Doodles in the margin from an artist living and working in the Scottish Borders.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Crossing Borders

Crossing Borders seems to be a fine organisation, and everyone we spoke to yesterday was very positive about it. They publicise and support artists local to the Scottish Borders, such as the Open Studio Art trail that's on this weekend. We had a prowl around on Friday, and it was an eye-opener.

Anne Collin is a jeweller in Swinton, who has a studio that made me frankly envious, produces fantastic jewellery and likes beetles, which is a mark of fine character.

Gill Walton is a painter of portraits and still lives who lives and works near Birgham in a renovated cottage with fantastic views of the countryside. She was encouraging her visitors to make self-portrait heads in clay, which we did and it was fun, and she had a large and interesting collection of wasps. Her studio, I might add, made me frankly envious.

I wanted to see this

but it had sold. The pears on velvet were splendid too, though.

After a quick sandwich on a park bench in Coldstream we had a look at the Craft House gallery, where Tom Davidson made his second appearance in the day. Anne the jeweller had a piece of cut lino above her mantelpiece in her studio which attracted my attention. Showing willows on the Tweed, it had come to the end of its print run and was being thrown out so she bought it. It was eye-catchingly intricate work. The Craft House gallery had some of the original limited series prints, and they are fine work in every sense of the word.

Sunset at Edge of Wood, Tom Davidson.

The colour judgement, draughtsmanship and technical skill are just extraordinary. I mean, just look at it! Tom Davidson has his own gallery (his own gallery! I'm, frankly, envious) in Earlston, which is about a forty-minute drive away, and visitors can apparently gawp at work in progress. We're up for a good gawp one day soon, and as soon as I know more, dear reader, so shall you.

So, bloody hell. It's good to see that there are people living and working and succeeding, and it's very exciting to have gifted practitioners like this right on our doorstep. It's intimidating, too, as I spent all day making comparisons. The answer is to keep going. Practice. Improve.

The very idea of crossing borders was interesting, too, particularly at this time when so many of our teacher friends are facing the last weekend before going back to school. I miss the money, but that's about it. I've crossed the border and I'm not going back.

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