration, I want one even more! Methinks I may have to raid the piggy bank!
Aileen creates the most beautiful pieces through fusing together lovely fibres in gorgeous colours. She was very happy to answer everyone's questions and we were made to feel extremely welcome.
It was a day of periods of extremely heavy rain and then glorious sunshine, which fortunately didn't seem to put people off - almost every venue we visited was busy.
At one point during a torrential downpour we were huddled, along with 6 other people, into Bobbie Coleman's tiny garden shed - too squished together to move or look at the glass work around us! The plus side of the weather was that between the showers there were great views like this.
North East Open Studios but in the meantime I can't wait for the first ever Angus Open Studios which takes place at the end of this month.