East Lothian Visual Artists and Craft Makers Awards – A Retrospective Exhibition (2015 – 2018)

This vibrant selling exhibition in the temporary gallery showcases the work of past recipients of Arts Awards including James Craig Page, Sophie Ferguson, Barbara Rowell, Eleanor Symms, Georgina Bown and Mike Windle.
Saturday 1 December 2018 – Tuesday 8 January 2019

A short film on Vimeo about stone stacking, shot in Dunbar, Scotland. Featuring James Craig Page, Sterling Gregory and Travis Williams. Shot and edited by Glenda Rome is available here:

Graduating from Edinburgh College of Art as a mature student in 2012, award winning artist jeweller, Eleanor Symms, has exhibited in the UK and internationally and has work in a number of public and private collections.

Eleanor’s work derives from a fascination with different types of materials, especially reclaimed plastics, which she finds and scavenges for use in her work. Often, her starting point will be the shape, colour or texture of something she has found; sea-worn plastics from the beach or scraps of waste sheet materials, which would otherwise be discarded.

Aiming to make jewellery which is beautiful, intriguing and sustainable, rather than purely decorative, she wants her work to question the nature of ‘preciousness’ and disposability.

Ash Lagoons Necklace and Brooch on display in the gallery explores the nature of the Ash Lagoons at Levenhall, on the outskirts of Musselburgh, East Lothian. These lagoons are part of an area of reclaimed land, created by pulverised fuel ash, the waste product of the former coal-fired power station along the coast at Cockenzie. I have been intrigued by this site for many years. It has a strange beauty and sense of desolation. It is truly a waste land, scarred and shaped by past industry. Piles of ash have settled, grey and glittering, into miniature mountain ranges, cliffs and ridges and windswept open spaces, once filled with ash and water, are now gradually being reclaimed by nature.  www.eleanorsymms.co.uk

Having first sailed to St Kilda over 30 years ago Michael Windle visited again this summer – taking some contemporary technology to examine that journey (and others) – and exploring some of the many stories surrounding the island.
An important aspect of VR is to allow an audience to see something new. For most people St Kilda will be a place strong in the national consciousness, but somewhere they will never visit. www.porty.net/st-kilda …is a container for narratives, videos and objects, and will grow in shape and content as time goes on.
I spent my early life in various parts of UK, Middle and Far East before studying painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art Dundee. Moving to London in 1987 – my first home was Acme Studios (now the site of Zaha Hadid’s Olympic Aquatic Centre) and then Delfina Studio Trust. Since returning to Scotland I have taught at Edinburgh College of Art.
From the beginning of the 90s with the introduction of PCs in the studio environment my work tended to track the outputs that were currently possible… firstly screen-based works, moving on to print as resolution became higher, interactive pieces (until I realised creating multiple-pathways made the workload impossible for one person), and more recently video. I have a strong sense that my video work is highly idiosyncratic and contains perhaps the same slippery texture as I have explored with oil and canvas previously.

For Georgina Brown being based near the East Lothian coast and the proximity to the sea has formed fascination with sea-going vessels. Submarines have become a focus partly due to their menacing presence, power and because they are purely designed for a function which intrigues me. I have been fascinated by exposing their strengths but also creating a vulnerability, rendering them helpless/defenceless. A background in metal sculpture facilitates an appreciation of engineering and construction of these vast, beautiful beasts. I believe there’s an essential link between printmaking and sculpture, where the physical use of machinery exposes the sense of touch, noise and smell. The work I’ve produced over the last few years is focused on creating monoprints; this drawing style of Monoprinting I’ve developed so I can concentrate on mark making as well as pishing and plating with the ink itself to produce one-off printed pictures. Each individual piece a statement in its own right – some intimidating, some fluid and elegant giving thoughts of silent creations coming up from the depths, mysterious, threatening, strong yet gentle. The VACMA awards enabled Georgina to work some of her imagery into a series of limited edition etchings.

Barbara Rowell is a recent graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, with a BA in Combined Studies, Art and Design. She also has a B.Ed with Visual Arts and over 15 years teaching experience. Her contemporary art practice is developed through experimentation with traditional sustainable processes, such as Japanese woodblock printmaking (Mokuhanga), natural dye pigments, and tapestry weaving. Rowell is interested in the ancient origins of these traditional processes, and the role they once played as the carriers of important social, political and religious information. Rowell works from her studio in Fenton Barns, where she also facilitates group workshops and one to-one mentoring/coaching sessions in printmaking and weaving. She is a member of Visual Arts Scotland, The British Tapestry Group and A-N Network.

The work was developed from my ongoing body of research into the vast volcanic region of Lanzarote. Following a site visit, I worked in Mokuhanga, traditional Japanese Woodblock printing, to produce simplified designs from my ideas and sketches, which were then translated into abstract designs for weaving. The yarns for the project were hand dyed in natural plant based dyes such as indigo, madder and cochineal. The range of deep subtle hues was achieved by multiple dips and cross-processing.
I like the idea that tapestry has a vital contemporary role to emit the energy of peace. I am drawn to the inner space that opens up when I am working, and the positive effects this has on my overall well being.
Creating this space for inner transformation is a key element of my art practice, where the process and the outcome are given equal weighting. I think it is for this reason that I am drawn to slow processes. Alongside the finished tapestry, Caldero Colorado 2018 I have displayed some of the key aspects of the Creative Process Tools and Materials: Mokuhanga woodcut blocks, Japanese Asuza washi, hand dyed yarns.
Blog: www.barbararowellartist.wordpress.com
Website: www.barbara-rowell.co.uk
Facebook: BarbaraRowell/11Artist/

James Craig Page is a self taught artist and curator. Born in Dunbar, he began painting in 1997. Over the last 4 years his attention turned to Land Art and Stone Balancing. In 2016 he created the European Stone Stacking Championships in Dunbar. James, then attended, Llano Earth Art Festival in Texas to work with internationally renowned artists, Michael Grab (Gravity Glue), Sterling Gregory and Tim Anderson. This culminated in him curating a Land Art Exhibition called Art of Balance at Summerhall, Edinburgh in May of this year. Supported by the VACMA awards, the show was awarded best exhibition in the UK by the Guardian.

Land Art, Stone Balancing and any creative interplay with Nature becomes a meditative art form that has endless possibilities. Although this practice may be more ancient than we know, there is a new wave of emerging artists dedicated to exploring and finding the true art in Nature. Amongst them are Michael Grab, Richard Shilling, James Craig Page and Sterling Gregory. These transient artworks reflect a moment in time inspired by the landscape and the natural materials found within.


Sophie Ferguson  works experimentally dyeing weaving and stitching with a range of materials. Initially driven by personal experience her work looks at the objectification, demonising and subjugation of women. She has been developing skills and techniques with natural indigo and madder dye on silk, wool and paper since her graduation from eca in 2015. She is guided by a sensitivity towards textiles and an understanding of how they convey meaning influenced by her experience in theatre, costume design and construction.

Sisters Juxtaposes hard solid structures with soft fluid fabrics, naturally dyed to accentuate nuances of hue. Each piece is a captured moment showing the ephemeral nature of the process.
It is as much about the dye on the fabric as it is about differences, similarities, strength and fragility.