Art and design inspired by the Hebrides

When we go to the Highlands and Islands we are focussing on using our cameras to take what we aim to be inspiring images of Scotland. We are equally inspired by the art we see being produced in the locations we visit. Artists come to the west coast of Scotland  for the quality of light, ever-changing weather and the dramatic scenery ( just as we do) and many choose to stay, opening galleries and allowing access to their studio, which is often at their home.

The poor weather we had in Tiree meant we had even more time than normal to tour the artist’s studios.

Here is some of the excellent art we found on the island.

Picture of a girl with long blond hair riding a bicycle with a small dog in a basket on the back and in the background is a white cottage and a rainbow overhead

This is one of our favourites, which we have at home. © Dorinda JOhnson

Dorinda Johnson has a studio in Scarinish Old Harbour, which is also close to the Scarinish Hotel. The Hotel Bar provided a useful retreat when we were hit with one of the many rain storms.

Mhairi has been a fan for years and we have a print of her – Easy Rider – on our wall. This painting sums up what a dream of life on Tiree would be like. No doubt in good weather that is.

Take a look Dorinda’s website.

One of our favourite places on the island was Balemartine. It is a compact village of Tiree’s iconic whitewashed cottages. It is also home to the Blue Beyond Gallery owned by artist couple Colin and Susan Woodcock.

Blue Beyond – fine art and design inspired by the Hebrides – Work.

Coastal scene with white footage on the shore on the right hand side

This is Shoreline by Susan Woodcock. All her images are made from textiles. ©Susan Woodcock.

Colin produces Raku style pottery as well as paintings .  You can find out more on their website.

We also came away with one of Susan Woodcock’s textile images. The one shown here is typical of Tiree.


Mhairi took this shot on an overcast day but it is reminiscent of the increasing popular prints taking the art galleries by storm by Ron Lawson.

Grey sand on an overcast day leads up to five whit cottages on the grassy shoreline with black roofs.

From Gott bay in Tiree these cottages blend into the colour of the sand. © Mhairi Carroll

On a day like this we continued on our tour and ended up at Tyrii Pottery. The old spelling of Tiree is Tirii.

Each piece is decorated by hand, with a large variety of designs inspired by their surroundings. Hares, lobsters, oystercatchers, wagtails, mackerel and seals are just a few of the many Tiree creatures that find their way onto their pots. Some have also found their way into our home.

Blue and green flours in an arrangement of glass welded together

Example of original artwork made from recycled glass by Frances Woodhead. Tiree glass © Frances Woodhead

Perhaps the most surprising gallery we visited because it’s not normally something we would seek is Tiree Glass. Looking at vases is not high on my list but we were stunned to find highly original pieces made from recycled glass ( broken bottles mainly) that perfectly capture the colour and spirit of the Hebrides.

One of the most enjoyable visits was meeting Patricia Sharp in her Gallery in Caoles on the Isle of Tiree. Her cottage looks over the sea to nearby Coll and is filled with lots of her paintings and work in progress. She is a member of the prestigious Glasgow Society of Women Artists and her work is widely displayed in Glasgow galleries. She gave us a guided tour of her different approach to painting landscape, still life and surreal work.

A garden of flowers and a washing line from which a line of onions is hanging.

Onions on the washing line at Balemartine. © Patricia Sharp

Much of what we found can only be seen by visiting the studios on the island. What we found was well worth the visit.

Thank you to the artists of Tiree, you made our visit to the island very enjoyable.




About photographicviewscotland

Photographers of Scotland's landscape and remote places and arts and craft makers. Mhairi is also making needle felted animals under the name of the Woof in the Wool. We live in Abernethy in Perthshire, Scotland.
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