NEOS Diary 2012

‘The North East Open Studios (NEOS) is Scotlands Largest Open Studios event! An award winning, not for profit collective of artists, makers and galleries in the North East of Scotland who open their doors to the public yearly. Founded in 2003 – NEOS has gone from strength to strength making it Scotland’s largest open studios.’

Day 1 Launch Party

Photo Medley of Exhibiting artists, Tracey Johnston and Anne Murray: Ceramics, Painting and Print, Jenny Burgess: Framed Constructed Textiles and Soft Furnishings, Lindsay Johnston: Bespoke Design Silk Scarves and Framed Wall Pieces  and Anne Marquiss: Jewellery and Wall Pieces:






Day 2 Workshop

‘Today was Day 2 of NEOS 2012 and Day 1 of our Colour Workshop with Jenny Burgess. Making our own Colour Wheels & its not as easy as you might think!’

Day 3

Gallery closed as normal but behind the scenes preparing work for our next two workshops.

Day 4

‘Two fantastic Workshops completed today.  Introduction to Monoprint and After School Art Club.  Really great work made at both. Well done everyone!’

Photos of concertina books made by our talented young artists of After School Art Club with our own hand marbled paper covers:



Day 5

‘Its a lovely crisp sunny morning to get out and about and follow the yellow signs in Aberdeen City.  Lots of great artists and venues dotted about in walking distance of each other especially around our little gallery.  Discover Art on your own doorstep, step in and take a look. You’ll be surprised!’

‘Lots of lovely visitors today at the Gallery. Promised to say hello to Levi Bunyan exhibiting at Junction Arts and Adrian Reid exhibiting at Project Slogan! Enjoy the rest of your NEOS tour and thanks for popping in past to say hello! I’m hoping to get out and about sometime this week but I’m not going to get to see everyone I’d like to.

I’m going to say hello instead to:

Art in the Buchat, Oriel Art, Country Frames Gallery, Aberdeen Artists Society, Aubeebop Jewellery, Roy Benzies, Jane Birrell, Nicola Chambury, Cowden Studio and Gallery, Donview Studio/Loovre Gallery, Hilary Duncan, Gay Halley, Hamespun, Elspeth Haston, Carole Herbert, Anne Marquiss, Jane Keenan, Lava Jewellery Design, McAbery Photography, Morag McGee, Meldrum Makers, Open Door Gallery, Emma Pattullo, David and Jane Pettigrew, Jane E Porter, Karan Raitt, Gabrielle Reith, Roderick Scott, The Smart Gallery, Shelagh Swanson, Lorraine Taylor, Philip Thompson, Woodend Barn, Julie Wyness. Hope you’re all having a great NEOS 2012!’

Day 6

First day of Road trip!

This year I planned my route along the beautiful Banffshire coast visiting artists and makers I have long since wanted to meet and catch up with!  On route I stopped over at The Wool Shed at Oyne to stock up on wool for my winter projects.  Touched By Scotland is always a joy to visit and I stopped for lunch at Gadies Restaurant. Delicious!   If you haven’t been I would highly recommend it!  Lots to see and a great range of makers showing their works. Gadies Restaurant is worth a trip using local produce and has a lovely range of locally made foodie treats.

My first visit was to see the lovely Kerstin Gren showing at Durn Hill Farm.  Kerstin makes her unique pottery using natural earth pigments resulting in work that is timeless, ancient and contemporary.  (Catalogue number 101).

‘Natural ochres, materials from the earth together with a mix between Raku and Smoke firing enables me to get the colours I want to achieve.  Influenced by my Scandinavian background, I look for calmness and simplicity in form and decoration.  The result is refined and earthy ceramics.’


Also showing at Durn Hill Farm is the sculptor Alison Simpson.

‘I make art objects and images with handmade and cast paper. I manufacture the paper pulp myself, using reclaimed cotton, linen and paper, occassionally also adding traditional pigments, metal leaf and other materials to the finished work.  I am absorbed by dawns, dusks, ancient places and precious objects, and seek in my work to reflect the concentration and calm these bring me.’

My next visit was to the Portsoy Pottery and caught up with Brian Cook Shand (Catalogue Entry 52)

‘I have been creating pottery at Portsoy Pottery for over 40 years.  I am at my happiest making large scale pieces on the wheel and plan to show a range of work, primarily somestic stoneware pieces at Watergaw Ceramics this year. Some pieces will have been fired in the gas kiln at Watergaw creating subtle differences from my normal ware.’

Brian is showing for NEOS at Watergaw Ceramics at Whitehills.

The view from Portsoy Pottery:

Next stop was Muiryhillock Arts (170).  The Gallery and Workshop features Ceramics by Nic Whitehouse and is open all year.  Also exhibiting are Camille Rust & Susan Connon collectively as Adrift showing beautifully crafted wooden birds and furniture and hand made books.  You can see more work by Adrift at the NEOS Showcase at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Next stop over was to Downies at Whitehills and stocked up on fresh lobster and smoked haddock before heading home.  I’m a big fan of fresh fish especially bought straight from the fish house, or straight out of the creel!

Time to head home and start planning my route for tomorrow.  I have to say a big thank you to Chef Proprietor Craig Wilson at Eat on the Green Restaurant, Udny Green, for his kind hospitality and the great coffee that revived me on the way home.  I’m looking forward to dining there soon.

‘What a fantastic day I’ve had! Big smiley NEOS hello to Kerstin Gren (NEOS Entry 101) and Alison Simpson (230) at Durnhill Farm, Muiryhillock Arts (170), and Brian Cook Shand at Portsoy Pottery. Thanks to Gadie Restaurant at Oyne for a lovely lunch and Downies of Whitehills for the fresh lobster and smoked haddock I bought for my tea! Special thanks to Craig Wilson at Eat On The Green for the coffee that revived me on my way home! Phewww! & thats only my first day of visits! Looking forward to tomorrow!’

Day 7

‘#NEOS_2012 Road Trip Day 2! Tough decision north or south???!!!!! Too many interesting artists to get round in one week!’

‘A day of rainbows along the Buchan coast on the second day of my road trip for #NEOS_2012 @ClaremontG’

‘Another great day on the NEOS trail, back to the beautiful Banffshire coast. A day of rainbows and big sky’s. A big Smiley hello to Karen Howitt. Brian Cook Shand and Fiona Duckett at Watergaw Ceramics and the lovely Pearl Acton at Macduff – I am Soooooo delighted with my new painting! Carried along to Gardenstown, Crovie and Pennan before heading home! Exhausted!’





Day 8

We enjoyed a visit from the very lovely Emma Walker from Craft Scotland.  We were delighted that she made time to visit us on her very busy NEOS visit.  Read more about the very complimentary things she had to say about us on her blog:

Day 9

‘Thank you to everyone who’s visited us over the past week for North East Open Studios 2012. It’s been lovely making new friends and re-aquanting ourselves with some old ones! If you’ve not made it yet we are open tomorrow (Sunday) from 1-5pm while we continue with our Colour Workshop with textile Artist Jenny Burgess. With wonderful home made cakes and speciality teas and coffees to keep you going while you run round the last day of NEOS 2012. Open Sunday 1-5pm.’

Part two of our fanatastic workshop in Colour Theory with Jenny Burgess.  She is definitely naking us see colour in a new light!

Experiments in colour:



‘What a fantastic week of NEOS 2012 at Claremont Gallery. We’d like to say a big heartfelt thank you to everyone who called in by and for all your very positive comments and feedback! No time for us to catch our breath as we are open on Tuesday for business as usual! Our exhibition ‘Inspired by Folk’ continues showing collaborative work made by Anne Murray and Tracey Johnston, along side textile wall pieces by Jenny Burgess, Silk Scarves by Lindsay Johnston and Jewellery by Anne Marquiss. So if you’ve had a busy week looking after your own exhibition for NEOS then please call in past the gallery to say hello and tell us all about it! We’ll swap stories over a fine cuppa and home made cake! Looking forward to seeing you!’


About msmarmalades

Artist, Gallerist, Collector, Traveller and Foodie. Collections of inspirational places and experiences. Thoughts and observations I’ve made on the way!
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