Both the living space and the studio have been updated including; all new furniture added, the floors sanded and varnished, a new kitchen installed and the lighting improved. The studio has been given a refresh with a new coat of paint.
The Booth was constructed by Scalloway Waterfront Trust in 2001. It was built on the site of a fisherman’s store which was the oldest building in the town. Now converted into a live-work space for visiting artists, The Booth is managed by Wasps in partnership with Shetland Arts Trust. Former residents have often made use of the artist facilities situated close by to The Booth, including printmaking and ceramics resources.
The Booth consists of a combined ‘clean’ working area and living space which is located on the upper level and a stone-walled basement for more ‘dirty’ work. The living accommodation has a fully fitted kitchen, washing machine/tumble dryer and a bathroom with a fully accessible shower. There is a bed space located above the kitchen/bathroom, the sofa also opens up into a double bed and towels and bedlinen are provided.
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.
Clare Blois is an award winning Scottish artist based in the Highlands with a Wasps studio at Inverness Creative Academy. Her expressionist paintings conjure the magic and drama of the northern landscape and seascape, reflecting the cycle of the seasons and the elements. Clare spent one month at The Admiral’s House residency space in Skye this summer.
Set in an idyllic location The Admiral’s House has three artist studios & bedrooms, offering time and space to both explore and develop work, and meet fellow creatives. Clare tells Wasps about her time on residence, her intentions, and what she came away with.
I was attracted to the residency at the Admiral’s House as I badly needed an extended period of time to work all day every day without other distractions. I had a plan to develop my work in a new direction and needed time to myself to do this. I hoped that at the end of the month I would come back with a clearer notion of my way forward. As a landscape painter the Isle of Skye was an attractive proposition – I knew there would be no shortage of material.
I worked consistently and hard over the month. I wanted to use the time well, and I was up early and spent most of the day in the studio, apart from going for walks and gathering sketches. The location was perfect and there was no real need to drive about – as I live in the Highlands I didn’t bother about sightseeing except for finding a few swimming places. I made a good number of paintings, many of them large, and I tried out lots of new ideas. I came away pleased with what I had achieved both on canvas and in my head!
The studio space at the house is excellent and I had plenty of room in the converted garage (the Alan Macdonald studio). The newer studio overlooking the water (Lady Joan’s studio) is beautiful, and larger than the photos suggest – two artists were working in there. All the studios have heaters which are good for winter months. The house was comfortable and had a lot of fascinating old books including the Admiral’s memoirs which were worth a read.
I was a little apprehensive about who else would be staying in the house but need not have worried. It was good to meet artists from different parts of the country. We were all engaged in totally different practices and all very focused on our own agendas, so in fact did not see much of each other although we got on well.
I would very much recommend the artist residency experience – it is such a good chance to do exactly as you please for a while, to be entirely flexible and take from it what you will. Of course it all depends on what you put into it! I hope I can go to the Admiral’s House again before long.
You can see more of Clare Blois’ work at www.clareblois.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 details on how to apply.