All aboard for the Artline Open Doors Weekend in Fife!

Some of the artists taking part in the annual Artline Open Doors weekend. From left: Garry Irvine, Maureen Sangster, Lynette Gray, Sheela Page, Lara Scouller, Susy Kirk, Sheena Watson and Paul Neal. Pic: George McLuskie.
Some of the artists taking part in the annual Artline Open Doors weekend. From left: Garry Irvine, Maureen Sangster, Lynette Gray, Sheela Page, Lara Scouller, Susy Kirk, Sheena Watson and Paul Neal. Pic: George McLuskie.

A poetry reading by Mary Queen of Scots, a display of paintings on Fife’s coastline, and an exhibition of town shops and shopkeepers through the ages are just some of the features of a special weekend event taking place at railway station buildings in the Kingdom.

Ten venues along the east coast railway line in Fife are opening their doors on May 4 and 5 for a free exhibition of art, poetry and heritage for the fourth annual Artline Open Doors Weekend.

The Artline lies on the Edinburgh to Dundee main line from North Queensferry to Cupar. Map: Catherine Lindow.

The Artline lies on the Edinburgh to Dundee main line from North Queensferry to Cupar. Map: Catherine Lindow.

It will be full steam ahead for the growing number of artists, who are basing themselves in refurbished station buildings, as they open the doors of their special studios to the public, alongside local heritage centres, to give visitors an insight into both their own work and the work which has been carried out to ensure the continued use of old railway buildings.

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Artist Lynette Gray will demonstrate the art of slip casting and the process used to create her ceramic bird models during the Artline Open Weekend 2019.

Artist Lynette Gray will demonstrate the art of slip casting and the process used to create her ceramic bird models during the Artline Open Weekend 2019.

Connected by the well known scenic route linking Edinburgh and Dundee, the venues will showcase painting, ceramic modelling, crafts, poetry, jewellery and local history over two days.

Event director and Kinghorn artist Lynette Gray, who will be demonstrating the art of slip casting and process used to create ceramic bird models, said the event is becoming more popular each year.

She said: “We had 2000 visits last year which is fantastic and the event keeps going from strength to strength. People tend to start at North Queensferry and then work their way up visiting the railway stations buildings along the artline.

“But visitors don’t have to travel by train as a few people have walked between two or three venues using the coastal path.

From left: Maureen Sangster as poet du Chatelard, an amorous pursuer and Louisa Bell as Mary Queen of Scots performing 'The Queen and the Poet' by Maureen Sangster. They will do a special reading at Inverkeithing Station's waiting room on May 5 as part of the Artline open Doors Weekend.

From left: Maureen Sangster as poet du Chatelard, an amorous pursuer and Louisa Bell as Mary Queen of Scots performing 'The Queen and the Poet' by Maureen Sangster. They will do a special reading at Inverkeithing Station's waiting room on May 5 as part of the Artline open Doors Weekend.

“There is so much to see over the two days and it offers the opportunity for people to see the restoration projects that have been ongoing in Fife’s railway buildings.”

Lynette added that camera crews will also be attending as the Artline Open Doors Weekend is set to feature in a television documentary on railways which will be broadcast in September.

The ten venues taking part in 2019 are: North Queensferry Forth Bridge Heritage Centre - the station has recently been refurbished with careful attention paid to its 1890 Victorian heritage. The centre will be exhibiting Famous Artists at North Queensferry supported by other international and local artists.

Inverkeithing Station’s waiting room hosts a permanent exhibition of 22 rail art and writing posters by Sheena Berry and Maureen Sangster. The exhibition Circle Line – ConverStations features 22 Rail Art and Writing posters celebrating 11 towns on the Circle Line.

Artist Lynette Gray at the Aberdour Signal Box Studio.

Artist Lynette Gray at the Aberdour Signal Box Studio.

The waiting room will also showcase a special event on Sunday, May 5 from 2 to 3.30pm when well known duo, Louisa Bell, actor/drama teacher, and Maureen Sangster, poet/artist, will read from the publication that accompanies the exhibition of the same name, co-created by Sheena Berry and Maureen Sangster.

The reading will take place in the southbound platform waiting room and include poems such as ‘The Queen and the Poet’ as well as fictional historical conversations such as ‘The Briggers’ that depict historical events and people connected with towns on the Circle Line. Sheena Berry will also be present.

Aberdour Heritage Centre opened in August 2017 and during the Artline visitors will be able to find information on growing up in Aberdour and places of interest in the village. The electronic touch table has also been updated with information on ‘old Aberdour’ and visitors will be able to search its files.

Aberdour Signal Box is a private studio in a beautifully refurbished signal box primarily used for creating ceramic work by Lynette Gray. She took over the signal box three years ago to restore it as a ceramics studio. Lynette makes ceramic bird models including pigeons, gannets, sparrows and magpies and will be demonstrating how she creates them during the Artline weekend.

Guest artist and creative woodworker Paul Neal will be showing his work in the venue too.

Burntisland Platform Studios were converted into artists’ studios and originally housed the station waiting rooms. The building now houses creative spaces for artists Sally Grant, Grace Girvan (both jewellers), EKleKtiK (painted textiles), Gingerbread Designs (textiles and ceramics), Lara Scouller, Sophie McKay Knight (fine art painters) and Susie Redman (weaver).

Burntisland Platform Studios is one of the venues taking part.

Burntisland Platform Studios is one of the venues taking part.

Meanwhile, in the Kinghorn Studios and Gallery at Kinghorn Station, Lynette and Douglas Gray and invited artist Stuart Gilmour will exhibit paintings of the Fife coastline. Upstairs are Lynette and Douglas’ studios and on the ground floor is the gallery where exhibitions change throughout the year.

Ladybank Station houses Kirsty Lorenz artist studio. Kirsty is well known for her diverse portrayal of flowers while Ladybank Off the Rails Arthouse will feature an exhibition ‘Full Steam Ahead’ by Indigo Tracks, a textile and mixed media group.

A new display about the shops and shopkeers through the ages in Cupar will be on show at Cupar Heritage Centre and at Kirkcaldy Galleries visitors will be able to see the Refugio exhibition by Roger Palmer celebrating 300 years since the novel Robinson Crusoe was published. Also on show are landscape paintings by the Scottish Colourists and William McTaggart.

The Artline Open Doors venues are open on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 from 10am to 4pm with the exception of Kirkcaldy Galleries which is open on Saturday from 9.30am to 4pm and Sunday from noon to 4pm.

Venues are free to visit and many include station gardens all of which are maintained by volunteers.

Full details of the Artline Open Doors Weekend can be found at www.theartline.co.uk