Lovers of arts and crafts will be hitting the highway in September as over 220 of the region’s most gifted creative makers throw open their studio doors to share how they work and to exhibit their creations. Whether you’re crazy about ceramics, passionate about painting, enthusiastic about embroidery, wild about wood or mad about mixed media, there’s no better opportunity to meet the makers and maybe acquire a piece or two.
This year’s North East Open Studios event runs from September 12th to the 21st. You can pick up the directory of exhibitors at many places throughout the region, or go to www.northeastopenstudios.co.uk where you’ll find the online directory and you can plan a custom NEOS trail. Keep an eye out for the bright yellow NEOS boards which signpost the venues.
With so many exhibitors showing their work, it’s impossible to showcase everyone, but here are a few of our favourites from across all media and all parts of the region.
Painting, illustration and printmaking: By far the biggest category, so there’s something to suit lovers of both the traditional and avant-garde. At Charleston, Alyson MacNeil produces detailed wood and linocut prints, while Anita Inverarity has charming folklore illustrations at Newton Dee’s Phoenix Hall.
Out at Moneymusk, David Hawson produces some harmonious landscapes from his railway carriage studio, Stonehaven’s Ragnhild Ericsson draws on her Scandinavian roots and Mike Brown is producing striking modern work in Mintlaw.
Photography: Moodily atmospheric work, landscapes and animal photography are to the fore this year. Dave Bowman is showing at the Grassic Gibbon Centre in Arbuthnott, alongside Eric Swan’s multimedia work, while Scottish Countryside’s images are on show at Delgatie Castle.
Ceramics: There are sixteen ceramicists showing their work this year. Steve Hay produces calm and practical work, showing at Phoenix Hall in Newton Dee, and Lesley McKenzie will be demonstrating her raku work at Frameworks Gallery in Kinellar.
Textiles and glass: Jane Ronie is another maker showing at Newton Dee, with some lovely work in glass, while textile designer Belinda Rose has handwoven goods available at her studio near Banchory. Nearby, you can view Sue Roberts’ quilt in the St Ternan’s Church in Banchory High Street.
Jewellery: Nicole Ferguson’s delicate enamel work and Aubin Stewart’s modern pieces are on show in Bucksburn, while Bumblebead have cute beaded pieces available in Torphins. Lava Jewellery in Peterculter have new work on show, and silversmiths Alan Baillie in Cruden Bay and Charles Smith who is exhibiting with Gaelo in Alford both have some superb work available.
Sculpture and wood: Keith Mellard will be showing his modern stone sculptures at Ruthrieston Circle at Bridge of Dee. Try Methlick if you’re interested in handcrafted furniture, where Richard Johnston is exhibiting.
Group shows: Head out to Donside to catch the show from Art in the Buchat in Glenbuchat Hill. Lots of makers, superb walking country and some rather good home baking. Delgatie Castle near Turriff always hosts an interesting selection. Closer to the city, Inverdon Crafters in Bridge of Don have some superb quilting, embroidery and silver and beaded jewellery available, with demonstrations and the chance to try things out for yourself.
Unusual work: Don’t miss the chance to see how sporrans are created at KLG Deehide in Durris, or the rather cute mosaics from Pretty Rubbish Mosaics at Dess near Aboyne. If you’re heading north, make time to see Shelley Jones’ ethereal knitted shawls, Alison Simpson’s interesting paper sculptures near Banff, and Lin Guitars handmade instruments up in Portsoy.
Wherever you go during NEOS, you’re bound to find something you’ll love.