Sunday, January 20, 2013

My project and journey

"Made in Kirkcaldy" will explore the incredible journey of Michael Nairn from canvas weaver to floorcloth manufacturer.  I became captivated by the story of Michael Nairn after reading the first few pages of Augustus Muir's book "The Nairns of Kirkcaldy".  Whilst turning the pages of Muir's short history I found myself transported back in time to a Kirkcaldy I barely recognised.  How much the landscape of where I now stay has been shaped by one man's vision and drive.  As I begin my own personal journey retracing the footsteps of Michael Nairn I find myself both amazed and shocked by what once was but no longer is.   For me the decision to demolish the iconic linoleum factory which sits forlorn and forgotten on Victoria Road seems deeply sad.  It signals the end of an era and the loss of yet another chapter in the story of Michael Nairn's legacy.  A man who's foresight and quest for quality undoubtedly led to Kirkcaldy becoming the capital of the linoleum world.

       1900 Photograph: Unknown © Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Creativity is akin to insanity

Yesterday's presentation of my artwork went well, good to know all those late nights were well invested.  I can now move onto my new project - Linoleum. It has been a real fight trying to stop myself from starting work on this project.  So many temptations kept presenting themselves which would set my creative mind in a spin - the arrival in the post of Nairns of Kirkcaldy by Augustus Muir, the faint smell of linseed oil as I stepped out the front door and finally, finding some vintage lino tiles on the floor of a fife farmhouse kitchen.  I got really excited about the latter especially when I discovered the farmer still had some leftover tiles stashed away in a cupboard under the stairs and said I could have them.  That really started a tornado in my brain I can tell you.  Well if you are now beginning to think I'm mad you are probably right. Scientists do say creativity is akin to insanity but then what do scientists know, they once thought the earth was flat.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weeping Beech

Decided to photograph my artwork outside in preparation for next week's presentation.

Close up front showing detail of copper wire leaves

Rear view

Front view

Thursday, January 10, 2013

End of the line for Kirkcaldy's iconic lino landmark

The world's oldest linoleum factory, a massive 19th century A-listed building in Kirkcaldy,is to be demolished this year.  From the end of the 19th century to the mid 20th century Kirkcaldy was the world's largest producer of linoleum.

The iconic industrial landmark which is to be demolished

The Nairn Linoleum Style Show

A 1940s publication about Nairn linoleum. Amazing designs. Think I might try and produce some quilted designs based on these patterns.

Made in Kirkcaldy

Just found these vintage films about linoleum manufacture in Kirkcaldy - Fine Floors and Made in Kirkcaldy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


Well there's a strange thing.  I was thinking about how I should resurrect my blog to record my art projects and signed in to make a post.  What did I find?  Not much as its nearly been a year since I last posted!  So what has kept me from posting?  Many things including me signing up for an art and design course,  something I have wanted to do for years but like my blogging have always found reasons to put off.  However unlike my blog my art has progressed at a more successful rate and I am about to complete my first project - Canopies, Contrasts, Curves and Contours.

Canopies, Contrasts, Curves and Contours

In a couple of weeks project number two will begin and I am starting to feel quite excited about it. I've even bought a new sketch book.  I decided some weeks ago on a theme. Well if I'm honest the idea just sort of popped into my head one Saturday morning whilst having a long lie in.  I don't know where it came from but there it was unfurling like a roll of linoleum - yes LINOLEUM!  And because the project is going to require some research I thought it might be a nice idea to record it in a blog.