By Roz Skinner
For artist Duncan Currie, painting and fishing have always gone hand in hand. Sitting in the peaceful Skye surroundings enables Duncan to charge his creative batteries and find inspiration from the constantly changing landscape.
“It feels like an interaction with nature," Duncan explains. "I lose all sense of time when I am painting and fishing. They are both ways of experiencing a total immersion in the wild environment and natural landscape."
The ever-changing Skye light means that Duncan can paint a scene many times and always produce something different. He says: “Some viewpoints become almost like a project for me, such as the one looking across Loch Slapin to Blaven. Capturing it during different seasons and times of day means the view is familiar, but never the same. Going out to the trout lochs really helps, as I see continuously varying foregrounds and that keeps my work interesting.”
Artist Nigel Grounds has been influenced over time to create vivid, evocative paintings that conjure up the shifting light, incredible landscape, dazzling colour and jagged mountains that make Scotland an artist's paradise.
Above the Isle of Skye Baking Company in Portree, you will find Skyeworks Gallery, a central and expansive creative hub.
Follow the stairs up to the first floor of the old converted woollen mill and you will find a huge, light-filled space showcasing carefully curated arts and crafts, beautiful clothing, hand crafted jewellery and reclaimed oak furniture.
An important part of Skyeworks’ ethos centres on its relationship with artists, and it is eager to celebrate the works of a wide variety of creative people, be it the paintings of a renowned local artist or ceramic work produce by an emerging talent.
By Roz Skinner
What does a Harris Tweed business on the Isle of Skye and the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi have in common? At first glance, nothing at all.
But a deeper look shows that the philosophy behind the Japanese art, which means "golden repair" and consists of mending broken pottery with powdered gold, embraces the breakages. The belief is that the object becomes more beautiful after the repair.
The knowledge that a setback can be turned into something valuable is the inspiration behind Louise White's business, Lou Lou Designs.
Louise explains how she came to form her business, saying: "I was unwell with fibromyalgia. I didn't want to go down the route of benefits, but I wanted to pay my way with a job that didn't soak up all my energy. So, I started making handbags out of Harris Tweed. I still get spells of being really unwell, but I don't have to sit at home and feel sorry for myself. Sometimes, I'm actually grateful – because that illness was the catalyst to doing something amazing and creative that I love. I always try and turn anything negative into a positive."
By Roz Skinner
Something to make you smile, something to give to a friend, something to treat yourself or something to remember your Isle of Skye holiday...
You can find all that and so much more in Tippecanoe, the gift shop and gallery in Wentworth Street, Portree.
Owner Pauline Murray keeps her shop stocked with all manner of souvenirs, gifts, art work, books, greetings cards and ornaments – including a quirky hermit crab called Henry!
Pauline laughs as she describes her crab, saying: "I first got them in stock five or six years ago. When they arrived, an elderly lady wanted to know what on earth they were! But they flew off the shelves! I love to provide a fun range of products that make people smile."