Sunday, 15 September 2013

Robert Stewart - An Argyll Artist

Described as 'one of the foremost British designers of the second half of the 20th century', Robert (Bob) Stewart was a prolific and immensely productive Argyll artist and designer, as well as Head of Textiles and Design at Glasgow School of Art. His work spans textiles, ceramics, graphics, fine art, murals, mosaics and tapestries - his output was extraordinary. 
Stunning 'Raimoult' fabric hanging in the Burgh Hall
fraction of his extraordinarily diverse and beautiful output can be seen at a small but extensive exhibition at the Burgh Hall, Dunoon. Thanks to the hard work of curator Anne E. Ferguson,herself an artist and ex-student of Bob, this visually stunning exhibition has 'come home' to Cowal.  
Cushions made with Ardentinny (left) and Macrahanish (right) Linen Union fabrics
 The show is a treat for the eyes, with many references to Bob's love of his home environment in Cowal and Argyll, especially his striking textiles named after local places such as Kilmun or Glendaruel.
Anne E. Ferguson introduces Jimmy Cosgrove, a colleague and contemporary of
Robert Stewart who opened the exhibition
Small selection of Robert Stewart's ceramics
Running until 30th September you won't be disappointed if you pop in to have a look at one of Argyll's finest artists.
Detail from ceramic mural (1967), once displayed at the Douglas Academy
now needing a home!
More fabrics! (Top & left), Kilmun Linen Union, small 'Sun Man' cushion (right) &
'Striven' (front)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

It wasn't all tea and cakes....

Miss E does Art #1
Admittedly, we did drink a lot of tea and eat a fair amount of cake on our recent Manchester trip. However, we also managed to cram in some 'culture' as well. Top favourite - the Manchester Art Gallery on Quay Street - a cornucopia of new, old, traditional, avant garde, arts, crafts and more. Highlights included lolling about on benches staring at huge Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite paintings and hiding in dimly lit installations giggling - I never said we were connoisseurs!:
This one was big on drama - Alexander von Wagner's 'The Chariot Race'
Miss E does Art #2
Installation - Casten Höller's 'Drawing Game with Radio'
The Gallery of Craft and Design housed in a former Victorian theatre was filled with some truly beautiful stuff. Not only one of the architectural highlights of the Manchester Art Gallery, this gallery has a fantastic collection of over 1,300 objects from ancient pottery to the latest designs in furniture and lighting. 
Miss E admires the exquisite Harold Raby Collection of  English Enamels -
'dainty and pretty, quaint and curious'
The gorgeous Ultra Fraggola Mirror by Ettore Sottsass
Then we shuffled off to the exquisite and atmospheric late Victorian Gothic building that is the John Rylands Library - housing one of the greatest collections of manuscripts and printed works in the world including some of the oldest fragment of the New Testament, the Guttenberg Bibles, most of Caxton's works, the first edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets and more. This extraordinary building, possibly one of the most beautiful libraries ever, has a modern edifice stitched on to its side, providing visitors with a great cafe that serves a huge and rather good cup of tea....I'm sensing a theme here.....
The hushed corridors, John Rylands Library
Secret stairs, ornamental gates
Carved stone dome  - John Rylands Library
Decorative glass in window at the John Rylands Library
Old and new - buildings cleverly 'stitched' together
So, in summary, Manchester was mainly cups of tea, with the occasional cake thrown in and a delicious smattering of culture. We've already booked our next trip - Liverpool in October. Now, anyone know a good teashop?......

Monday, 19 August 2013

Four Go Mad in Manchester!

We arrived by train - it rained, the wind blew, the sun came out, we walked, we gawped, we shopped, we ate cake, we saw Urban Stuff - we had a grand time!

Highlights included a newly kindled love affair with the 'Northern Quarter' - indie, boho, crafty, artisan shops, bars, cafes set amongst semi-derelict, red-bricked buildings. So many, many good things but these two come with the highest recommendations:
Astonishingly fab cakes including the 'Brokeback Battenburg', plus Carrot & Toasted Coconut and White Chocolate & Poppy Seed
Probably the best teashop in the Northern Hemisphere - Teacup on Thomas St - where cakes reign supreme, the tea is heavenly and the service, utterly charming. Cannot recommend this highly enough! Go!! If we lived in Manchester we'd probably live here..
Gorgeous Pistachio & Rosebud Tea flavoured sponge and our slab of amazing White Choc & Poppy Seed cake
 Secondly, the fabulous Junk Shop - vintage clothing shop with a sublime retro style and vibe all of it's own. Browse delicious clothes upcycled from vintage fabrics, vintage and vintage styled jewellery and accessories; you can even enroll in a class to make your own lovely clobber!
Divine dresses, pretty vintage styling everywhere! The Junk Shop - sustainable fashion made in Manchester 
Plus, the amazing Afflecks - couldn't get the kids (or me!) out of this place!
Floors of goth, hippie, biker, Teddy Boy and Girl gear, posters, bespoke jewellery, vintage clothing and footwear - so much fun under one roof, including the best, little hairdressers ever - Miss Effie got her barnet styled beautifully at the Northern Cutter. They don't need my recommendation, they are already legends, but I was impressed at the level of care and attention give to one wee scrap of Argyll Attitude, and her lollipop!
Manchester - we love you, and we'll be back!!
View from the top of the National Football Museum - yes, really!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Glasgow's Va-Va-Vintage Voom!

Now in it's 12th year the Merchant City Festival, once again, provided 5 days of spectacular entertainment in Glasgow’s cultural quarter plus the most fabulous addition of Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway's 'Vintage' Festival

With Glasgow's reputation as a hotbed of vintage inspired designers and crafty vendors, this promised to be a massive treat for the many Glaswegian fans of all things Vintage - it did not disappoint!

One of the amazing 'Customise your Dr. Martens' Team
The vibrant Vintage Market Place brimmed with clothes, accessories plus cool vintage/retro homewares and tea bags to die for:
Gorgeous, customised vintage clothes and accessories from Vi Nouveau

Stunning vintage homewares from Love Me Again - hand stamped silver
spoons + adorable messages = perfect gift for engagements, weddings,
anniversaries, christenings, anything really!
Tea bags, china cups and saucers, all you need for the perfect
'tea for two' - Tea by Lita, how divine!
There were inspiring businesses aplenty, using strong vintage motif/styling/vehicles at their stalls and pitches:
The lovely 'Félicitié' - delivering flowers to your door from one of Glasgow's best beloved
florists, Ruby Flowers
The Gramophone Djs - one of a number of services by vintage event
hire specialists Butler and Taylor
As they say themselves "Trucking good street food" - all sorts of delicious
food served up from an equally delicious wee van, belonging to Loving Food
A proper 'Beauty Salon' where you could be primped, curled and powdered to within an inch of your vintage life, in any era you chose: 
Vintage hairstyling in action - those girls were awesome!
Outside the Vintage Wedding Fair venue sat the ultimate Wedding transport to die for - the most gorgeous Routemaster bus complete with cute clippie and gorgeous blooms!
Too cute - Wedding Transport with that extra va-va-voom! Contact
the Red Bus for further details
It was almost too much to bear  - but bear it we did, rounding off the day with bubblegum ice cream and tired, but happy smiles. 

Miss Bubblegum Ice Cream Face
Can't wait for next year!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Lights, Camera....

...Action, during a fun filled, immensely creative two day Workshop for ARC (Arts and Recreation Club - wonderous Summer School for local kids at Glendaruel Village Hall!). Film and Photography Fun was the order of the day, second year for some of the bright young things, and they threw themselves into it with relish.

By the end of the second day the kids had developed, story-boarded, rehearsed, filmed and edited a thrilling, chilling Zombie Horror (Zombie Glen), whilst a Heist Movie is in the can but still getting it's final edits; there were also a multitude of fantastic and inspiring stills images. Can't wait for year three!

For further information on kid's Workshops please contact me at and to find out more about my work please visit my website at

Argyll, photography, words