Setting up ‘the line and the circle’

North East Open Studios 2013…. is almost here….today was setting up the exhibition! Only one more day until the opening.

20130905-174349.jpgthis is the space i will be exhibiting in, it is huge!

20130905-174507.jpgsomething i thought might take, at most, a couple of hours took four. Setting up a solo show has been a new experience, it has been a long time in the making, starting the collaboration with Catriona in the summer last year and a residency in October 2012 at the Salmon Bothy.


i love that the zulu sail matches the iron oxide paint of the salmon bothy windows20130905-175452.jpg
and my image and illustrations match the NEOS catalogue colours
Finally the hard work of ideas, inspiration, researching, drawing, developing, making, preparing the paper, printing, drying, framing, delivering, hanging, presenting, marketing and exhibiting finally come together


I colori di guardia sanframondi

Im now coming to the end of my residency, time to review and reflect on what I’ve learnt and look forward to taking new skills, ideas and contacts home with me to Scotland.

We sent out the invites, got everything ready and laid out the nibbles and wine and waited until the rainstorm finished…..and everyone appeared! Thank you to all who came along, you made it a fabulous end to a wonderful residency.

Images are taken by clare galloway of Arthouse Guardia



















Painting with stones and metal – part one

View from Matese national park

As a ceramicist I’m interested in the colours in the earth, and when I travel I’m curious about the colour of soils and stones; from the rich reds of South Aberdeenshire, Angus and Perthshire, Scotland to the white soils in the South of England. I always wonder how the land is formed? what gives it its colour? and what makes it change?

Pietraroja – matese massive

When i walked the length of the River Deveron I collected samples of earth and clay, I’ve collected some bedrock soils from recent archaeological digs, soil samples on walks with Helena and Vittorio during this residency and people are now donating samples to me as well (I recently received some clay soil from The USA!)

Collection of soils and stones from Pietraroja.

Eventually when i get a pottery workshop back up and running I’ll explore these materials in the kiln, in slips and glazes. In the meantime, I will explore these stones down a microscope and make them into paints.

Mineral samples ‘painted’ using water.

The colours of Guardia

Brilliant morning walking with Vittorio, our amazing guide of all things natural, he’s been a fantastic help with locating different stone types, interesting soil colours, fresh figs and plums to pick and the most beautiful walks.


Beautiful flowes and plants to dye with from maria pia’s garden last night, she also makes the most fantastic organic bread, mmmmmm chocolate, nuts and orange, mmmmm!


Results from the beetroot wars…..alkali water here in Guardia, needed a little adjustment with some vinegar!


Next thing to look at……the stones collected from our walks with vittorio, i think there are fossils and iron in them, pretty to look at but a bit hard to grind down…..i found some copper oxide on an old drain and charcoal on the gorge walk today…..the iron oxide experimenting is coming on nicely for watercolours and i’ll be preparing the soils and rusted iron for some egg tempera over the next week…


This week i’ll be experimenting, connecting with the community and the Guardia area. Next week I’m looking forward to some collaboration, painting and more exploring with the artists already here and Kim Habers, from Holland, who arrived today, have a look at her work, it is amazing!

Guardia sanframondi, campania, italy

Well, im here and working already!


Although it is difficult when the weather and scenery are so beautiful. Here is my studio for the next couple of weeks….


Ill be sharing this space with two other artists, Helena Wadsley from Canada and an artist from the netherlands who arrives later this week.


The studio and apartments are based in the centuro historico, of guardia sanframondi, 17th century buildings which are being redeveloped into beautiful residencies for artists and travellers from all over the world. Ive had a busy weekend already with pot luck welcome dinner, exhibition opening in the town and three brilliant walks taking in the colours of Guardia. i’ll post updates here as i go along.

Ciao, ciao xx