still life with asparagus

Adriaen Coorte, Still Life with Asparagus (1697), Rijksmuseum How is your growing season going? After the recent warm spell, our vegetable garden is coming along very nicely now: in addition to reliable potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, leeks and onions, this year we’re trying some experimental beans, and just one variety of tomato. This may sound…

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virtual viewing

Kilbride Bay by me, Tom Barr, from my Light by the Sea exhibition Hello, it’s Tom here. This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s been happening with digital / virtual exhibitions, and I thought I’d spend today’s post talking about some of the ways in which galleries and museums, large and small, have…

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remembering Walter Crane

Walter Crane, The Triumph of Labour (1891) ©The Trustees of the British Museum It was May Day a couple of days ago, an occasion that puts me immediately in mind of this wonderful image . . . Walter Crane, A Garland for May Day (1895) ©The Trustees of the British Museum . . . which…

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a reading week

Eric Ravilious, Cuckmere Haven (1939) Thinking about what I might write about here yesterday, it occurred to me that, despite the fact that reading takes up a fairly large proportion of my time, I’d never used this space all that much to talk about the different books that I enjoy. I think that part of…

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light by the sea

“the times of dreamy quietude, when beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean’s skin” Herman Melville, Moby Dick Hello everyone, it’s Tom here. In today’s post I’m excited to tell you more about my latest body of work, which also comprises my first solo exhibition – Light by the Sea. (Otter Ferry) Like…

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creative making in uncertain times

In January 2019 Kate sent me the first chapter from Wheesht. I settled down with my coffee that Sunday morning to read ‘Don’t Ask’, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks

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Hush

Have you ever visited Cowal? Bound by Loch Fyne on the west and the Firth of Clyde to the east, this peninsula extends, through a rolling landscape of hilly peaks, forestry, and sheltered coves, down to the Kyles of Bute. The minute you turn south of the A83, you realise why the area is often…

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croft, craft, creativity

One of the many things I really like about the communities and cultures of crofting is their distinctive effect on the way people work. What I mean is this: in towns and cities, jobs tend to become more and more specialised, people do what they do within smaller and smaller categories, individual work occurs in…

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working hands

I’ve recently been writing about teaching my left hand to work again following my stroke. Because of this, I’ve been thinking very carefully about braiding hair, and knitting socks, about how it felt, and what it meant to re-instruct my hand (whose memory of habitual movement had been completely lost) in those activities. I’ve also…

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Jane Hunter

Yesterday Tom and I took a drive down the road to West Kilbride. Known as Craft Town Scotland, the thriving main street hosts the studios of talented local artists, designers and craftspeople, such as my friends and compatriots Lillith (Old Maiden Aunt) and Ange (Weftblown). Jane Hunter’s studio is there too, and this was the…

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Helen Robertson

If you’ve read my introduction to The Book of Haps then you’ll already have come across Helen Robertson – a Shetland artist and craftswoman whose work I deeply admire. Working with silver wire and other precious materials, Helen has developed a uniquely thoughtful aesthetic which celebrates, commemorates and reflects upon Shetland’s history and heritage –…

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