Loch an Eilein Gallery
We explore the history of the gallery and meet some of the artists who are exhibiting there this year.
Open from early April to the end of October, Loch an Eilein Gallery showcases local artists and craftspeople.
The History of Loch an Eilein and the gallery
Loch an Eilein (pronounced loch an yellen) is Gaelic for lake of the island. The castle that sits on the island was probably first built in the 1300s and added to in later centuries. It was used as a place of safety, where locals could hide from raiding clansmen who used the Thieves’ Road to sneak down into Strathspey to steal cattle.
The low, whitewashed stone building was originally a cottage. There are still a few people alive today who actually lived there and it stands very close to the remains of an old lime kiln. The building was opened as a gallery in 2010 as a way to showcase the work of local artists and craftspeople and create a space that would complement the stunning scenery of the Loch.
Born in the Highlands of Scotland near Inverness, artist Miriam Smith was brought up with the sea close on one hand and heather clad hills on the other, instilling in her a fascination of the natural world. Despite always harbouring a strong desire to express this fascination through painting, she spent much of her adult life working in office administration. But, on reaching the age of 40 she made the brave decision to turn a lifelong hobby into a career and began painting fulltime. It paid off and Miriam has exhibited in a number of Scottish galleries, with her work now being held in private collections across the world.
Smith works predominantly in watercolour, a medium that she enjoys for its freshness, fluidity and unpredictability, properties that she feels are reflective of the Scottish landscapes she paints. Favouring spontaneity, over meticulous planning, allows each painting to become an exploration both of subject and medium. This sense of joy and wonder at her subject can be felt by viewers and her work is popular with visitors to the gallery.
Lynn Robinson has worked as a professional photographer for over 30 years. After graduating from The Royal College of Art with an MA in Photography in 1983, she returned to the North of England where she began documenting community groups. Now settled in Aviemore she continues to work with community and youth groups, documenting art events and projects.
Inspired by the light and beauty of the Cairngorms, Robinson explores the area with her camera, capturing striking landscapes and turning them into cards and prints as well as unique handcrafted jewellery.
Penny Weir is the potter at Loch an Eilein Pottery, located on the road to Loch an Eilein. She began by making pots from clay simply because she enjoyed it and would gift them to family and friends. However, it got to the stage where her loved ones just didn’t have the space to accept any more pots so she decided to start selling them and found she was quite successful! She specialises in jugs of all sizes from cream jugs to pitchers, in large breakfast cups, teapots, mugs both large and small, garlic pots, goblets, noodle bowls and vases. The pots are hand thrown in red earthenware and then glazed in blues, greens and turquoise. After almost 40 years of running classes and ‘Throw Your Own Pot Thursdays’ she is thinking about beginning to wind down a little bit and perhaps just supplying the occasional shop or gallery.
If you are in the area why not pop in for a visit? As well as lots more fantastic art from local artists, the gallery also sells coffee, cold drinks and ice-cream.