(Strathspey & Badenoch Herald)
AVIEMORE Gallery has unveiled its spring exhibition by paying homage to Nessie.
Those attending the grand opening included a host of VIPs and past employees of Castlewynd Studios, the pottery business which operated on the site in the 1960s and ’70s.
It was well known for producing the famous Loch Ness monster image – a head with two humps. The pottery also produced earthenware figures of shaggy Highland cattle miniatures and blackface sheep.
Sold for “a couple of quid” each, the image of Nessie was the studio’s biggest success with 40,000 sold each year from 1964 to 1980.
The pottery studio was forced to close following an expansion bid during the 1980s recession. Now, more than 20 years on, Lizzie Macintyre – daughter of former owner James Crawford – has taken over the space and rebuilt it as an art gallery and coffee shop.
James and his wife Mary, along with Lizzie, met with nine former employees at the exhibition opening. The collection of paintings features work from a number internationally renowned and local artists – all of whom take their inspiration from Scotland’s outdoors.
Headlining the exhibition are oil landscape paintings from Glaswegian artist Daniel Campbell, while Grantown-based watercolour painter Jim Gardiner is displaying a series of landscapes until the exhibition ends in June.
Two award-winning Nairnshire artists – sculptor Daniel Kavanagh and jeweller Melanie Muir – also have their work on show. Mr Kavangh produces sleek monochrome designs in contrast to Ms Muir’s technicoloured, eye-catching pendants, necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Alongside them is Fife-based textile artist Leanne McKend, who uses layering and stitching along with beads, buttons and shells to represent natural scenery, such as shorelines.
The exhibition also has a special area dedicated to the work of the Castlewynd Studios, featuring some original Nessie pottery pieces along with photographs of the studio’s 15-year run during the ’60s and ’70s.
Speaking at the opening, Lizzie Macintyre said: “It was wonderful to see the past and the present mix together on our first exhibition opening. It was an incredibly successful evening and we were delighted to show everyone that the Castlewynd ethos of supporting Scottish art and artists is still at the heart of everything we do at the Aviemore Gallery.”
The Aviemore Gallery opened in February this year and also houses a gift shop with works from independent craftspeople and Fair Trade artisans.