Helmsdale shortlisted for 2014 Creative Place Award

Welcome the Winter Salon

Claudia – ink and gouache by Angela J Simpson (£85)

I’m beyond delighted that the north east Sutherland village of Helmsdale is on the shortlist for a Creative Place Awards 2014.  I’ve been back for almost two weeks and although it’s all low winter sun and off season there’s loads going on at Timespan, in particular, the Winter Salon which opened on Friday evening.

There’s always a sense of occasion around any opening, but there was something extra special about this one, and I think it’s to do with the fact that people had headed down pitch black straths and glens to support the salon. Mulled wine and art journalist Jan Patience’s four-star rating in the Daily Record were great incentives.

All artists based above the Caledonian Canal were invited to submit to the Salon. The call for works is open to any artist  and that is also the geographic spread of the new Artlands North website which launched on Timespan’s site www.timespan.org.uk in conjunction with the exhibition.

As well as highlighting arts activities in the area, the new website enables artists and makers to share their practice and profile. By clicking on the map, visitors can find detailed information on artists’ studios, public artworks and galleries, and private galleries.

It’s events such as these which harness the community’s creativity that have resulted in Helmsdale’s Creative Place shortlisting which ‘celebrate and recognise the hard work and imagination that contribute to the rich cultural life of a community, as well as its social and economic well-being’.

Running until Christmas Eve, the exhibition offers a contemporary Highland take on the traditional Victorian salon, showcasing works submitted by over 20 artists from across the Highlands & Islands. The only proviso is that works are exhibited in ‘gold’ frames. (In the 1860s, the nearby Strath of Kildonan witnessed a real life gold rush and people still pan for gold to this day).

Says Timespan’s Curatorial Assistant Frances Davis: “The Winter Salon is all about supporting local artists and makers by highlighting the creativity that exists in our northerly location. At any time of year, events such as these bring artists and the community together, but they are even more important in the ‘off-season’ winter months.”

North Sea Moods by Meg Telfer (£300) is made of float glass and was inspired by north east coast waves ‘where there is nothing between you and the horizon’. The glass is bent using a slumping technique which allows the four pieces to stand up.

Artist  Meg Telfer, who drove all the way from the remote crofting and fishing hamlet of Skerray to submit her glass sculpture ‘North Sea Moods’  says that the Winter Salon at Timespan provides local artists with a great opportunity to both exhibit work and meet up.

“I just love where I live, it’s the best place to be from a creative point of view, but in a practical way it’s probably nuts, as getting your work anywhere usually involves a Highland Safari.”

All works at the Winter Salon are for sale at a wide range of prices to suit any budget. Exhibiting artists include Jana Emburey, Hazel Cashmore and Angela J Simpson.  The Salon also features a programme of special events to brighten the darker months in the Far North, including craft workshops for children, carol singing and a silent auction.

If you’re up this way during the next few weeks – come see for yourself or visit the website for news of up and coming events.

The Winter Salon is open to visitors during Timespan’s Winter opening hours: Tuesdays 2 – 4pm, Saturdays & Sundays 12-4. www.timespan.org.uk  T: 014381 8213237 www.timespan.org.uk

Timespan, Dunrobin Street, Helmsdale, Sutherland KW8 6JX

Twilight by Hazel Cashmore (acrylic), an artist who is attracted to the unique  qualities of her Northern  surroundings ‘with its ever changing light which shifts   across  the  natural  environment revealing and  changing the land’.








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