By Elly Welch
It’s a beautiful March morning when I cross the moor to Upper Carloway where a patchwork of working crofts is bustling with spring activity. It’s easy to
spot Blue Pig’s fairytale door, and light filled studio, where artist-owner Jane Harlington is waiting to meet me.
It may be the smell of freshly-baked rock buns, or the cheerful wall-to-wall art and local crafts…or maybe it’s just Jane’s naturally beaming smile, but arriving here feels instantly uplifting.
“Perfect timing!” says Jane, laying out five beautiful teacups on a patterned oilcloth. “You’ll be able to meet the Blue Piglets – they come once a week, to ‘play’.”
A tinkling of bells and happy hellos confirms that I have not inadvertently tumbled into Wonderland and that these are the ‘Wednesday ladies’ – one of several informal groups that regularly congregate here.
Art materials pour out over the communal table and the teapot is refilled. There is a lot of talking, and a lot of laughing – this is, in a nutshell, the Blue Pig.
It could be said that a new collaboration between artists in the Uists and Germany started with a wheelbarrow – and is now taking the form of an exhibition in Germany.
Back in 2014, Edinburgh-based artist, Hans Clausen, visited Uist as part of a programme entitled Nil By Mouth, which invited artists to explore the topic of food sustainability through residencies and workshops.
Around 15 Uist artists, including Margaret Cowie, were challenged to create a piece of art involving a wheelbarrow. The collection was entitled “So Much Depends Upon…” with the title taken from a William Carlos Williams poem named “The Red Wheelbarrow.”
The project resulted in an exciting trip to Holyrood to display their works. After returning to the islands, an exhibition was held in Nunton Steadings, Benbecula so that locals could also enjoy the work.
By Iain A MacSween
A special exhibition lasting for three weeks will again showcase the best of Uist art this summer.
‘Art on the Map’ is an annual event, run by the Uist Arts Association. Held at Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre, in Lochmaddy, the exhibition officially opens on the evening of Friday June 17, and is on until Saturday July 9. Alongside the exhibition at Taigh Chearsabhagh are special studio events, with participating artists opening their doors to anyone who is interested.
By Eilidh Whiteford
After 22 years in the Western Isles, artist Anthony Barber is still inspired daily by his adopted home.
And with works previously exhibited at the National Gallery for Scotland with the RSW (Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour) and the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy); as well as at the Mall Galleries in London through the RSMA (Royal Society of Marine Artists) and Discerning Eye exhibitions, Anthony is delighted to showcase what he finds so fascinating about island landscapes to a wider audience.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1962, Anthony studied architecture and design in West Yorkshire, pursuing his joy of sketching and painting both in Yorkshire and whilst holidaying in Scotland’s various west coast islands.
His love of islands took over in 1994 with a move to the Isle of Lewis, where he and his wife settled at Port of Ness.
Suzan Visser-Offereins has been painting portraits of people for more than 30 years. She says that from the start at home in The Netherlands: “It was amazing how people opened up and told the story of who they were. Their faces lightened up when telling about their work and lives, their family, what they have loved so much.
“To me it is always a challenge and an honour to try to capture the being of that person.”