Time to go dotty over Argyll artists

Castleton sculptor Melanie Chimielewska with one of her ocean-inspired pieces

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Fans of creativity are being invited to follow the red dots on the trail of this year’s Artmap Argyll.

Now in its 13th year, there are 30 artists and locations open to visitors over two weekends later this month.

The dates are Friday August 21 to Monday August 24, then the following weekend, both from 10am to 5pm, although visitors are advised to ring ahead to check openings for the last two days.

Because of coronavirus, each space will have its own guidance in place from one-way systems to limits on numbers and visitors are asked to respect those rules to help keep everyone safe.

For the first time, Artmap includes an artist on Tiree – with a virtual show, as they do not want to encourage travel to the island – with others on the trail from as far north as Glencoe to Kilberry in the south.

Numbered red dots guide visitors to the artists’ studios, including gardens and Kilmartin Museum giving the region’s creatives a chance to showcase their work.

There is no pressure to buy, but the opportunity is available, along with the joy of meeting the artist and seeing how the work is made. In many of the studios, visitors will be able to get their hands on and have a go at some of the techniques.

Among those on the trail is experienced weaver Louise Oppenheimer at Kilmichael Glassary, who will open her workshop to callers and has been exhibiting as part of Artmap since it started in 2007.

‘I’m in it for the long haul,’ said Louise. ‘Having visitors is as useful to me as I am to them. It’s great to have fresh eyes look at my work. In this world where speed is of the essence, the slowing down and mindfulness of weaving has lots going for it. If all the world was weaving, it’d be a much happier place. I can’t emphasise that enough.’

Kat Robertson will be found in her mobile Gaia-hut in fellow artist Lizzie Rose’s beautiful garden in Ardfern. For spiritually-driven Kat, it is all about the process of creating art as a form of healing rather than the finished beautiful paintings. Inspired by nature, this will be Kat’s second year on the trail.

Nils Aksnes in Tayvallich makes images using a basic type of pinhole box camera while Melanie Chimielewska in Castleton, Lochgilphead, expresses her love of wild swimming and creatures of the ocean in stone carvings.

To find out more, go to artmapargyll.co.uk