It was our aim to use our time on artist residency at the Admiral’s House for a healthy mixture of “work and play”, and the house, the studios and the surroundings provide the perfect environment to achieve both these objectives.
The house is comfortable and quiet, and the wood-burning stove provides a cosy atmosphere in which to enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation – just getting away from it all! On the work side, the studios were perfect for our needs. I used Lady Joan’s bright new-build studio which has wonderful natural light and a very calming sense of peacefulness, although I must confess the ever-changing view from the huge picture window can be quite a distraction at times!
I intended to use my time in the studio to create the woodblocks for a print based on something that inspired me on my arrival in Skye. Given the impressive nature of the surrounding landscapes on the island, it is perhaps surprising that what really caught my attention on the first day at the Admiral’s House was an unusual tree with purple flowers. I’d noticed it in the garden as I walked back and forth carrying my equipment to the studio. Research revealed that it’s a type of daisy tree, Olearia Semidentata, which is native to New Zealand, leading me to speculate on how it came to be in the garden of the Admiral’s House in this little corner of Scotland! And so, this delicate little flower became the subject of my print project during my residency. Since my return to my Kirkcudbright studio, I’ve completed the print and it will be a lasting memory of my time spent in Lady Joan’s studio.
In between the studio work, we took some time to explore what Skye has to offer – touring the island to visit places like the Fairy Pools, or just staying local for walks and beach visits which someone has kindly listed in the information folder. The beach nearby was great for swimming and spotting seals, and we were also lucky enough to watch an otter during one of our walks just a bit further down the road.
A visit to the Aros Centre near Portree to watch the Skye Story presentation was very worthwhile – the film gave us a valuable insight into the island’s history and culture. (The Centre also has an excellent food shop!)
Our time at the Admiral’s House was everything we’d hoped it would be, with just the right balance of studio-based work and time spent exploring the island. I returned home feeling relaxed and well-rested but had also been uplifted and inspired by the grand scenery, our glimpses of the local wildlife, and the little purple flowers of the extraordinary daisy tree!
You can find more of Claire’s work at www.cameronsmithdesigns.co.uk
Wasps is currently taking bookings for winter artist residencies, offering full house bookings for groups of artists or creative families. A full house booking consists of three rooms and three studios for a maximum of 6 guests and can be booked for a week, fortnight or full month. If you’re interested in taking a winter retreat at The Admiral’s House please click below for available dates and how to apply.