I spent much of last winter wandering the shorelines of Sutherland and the Isle of Harris, learning about the life forms that inhabit the rocky coves, marvelling at the patterns and textures of the sea, sand and shore and absorbing the subtleties of the colours as they change with the movement of the weather conditions. Since then I have been busy translating these experiences and observations into a series of new, large panels on the theme of the sea, all of which will be exhibited at the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, from 20th September until the 5th November 2016. To see a preview of some of the work, please have a look at the Marine gallery. For this exhibition I will be joined by Glasgow mural artist and illustrator Chelsea Frew, who has produced a series of charming studies of the north west coast landscape.
And the year will end with the usual Christmas exhibition of smaller work at the Macphail Centre, Ullapool when, once again, I will be sharing the space with David Young, who makes beautiful organic furniture - small and large - from the windblown trees from his garden on the shores of Lochbroom. This year's title is 'Arbour'.
Farewell Visit to Tanera Mor, Sept 2016
After ten years of taking small groups of adventurers to the delightful little island of Tanera Mor, one of the Summer Isles, the island is changing hands and with that will come the end of an era.
However, I am happy to say that this September, accompanied by artist Chelsea Frew, I will be running one last course on the island - See Sound, Sea Shore - a gentle mix of meandering shoreline walks, dips into poetry, hand-making paper and a few other playful art-related activities which, when combined together, will make for a hand-bound journal full of memories of your visit to this tranquil and utterly natural haven.
There are a few places left so if, over the years, you have been meaning to join me on one of these courses , do try to come along to this final farewell to a wonderful island.
Now available due to last-minute cancellation:
Two bunk room places (Each person has a room to themselves) at £610 each person (all inclusive).
A Sea of Stitches 2017
The 2016 run of workshops started on a high note, with the tremendous success of the Sea of Stitches course, held in Gairloch, Wester Ross, at the end of April. Inspired by the rugged seaside location, the participants produced stunning work. Everyone left tired but happy, carrying a huge bundle of work, and determined to carry on with this expressive form of textile art. To see a selection of the work made, visit the Sea of Stitches web page.
I have had a good number of advance enquiries for 2017 from those who have already seen this year's sea of stitches. So, I have decided to run it twice in 2017, in June and in September, in order to cope with the huge interest.
To find out the exact dates and details, go to the Course Calendar page.
Jan's Studio in Elphin is open to visitors between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm on the following days:
Spring: Every day during April
Summer: Every day during August
Visit the Open Studio / Location page for more details.
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Sounds of the Summer Isles
Mairearad Green, the talented and award-winning musician and composer, is bringing out a new album called "Summer Isles". I am thrilled to tell you that she has used three of my poems, all written during annual retreats on Tanera, as lyrics. The album is mesmerising: each track, in turn, conjours up the history, the wildlife and the spirit of the place. The Summer Isles provided the physical backdrop to Mairearad's childhood on the nearby mainland peninsula of Achiltibuie, and this album displays both the lightness of touch and depth of knowledge only to be found in the work of someone with such a strong sense of place.
If you would like to order a copy of the album, please go to Mairearad's own website.