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During Open Studios this past weekend, it was easy see why so many artists are drawn to Arran. We didn’t make it to even half of the amazing artists who generously opened their studios to visitors. Here’s just the tiniest taste of an art-filled day.

Approaching Brodick Harbor on Scotland’s Isle of Arran aboard the ferry

The colors of Scotland are waiting.

Don’t like clouds? Wait five minutes…

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by artist Catherine Rose: This just had to come home with me and go into my “grandchild” room! After all, who can resist Edward Lear’s 1871 call to “dance by the light of the moon”.

Woodworkers Ruth May and David Samuels opened their spare, lovely shared studios. [Image credit: (c)Tola Ward]

We admired the contrast between Ruth’s exquisite paper-thin bowls and David’s beautifully simple furniture. [Image credit: (c)Tola Ward]


David Samuels shows off the lovely tone and stunning woodwork of the bowed psalteries he builds, and the gorgeous cases he houses them in.


Artist Assja Solveiga Baumgärtner-Gaile’s compact studio is filled with jewelry made from found objects, sea glass, and gems plus color-splashed paintings of opinionated chickens and amiable sheep, drawings, and more.

Fiber artist Lynn Jones explained how the pandemic cut off access to the merino wool fibers she usually used in her art. So she turned to local Arran sheep, carding their wool and then dying some of it with local plants. [NOTE: Lynn discovered you could boil wool in seaweed for hours and it still has no color. But her bright pink foxglove turned the wool a soft grass green.] Using her Arran carded and dyed wool, she’s completing an iconic island scene with mountains and standing stones.

I don’t like to swim with them, but washed up on Arran beaches, jellyfish colors are spectacular. Obviously, Lynn’s cheeky fiber jellyfish had to come home with me.

Renaissance woman Heather MacLeod—artist, musician, teacher, storyteller, and harp-maker—shows off her color drenched studio.

Our last visit was with Karen Bell and her astonishing, intricately magical papercuts. I love her Alice in Wonderland series, both framed and in whimsical glass coasters. But her true masterpieces involve minutely precision cut portraits and landscapes of twelve or more layers.

And the most spectacular art? It might just be the view from our own front porch at sunset.