Close encounters of the art kind

Artist Mirielle Sampson at work
Artist Mirielle Sampson at work

The award-winning Open Studios North Fife is now in its ninth year and is being held this weekend.

It provides a chance to visit almost 80 artists, makers and designers in their natural working spaces.

And it is a rare opportunity to discuss methods and sources of inspiration with the actual creator before buying a piece of work.

The event is not just about the opportunity to buy unique work from local artists though; it is about opening up these once secret spaces and experiencing first hand the processes behind the beautiful artworks much admired in public galleries. Many artists are even holding workshops and taster experiences where they will guide you through the basic practices of their art form, giving visitors a real opportunity not to just view the artist at work, but be the artist.

North Fife Open Studios also encourages visitors to explore the villages and towns within its catchment area thus promoting tourism around our beautiful countryside of Fife.

Adding to the unique nature of the experience is the fact that you get to see into the quirky and interesting spaces in which the artists make their work: everything from bespoke studios to converted garden sheds and even highly equipped diningroom tables.

In previous years the relaxed atmosphere of the event led to impromptu garden picnics, music jam sessions and even high profile collaborated artist/visitor artworks being created.

So, what will you discover on your journey through the creative world of north Fife?

The event has very high standards of entry thus making sure that no matter which artist you visit, you will not be disappointed.

There are many new participants this year – some completely new to the world of exhibiting their work.

And there are also nationally – and in some cases internationally – renowned artists who have been exhibiting with North Fife Open Studios for almost a decade. If you are a regular visitor to the studios it will be a great opportunity to not only visit the newer artists of 2014 that you have not see before, but actually return to view your favourite artists and see the evolution of their work.

There will be a wide variety of styles of painting and prints, jewellery, ceramics, textiles and work in wood, metal, glass, stone and mixed media… everything from beautifully small affordable gifts to statement pieces to finish off your home.

Most artists will accept commissions and this is the perfect opportunity to discuss your needs in a relaxed, one-to-one environment.

Open Studios North Fife came about as a result of Auchtermuchty based artists Alison Strachan and Lucy Turner having a discussion at the school gates about the wealth of artistic talent in the area and the fact that it was largely hidden from view.

That first event in 2006 had just 14 participants but was a resounding success with visitors commenting on the fantastic standard of work available.

Cafes in the area ran out of food such was the unexpected demand.

Now almost 10 years on the event attracts almost 25,000 visitors from all corners of the UK.

Studios have even had visitors from as far as Australia and Mexico.

The event is still run by a small committee of volunteering artists who put in a fantastic amount of work to make the event what is, and continues to be, one of the top art highlights of the year and with the positive feedback it receives every year, it strives to make the event top on peoples’ places to visit.

Open Studios North Fife won the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution’ at the Create in Fife Awards in November 2013.

The awards ceremony was created by Create in Fife to celebrate the achievements of creative businesses and practitioners in Fife (

The success of North Fife Open Studios is primarily down to the very unique nature of the experience and quality of work on show but also down to the impressive brochure designed by Richard Budd Design. Several visitors have said that it’s a work of art in itself and many keep it for reference throughout the year.

Many local people comment that it gives them pride in the area knowing that all this creativity is thriving around them.

People enjoy engaging with art in such a relaxed fashion.

Reports of magical days out, having had a go at fused glass, having watched pots being thrown on a wheel and having quizzed painters about technique, are common.

Adults and children alike are inspired.

○Open Studios North Fife, May 3, 4 & 5, 10am to – 6pm each day.

A brochure can be downloaded from