Photo: Phil Wilkinson
Birch Tree Gallery – a new venue for fine-crafts and prints – has opened its doors in March. The gallery focuses on art works that have roots in nature – whether in materials, inspiration or thematic elements. The birch tree image is very simple, but powerful. The strong visual and tactile quality of its bark embodies many of the same qualities that differentiate fine crafts from other arts - physicality of the art medium, texture, and time to master technical skills to produce the works.
Ann Coomber (stone sculpture) and Susan MacKenzie (collagraph prints) reflect on beauty, mystery and memories of the moments they observed and experienced.
Ann Coomber has a deep interest in First Nation peoples, particularly the intimate relationship they have with the natural world, reflected in their art and artefacts. Ann starts with organic or biological forms and gradually develops them, all while drawing on her own direct, emotional instincts. During this creative process, she digs deep into her own stories, memories and emotions, imbuing the sculpture with meaning and recording her own journey through time and space, both imagined and real.
Suzie MacKenzie studied Fine Art Printmaking as a mature student at Loughborough University before returning to the Scottish Highlands in 2007, where she now lives and works as a professional printmaker. Her journey with collagraph began following training at the Highland Print Studio. Since that time she has continued her exploration of this experimental medium, attending workshops by some leading proponents of the technique.