With spring in the air there is plenty of inspiration available across the islands for Orkney’s talented creative community.
Many of them will also be getting ready to welcome visitors into their workshops, galleries and studios as part of the Creative Orkney Trail this year. The trail offers a unique opportunity to watch our makers at work as they craft jewellery, artwork, pottery, textiles and much more.
We’ve been to meet three Creative Orkney members who will be opening their doors over the coming months.
A visit to the Leo Kerr Mirrors gallery across the Churchill Barriers in Burray is a real highlight of the Creative Orkney Trail this year. It’s the first time the business has been part of the trail; now visitors will get the chance to see Leo's beautiful, unique mirrors, all handcrafted in the neighbouring workshop.
“We wanted to join the trail this year because we really believe in the importance of showcasing Orkney’s creative talent and heritage,” says Leo. “It also gives us a chance to connect with other local artists and makers, as well as a platform to reach a wider audience.”
“We’ll be showcasing new designs and techniques this year and we’re really looking forward to meeting people and sharing our passion for mirrors. Visitors will be able to watch our skilled artisans at work and learn about the process of making our bespoke pieces.
“We’re so proud to be part of this vibrant creative community.”
A short ferry hop away from the Orkney mainland you’ll find the Beach Gallery in South Walls. Carolyn Shepherd offers a range of creative experiences here, including arts and crafts workshops, inspiration days and much more. She also has a well-stocked gallery and a small tearoom with delicious soups, scones and cakes on offer.
“It’s great to have Hoy represented on the Creative Orkney Trail this year,” says Carolyn. “I can’t wait to share my inspirational creative sanctuary with guests during their visit here.”
“There’s always something happening at the gallery, from classes to community art days, so visitors can expect to see a space full of ideas and activity.
“I enjoy chatting to people who are interested in the creative process and where inspiration comes from, and there is lots of it to find here. The trail will hopefully help visitors discover this little haven and I’m really looking forward to meeting new people.”
Meanwhile in the West Mainland, talented artist Andrea Holmes is ready to welcome folk from around the world to her quiet corner of Orkney this year. Andrea’s range of cards, prints, gifts and original artwork is always worth a browse, and it’s the perfect stop off if you’re visiting the nearby Brough of Birsay.
“The Creative Orkney Trail is something I’d enjoyed as a visitor. Later, as an artist now living in Orkney, I felt it would be an invaluable ‘family’ to become a part of,” says Andrea.
“I love having visitors to my studio. It’s fabulous chatting with people from all over the world, and a pleasure to share my enthusiasm for Orkney. I feel that the trail has given me a degree of visibility I might not have achieved on my own too.
“I’m very excited about the 2023 season. My timing as a new trail member was terrible (the start of 2020), so it’s lovely to experience some normality now. Plus, I can finally look forward to holding some very small workshops later this year.”