Rapt in Winter, 12 in 12: Catriona Taylor Studio

On the weekend of 6–7 December, galleries, studios and workshops across Peebles and further afield will open their doors for Rapt in Winter – a new pre-Christmas arts fair and trail. In the 12 days leading up to the event, we’ll profile each of the dozen participating venues in order of their appearance on a specially-commissioned arts trail map

The final venue on the Rapt in Winter arts trail map is perhaps the most intimate of all. Artist Catriona Taylor works from a studio in her garden, but will exhibit work on the walls of her delightful cottage in the village of Carlops, just a few miles outside of Edinburgh. For those travelling from the capital, it makes a perfect first or last stop on the trail.

Catriona admits that her studio at home used to be something of a pigsty, but has become a much more serene place in which to work since it was converted a few years ago. “It always makes me happy going in there and closing the door,” she says.

Having a studio at home works well for lots of reasons. Catriona teaches art classes to adults in Edinburgh, so is able to work right up to the last minute before setting off for a class. “I also have three dogs – yes, I know it’s excessive – and they like a lot of company, so having the studio at home means they get to see me. When things aren’t going well in the studio I come in and hug the dogs – a therapy I recommend!”

Describing it as “multi-layered and textured”, often incorporating maps, collage and text, Catriona’s work is inspired by the sea and coastline of Scotland. “l love visiting the coast and just sitting on the beach, drawing – particularly the western islands of Scotland,” she explains. “Once home, I then look at the place on Google Earth and of course it looks completely  different and very exciting.”

Following a previous career in theatre and literature, Catriona only became an artist in her forties. “I just feel so lucky to be doing this,” she says. “Painting takes me into a meditative state. I enjoy the sensation of the brush moving on a surface and building up work using layers of paper and paint. I also just love staring at images of the sea.”

And it seems that others love what she does, too. Catriona’s work sells through galleries in Edinburgh and the Borders, while it’s also often taken to art fairs in London, Bristol and elsewhere south of the border through her association with Brighton-based Cameron Contemporary Art.

Ahead of Rapt in Winter, Catriona has stepped away from the coastline to concentrate on a variety of landscapes in the Borders and nearby Pentlands. “It’s just to do something a bit different as the event is taking place in my home,” she explains. “I have also done lots of small sea things which are just in mounts to make them really inexpensive.”

Further info

Venue number 12 on the Rapt in Winter arts trail map, Catriona Taylor Studio is in Carlops, just a few miles from the Dancing Light Gallery (number 11 on the map). Exhibition opening hours: Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 12am-4pm. Mulled wine served, while there will also be poetry readings at 2pm, Sat.

Rapt in Winter is the latest in a year-long programme of events developed or supported by Peebles Creative Place 2014 following the town being named as the most creative place of its size in Scotland. 

For much more on this special weekend, including links to all participating venues, click here. And don’t forget to check out our gallery for a flavour of the work of more than 30 artists and craftmakers involved in the event.