Monday, 24 September 2012

My NEOS Tour - Day 4

 Have you seen Day 1 and Day 2 and Day 3?

One of the best things about NEOS is travelling around the countryside en route to the venues. These last few days have been so nice and it's reminded me how absolutely beautiful the area I live in is!


Today I was catching up with places I hadn't managed to fit in the last few days and Aberdeen Waldorf School is one I hadn't been to last year but had a number of artists.

I was on a mission though, and that was to meet Anita Inverarity, who's work I saw in the guide and immediately loved! She illustrates, mostly in pen, the most wonderfully whimsical things including Alice In Wonderland, Aesop's Fables and lots of other characters of her own making. I had a lovely chat with her but I had to leave empty handed as I couldn't decide what to buy!


A short drive away was the Phoenix Centre at Newton Dee. It was a very serene space and I was too shy to ask to take pictures inside, but I really liked the paintings by Debbie Neill (I already have a print of The Mercat Cross), Sandie Youngson and Alison Davidson.


My final visit of this year's NEOS was to Frameworks Aberdeen. There have been a few demonstrations of raku firing this year but I've never managed to be at the right place at the right time, so I made a point of being here at Lesley McKenzie's studio and gallery to see what it was about.

Very basically, the item is made from clay as normal, left to dry out and fired in a normal kiln. It's then glazed but certain areas are left unglazed and these are the part which get a matt ashy-black look.


These are Lesley's ceramics ready to come out of the kiln. As soon as the door was opened all you saw was little red bums! They're heated to 1000° so no wonder they're glowing!


Then comes the raku bit. The red-hot pieces are very carefully placed in a pile of wood shavings which instantly catch on fire. The lid is closed and the smoke does it's part and gives the smoky look to the unglazed parts, as well as filling tiny cracks to give it that unique raku fired look. This demonstration was totally fascinating and the smell of burning wood was lovely! I've spotted another Christmas present here so I'll be back for that and something for myself, as well as some of her vibrant rabbit prints!

And so ends another fantastic year of NEOS! If you haven't been and would like to find out more, visit their website to keep up-to-date or find out about the artists. Although this event runs for 9 days, a lot of the artists can be visited at any time of year, just check out their listing for details.

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