Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Through the Keyhole - Barbara Macleod

Jeweller Barbara Macleod moved back to the small west coast, highland village of Lochinver after doing a degree in jewellery and metalwork design at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee, in the summer of 2007. Barbara has been designing and making work which has been selling through various galleries and outlets across the country with the aid of a start up grant from the Scottish Arts Council. The village and general area attracts many tourists seeking rough and rugged, untouched wilderness over the summer months. Whilst studying away for 4 years, Barbara started to pine for this too and it seemed like the natural thing to do, to move back and set up her workshop. "I find the scenery and general pace of life really beneficial for my imagination to flourish".

The village of Lochinver used to thrive with fishing and crofting industries, which are now sadly dwindling. However, there are some people keeping these traditional activities alive, including Barbara's father who has been crofting for almost 50 years. The fact that her family has lived in the area for 100s of years, means that Barbara feels like she has a bit of a tie to the place. Barbara says, "I think it`s important to cling on to as much "identity" as you can, especially in this day and age where everything is becoming so homoginized due to the greed of mass superstores/business. With this traditional way of life, I live with a sense of a bygone era, which is probably why with my work I`m so drawn to and inspired by decorative patterns, textiles, and architectural features from the past".

Barbara and her partner live in an old crofting cottage which they are renting from Barbara's parents until they are able to start building their own house, hopefully next year. With it being an old build, Barbara finds it has plenty of character and enjoys the more traditional features and history of the house. "When I get to build my own house, I would very much like to incorporate some old traditional features, but in a contemporary way, so as not to just re hash old styles. I have my studio space in the house where I come up with design ideas".

In this rented accommodation, Barbara is not allowed full artistic license, but she has been allowed to partially decorate the bedroom with contemporary decorative wallpaper alongside old furniture and antique lace - combining the old with the new, which is really what her work is like. Barbara likes to take old decorative arts and execute them in a fresh contemporary way. She does this by mostly composing decorative patterns and shapes into new forms on the computer using vector illustration packages. She then uses a process of photo etching and enameling, with the use of gemstones to accentuate some features.

Barbara Macleod is exhibiting and selling her work at Made 08 in November.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

get in contact with me Barbara, you seem to be doing so well! Moira xxx