While we can’t travel…

Bringing a bit of Scotland and creativity to your home

In these strange and difficult times where we are in lockdown and unable to travel or enjoy exhibitions and events, you may feel in need of a dose of Scotland and creative inspiration. I’ve started curating collections of resources you might be interested in. This page is a work in progress and I’ll add to them as I go along – if you know of an interesting resource Scotland-loving creatives might enjoy please drop me a line.

Online exhibitions

Projectroom 2020 – funded by Art North magazine, Projectroom2020.org is a collaborative online gallery project devised to support artists in Scotland in showing work during the public health crisis: https://projectroom2020.org/

The first artist to be shown in the Main Gallery is Wild at Art tutor Gemma Petrie, who is based in Portmahomack on the North East coast where her painting shortbreaks take place.

Explore the collections of the Scottish National Galleries – you can explore and search the collections of the Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Modern One, Modern Two, Duff House, Paxton House, and even works that are in storage: https://www.nationalgalleries.org/

The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) of Arts and Architecture‘s annual exhibition will soon be available online here: https://www.royalscottishacademy.org/

Edinburgh University’s School of History, Classics and Archaeology offers an online exhibition: Artisans And Craft-Production In Nineteenth-Century Scotland. It is themed in five sections; Handmade and Design, Vernacular and Place, Portraits, Workshops, and Trades and Communities: https://www.ed.ac.uk/history-classics-archaeology/history/news-events/news-and-events-archive/news-events-2016/online-exhibition

An Talla Solais Gallery in Ullapool has opened an exhibition Landscape of Place. The central theme of the exhibition is the discourse between the landscape of the north of Scotland and the experience of being both part of it and at one within it, giving rise to a sense of place within the world: https://www.antallasolais.org/landscape-of-place-online-exhibition

National Museums Scotland -Experience the treasures of four National Museums Scotland from your own home via the Google Arts and Culture programme, which offers you the chance to see more than 20,000 historic objects at National Museum of Scotland, National Museum of Flight, National War Museum and the National Museum of Rural Life: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/national-museum-of-scotland

Art in Healthcare does is provides top quality curated Scottish and Scotland-themed artworks for display in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The Art in Healthcare Collection is extensive and can be explored online: https://www.artinhealthcare.org.uk/collection.php

Sounds of Scotland

Nevis Ensemble – Some of you might already have happened to enjoy impromptu performances by members of this energetic street orchestra on your travels in Scotland. The Nevis Ensemble have made it their mission to make music accessible for everyone, everywhere. They have several projects on the go to bring music to people in lockdown all over the world: https://nevisensemble.org/

Scotland Online – Livestream events featuring Scotland’s thriving traditional arts: https://scotlandonline.org/

Finding gigs via Twitter – there are some incredible online gigs going on. You can follow along with hashtags like #COVIDceilidh and #scotlandsbigsession on Twitter for details of many of them. https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVIDCeilidh?src=hashtag_click / https://twitter.com/hashtag/scotlandsbigsession?src=hashtag_click

Scotpodcast – explore a wealth of traditional music gems on this podcast series. The tunes are all free to listen to but you’ll get the chance to support the Scottish traditional music scene: https://projects.handsupfortrad.scot/scotpodcast/.

Chamber Music Scotland did a series of #StreamingHomeConcerts which you can watch on their YouTube channel. Follow Chamber Music Scotland on Twitter for details of how to tune into future shows! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXK4x-mr11oOR7kptn7o4Pw  https://twitter.com/chambermusicsct/status/1243117561115561984

Live Music Now Scotland supports talented young professional musicians in performing/training opportunities while taking inspirational live music experiences to a wide audience: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCegFmstasVO3Sel-p5hk7aw/videos

And, of course, Runrig’s Loch Lomond

Scottish textiles

Dovecot studio – you can take a virtual tour of this world-renowned tapestry studio in Edinburgh: https://dovecotstudios.com/visit/tour

The making of Harris Tweed:

BBC Coast: Harris Tweed – excerpt from a programme on Harris Tweed:

Creativity in times of lockdown

Watercolour sketching demo with Leo du Feu – Wild at Art tutor Leo du Feu also works for Art in Healthcare in Edinburgh. ROOM FOR ART is a series of visual arts workshops delivered by artists throughout Edinburgh using a social prescribing approach and occupational therapy supported model of 1:1s. In this 30 min video he explains the basics of watercolour sketching and talks about his approach. Grab a coffee and enjoy the video! (Leo is the tutor for our Magical Orkney art experience in September 2021):

Painting eggs and birds in watercolour – not just for Easter! – Wild at Art tutor Leo du Feu encourages you to appreciate the beauty of bird eggs and explore their patterns through some simple exercises: https://landscapeartnaturebirds.blogspot.com/2020/04/art-idea-easter-eggs-birds.html

Art in the Time of Self-Quarantine – A Sketch A Day. A few of our wonderful Wild at Art customers – and now friends – in the US and Canada have set up a Facebook group for sharing the artwork they’re producing during lockdown. The group is private but they welcome new members. You can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/208000227277211/

Artist Louise Bourgeois on How Solitude Enriches Creative Work“You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love.” https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/04/15/louise-bourgeois-solitude/

Isolation Art School –  check out this Instagram initiative for free lessons, projects and tips on getting creative: https://www.instagram.com/isolationartschool/

Scenes for Survival – short digital artworks created by leading Scottish theatre and screen talent. Created by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with Scotland’s leading theatre venues and companies: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08d89xn (not sure if the link will work outside the UK…?)

Explore our beautiful locations

This is Scotland!: https://youtu.be/FlG6tbYaA88

See Scotland’s islands from above:

A guide to the weather in Scotland:

Orkney

Orkney – beautiful all year round:

Wild at Art tutor Leo du Feu’s journal from his first visit to Orkney – A September Trip to Orkney . Leo is the tutor for our Magical Orkney painting holiday in September 2021 – find out more

Orkney visitor guide – a selection of visitor guides and information leaflets about the islands: https://www.orkney.com/plan/visitor-guides

Discover Stromness, the base location for our Orkney art experiences:

Orkney archaeology – at the site of a colossal complex that predates Stonehenge, archaeologists have discovered Neolithic art, pottery, and several carved stones that are extremely rare:

Hebrides

The magical isle of Iona by drone:

Lewis Trilogy – if you are looking for reading material about Lewis & Harris in the Outer Hebrides check out Peter May’s crime novels set in the islands: Blackhouse / Lewis Man / Chessmen: https://www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk/see-and-do/culture-and-heritage/peter-may-lewis-trilogy

Another book we can recommend is Madeleine Bunting’s Love of Country. You can find a review here.

Glasgow

Mackintosh at the Willow – for Mackintosh fans Willow Tea Rooms have published a series of blogposts telling some of the history around the life and art of Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and Charles Rennie Mackintosh: https://www.mackintoshatthewillow.com/blog/

Scottish & Celtic heritage

Scottish Storytelling Centre – listen to some ancient tales. The page also includes a link to their YouTube channel: https://tracscotland.org/resources/scotlands-stories-online-teaching-resource/

CeltScot Videos – a YouTube channel where you can find music, storytelling , lectures and more related to Celtic and Scottish Studies: https://www.youtube.com/user/CeltScotVideos/featured

Scottish Gaelic language explained:

How to wear an 18th century plaid properly 🙂

Scotlands Places – this archive site lets you search three national databases to access historical resources relating to places throughout Scotland: https://scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/

Have a peek inside

Historic Scotland audio guides – Historic Scotland are making a series of audio guides available, which can be enjoyed via the web, with no need for downloading. Be transported back to court life at Stirling Castle, hear the familiar voices of Ian Rankin, George RR Martin and Saoirse Ronan at Edinburgh Castle, explore Iona Abbey or listen to the beautiful voices of Glasgow Cathedral’s choir: access audio guides here

Look inside the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and see some of their staff’s favourite features:

Take a virtual tour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland: https://www.royal.uk/virtual-tours-palace-holyroodhouse

Snippet about Falkland Palace‘s sunken treasure:

So…dream about Scotland now and travel later 🙂

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Last Updated: 16/09/2020

Although tourism has officially re-opened in Scotland, we’ve decided not to re-start our group experiences until January 2021 as most of our guests come from overseas. Once we start back, you can be reassured that all precautions will be in place to keep you safe so you can travel with peace of mind. 

New bookings – update

We understand that in these uncertain times flexibility is key when making any travel plans for the future and we want to make sure our guests can book with confidence.

Easy registration

Considering the ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine rules we temporarily offer an easy registration option for bookings made between 16 September and 14 December 2020. This is how it works:

  • You can register for any 2021 trip with a low, non-refundable registration fee of just GBP100 instead of the regular deposit stated in the description. The registration fee will later count as credit towards the full cost of the trip.
  • After reviewing the situation we will contact you in mid-December. If it looks likely that you’ll be able to travel and without having to quarantine, we will send an invoice for the remaining deposit. Otherwise we’ll discuss options with you.

We trust that you only register if you plan to join the trip providing travel from your country to the UK is possible and you wouldn’t have to quarantine once you get here.

Additional flexibility

All bookings made between 1 June and 31 December 2020 also have additional flexibility in that you can move your booking up until 10 weeks before departure to any future date within 24 months of your original holiday date.

All other terms and conditions remain the same- click here for more information.

We wish to reassure you that as a member of The Travel Vault all payments made to Wild at Art Ltd are protected through financial failure insurance and therefore as a customer you have 100% financial security.

Meet Islay, the latest addition to our team!

I’m very pleased to introduce you to the latest addition to the Wild at Art management team: Islay, a rescue dog from Bosnia. We don’t know much about the story so far other than she was rescued from a dog catcher kennel. She’s the most delightful, gentle and friendly dog and has settled extremely well in her new home in Scotland. Whenever possible,  Islay will accompany me on art experiences and she might even pose as a model for guests :).

Brexit – there’s no need to worry

Naturally, there has been a lot of media attention on Brexit and you might be wondering what it means for your travel planning. We’ve done our research and want to give you peace of mind regarding our art experiences in Scotland.

These are the main points: in summary:

No change in visa arrangments

Deal or no deal, you’ll be able to enter the UK without a visa if you’re a citizen of any other EU or EEA country, or Switzerland.

For US visitors to Scotland and the UK, there has been no change and there will be no change to the current no visa arrangement for UK citizens arriving for stays of less than 90 days. The important thing is that your passport is still valid for at least six months at the time of arrival.

For arrivals from other countries there won’t be any changes either – use the visa checker to find out if you need a visa.

Flights operate as usual

There is no talk of disruption to flights to the UK and the EU has specifically agreed that there would be no change to any flight rules until 2021 at the earliest. Even if there was a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.

Insurance protection

All payments you have made to Wild at Art are protected through our Travel Vault membership. In addition, it is important that you have adequate travel insurance which covers your specific needs, including any known medical conditions or activities you plan to do. It is also worth checking the detail of the policy around travel disruption including delays or cancellations as policies do vary.

Soak up Scotland’s history ~ the Declaration of Arbroath

When travelling in Scotland it’s almost impossible not to be touched by our rich history. Those with some historical knowledge may have heard of the Declaration of Arbroath*, which is one of Scotland’s most important historical documents, capturing a powerful call for the recognition of the Kingdom of Scotland’s sovereign independence.

The Declaration is a letter dated 6 April 1320, written by the barons and and freeholders of Scotland, on behalf of the Kingdom of Scotland, to Pope John XXII asking him to recognise Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king.

The letter also asks the Pontiff to persuade King Edward II of England to end hostilities against the Scots, so that their energy may be better used to secure other frontiers.

The Declaration was probably drawn up at Arbroath Abbey. Written in Latin, it was sealed by eight earls and about forty barons. It was authenticated by seals, as documents at that time were not signed. Only 19 seals now remain.

So, what has the Declaration of Arbroath got to do with an art experience?

We like to link up our creative experiences with local, real life things happening around us. Our Hidden Treasures Art Retreat with Arbroath-based Scottish painter Kate Cunningham and guest tutors will take place in Arbroath 3-10 April 2020 – not quite at Arbroath Abbey but nearby at the charming Rosely Country House.  So, we’ll have the opportunity to celebrate the Declaration’s 700th anniversary in its place of origin during our retreat – how cool is that! The anniversary will be marked with the Arbroath 2020 programme of events and activities to engage and inspire through the story of the Declaration. I’m curious to see how the festivities inspire the artistic interpretation of this historic location on the Scottish east coast.

Our retreat venue Rosely Country House Hotel
Our retreat venue Rosely Country House Hotel

Also, the declaration document will be displayed within the Scotland galleries of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh from 27 March to 26 April 2020. Why not add a day in Edinburgh before or after the retreat to see the real thing? 🙂

Find out more about the retreat here.

* Image of declaration document copyright National Records Scotland

Best of Celtic Life 2019 – we’re in!

Travelling in general is a form of personal development. Creative travel takes the experience to another, and more enriching level.

We’re absolutely delighted that Wild at Art made it into the Best of Celtic Life International! Read the story here (you’ll find a link to the full version of the magazine at the bottom of the page):

Wild at Art in Celtic Life International

To read the magazine click here.