Walk every day; draw every day; see what happens next …….

Below is my new home for the month of February 2015.

DSC02789  the sheherds hut, Lagandorian

I am getting very excited and a wee bit worried.  I will be artist in residence on a creative retreat on the Island of Iona for the whole of February 2015.  The residency is provided  by Iona Hostel   http://www.ionahostel.co.uk/.  Run by John MacLean this hostel follows a philosophy of sustainable living and also offers creative retreats to artists and writers in the winter months.     Accommodation for the month will be in the “Shepherds Hut” which is a tin shed, well insulated and with electric heating and an oil lamp for power cuts.  It comes with the use of a byre for a studio space and space to cook and use of washing facilities in the hostel itself.    Probably idyllic in May and June but could be a bit of a challenge in February!   Iona is a tiny wee island 3 miles by 1.5 miles long sitting off the South West tip of the much larger Isle of Mull.

So preparations are well underway.  Thanks to a grant from South of Scotland Visual Artist & Craft Maker Awards I have managed to buy a small printing press from Hawthorne Printmaking Supplies in York  which I will take with me to Iona.  Having said that – its still quite bulky and heavy (50kg)  and I need help to move it so I am trying to work out how to get it there.   Getting to Iona from here involves 2 trains, two boats and a bus!

I am also taking a big pile of Somerset paper with me.  I have used Somerset Papers for collograph and screen printing and found it to be very versatile, tough and willing to take a lot of punishment.  I am hoping to print from found objects as well as making plates so I will be testing this paper to its limits……salty water might even be involved (although not on the press!).   St Cuthberts Mill who produce Somerset papers have donated some paper out of kindness (or maybe curiosity to see what a woman in a hut with a press at the continental edge will end up doing)!  Thank you St Cuthberts Mill for the help!!   http://www.stcuthbertsmill.com  

This project represents two new opportunities for me:

  1. Working immediately with the press responding to the place and what I am thinking about rather than having to wait and travel to Edinburgh Printmakers for a slot on the presses there. I love working as part of the community of artists that is Edinburgh Printmakers but sometimes the delay between idea and getting up to the presses there means my creative process is stilted. The residency will remove that delay – hope I can rise to the challenge ! http://www.edinburghprintmakers.co.uk/
  1. Its been a long time (and I mean 16 years or more) since I spent time alone like this. I will be away from my family (husband and teenage children and lovely dogs) for a whole month [n.b. husband proof read blog for me and said it should read lovely husband, children and dogs and not the other way round – oops!].  I am going to miss them terribly and it will be very weird to be on my own but it might prove very interesting to have the space and time to go deeper into my working practice without the routine of family life to bring me back out of my “art head”.   There is something about the roles we have – wife, mother, jobs, and the residency will hopefully give me a window of time to reconnect with parts of myself that don’t always get the space in the hustle and bustle of life.  One body of work I have a plan to take with me is called “Inner”  I can’t really explain what its about in words – it seems to be a non verbal part of me, but here are some of the studies I have made to date on this theme:
collograph 2014

collograph 2014

mixed media painting (incomplete)

mixed media painting (incomplete)

Of course the Island of Iona may have other plans for me and this work might not get progressed until after I have come home and processed the experience. There have been a lot of boats and oars in my work in the last few years….maybe they will feature again?

So the plan is as follows:

  1. Walk every day
  2. Draw every day
  3. See what happens next

I hope I manage to produce some new work as its going to be the main part of my exhibition at Spring Fling from 23-25th May 2015! (www.springfling.co.uk/artists).   I plan to blog during my stay and put some pictures on my web site (www:sarahkeast.co.uk) and facebook page (link on the left hand side of this page))  so check up on me….especially if you hear of any big storms on the West coast in February. Check if the hut is still there!!!


Creative_Scotland_bw_small_current       CABN_Ident_Main_4ColoursmallSt Cuthberts Mill (Negative) (3)


Inspired by MOorlands Exhibition News

 Some of my Moth art works will be included in the exhibition below.

‘Inspired by moorlands’

6th – 14th September 2013

The Town Hall Gallery Langholm

10 am – 4pm and 6pm – 8.30pm Daily

moth collage  blue



News for the art work based on the whaling ship Abram

new press release



The Whaler “Abram”

Last year I was approached by arctic historian Dr Rob David to make an art work based on the story of the Abram. Dr David has been writing a book with his colleague Dr Mike Winstanley on the history of the Abram.  The book ” The West Indies and the Arctic in the age of sail: The voyages of Abram (1806-62)” is due to be published in May 2013  She was built in Lancaster around 1806 and sailed to the West Indies before being converted to a whaling ship in Hull and sailing from Hull and Kirkcaldy to the Davies Strait.  After many adventures she became trapped in pack ice in the winter of 1862. My art work on the Abram will be on show in my studio at Spring Fling 2013.

Here is part of the art work in preparation – it is a hand made engraved and weathered copper compass rose.


compass rose for abram




Getting Ready for Spring Fling…

Spring Fling Open Studio
Sarah is participating in the 2013 Spring Fling exhibition.

For full information please click on the link below