Art at the Mill at Taynish NNR



Taynish Art Trail 2017

Artmap Argyll artists – Kirsty Brady;   Melanie Chimelewska;   Margaret Ker;  Kate MacDonald & Alexander  Hamilton;  Louise
Oppenheimer;   Jane Smith;  Jane Walker – were joined by invited Glasgow  artists Tom Allan & Pauline Muir to create art installations at the SNH Taynish Nature Reserve at Tayvallich, Argyll.

This is the 40th anniversary year for this well-loved National Nature Reserve.   Coincidentally, Artmap celebrates 10 years since inception.
This is a lively collection of art work with a diverse use of materials & media, & showcases a full repertoire of many skills & talents.

The craft of the weaver, printmaker, painter, sculptor, ceramicist, textile & glass artist mix with conceptual, imaginative works set within a spatial, historical & expressive context.  Many themes & objectives are applied. The dynamics of fire, science, water, energy, movement, texture & technology with sound are considered.  Some of the artwork is animated by references to poetry & folklore of the area.  At the site of the old mill, Jane Smith exhibits a collection of reproduction prints which illustrates the work she made during her time as Taynish Artist in Residence 2016-2017.

Most of the work is site specific, some of it is interactive.  Lay in a hammock – listen to a thrush tapping ‘the anvil’ – stand in a doorway – leave your thoughts in a notebook – walk the labyrinth.

The art trail is in place from 24th May until 30th September 2017. It is cost free & open to public with all ability & easy walking access to & from the mill. There is information by way of a map at the start of the walk adjacent to the car park.

The art work is for sale, open to commission or priced on application to the artist.






















A YEAR OF ARTWORK AT TAYNISH NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE. Jane Smith talks about her year as Artist in Residence.

“Our village is a cluster of houses around an Argyll sea loch. On the far side of the bay are some oak trees – quite a lot of them. There are paths through the trees and up over the hills to wonderful views of the wooded peninsula and the sea-lochs that surround it. We sometimes take this place for granted as it’s always been there. In fact it’s been there for nearly ten thousand years.

In the last 40 years since Taynish became a National Nature Reserve, more and more visitors have arrived to visit our woodland. Three years ago SNH started an Art Trail with installations through the reserve, leading to a poet’s seat. The poems and comments left there have helped us all see our woodland through the eyes of others and appreciate it more.

With this in mind, in 2016 SNH offered me the job of Artist in Residence for a year. I am a wildlife artist, and have worked and exhibited across the UK, but like many of us, have paid less attention to the familiar sights on my own doorstep. Part of my job was to run art workshops and bring new people to the woods, but I myself learned as much about Taynish as the visitors. I was then able share what I had seen with a wider audience through my artwork.

END OF WINTER Acrylic and crayon

The proximity of oak woods and sea is what makes Taynish so interesting, affording unusual views such as the combination of gannets and oak trees. I enjoy the shapes and colours of winter when the cloak of green leaves has gone, but there is also the promise of renewal, as fat oak buds lie dormant, waiting for the warmer weather.




Moisture-laden air from the Atlantic dumps plenty of rain on the coast here, and the Gulf Stream current ensures that the temperature never drops below freezing for long. This warm, wet atmosphere means that many mosses, lichens and ferns grow on the oak trees in this Celtic Rainforest. The micro-jungle in the branches shelters many insects – good food for all the birds which live here.


Handmade screen print 3/4
Swallows build their nests in the old farm buildings of Taynish House. They gather beakfuls of mud from puddles and mix it with dry grass to make their cup-shaped nests. They feed their young on the rich supply of insects produced by the reserve. If the weather is good they can raise two broods of chicks before heading south on their 6 week journey to Africa for the winter.




AUTUMN VISITORS – FIELDFARES Hand made screen print.

In October the north wind brings Scandinavian raiders to plunder the autumn berries in Taynish. Fieldfares are thrushes, but bigger and seemingly more fierce than our Song Thrush or Blackbird. These impressive birds arrive in their hordes, perhaps as did the Viking invaders of old. It only takes them a few days to strip all the Rowan trees of their berries, and then they move on.

If you are interested in seeing more of the artwork from the project visit Jane’s blog at or follow her on Instagram.
For more information about Taynish National Nature Reserve go to or make a visit there yourself.



Artmap Argyll – Art at the Mill at Taynish NNR

For the second summer running, Taynish NNR will host a free outdoor art trail along the all ability Mill path, all the way down to the shore.  A collaboration with the artists’ organisation Artmap Argyll and Scottish Natural Heritage sees the siting of some 19 artworks open from Tuesday 26 May.

Experience the extraordinary natural habitats, seashore and landscape at NNR Taynish and see how 14 artists have interpreted a diverse range of materials and thematic approaches to place artworks in a variety of settings.  Walk around Margaret Ker’s earthwork “Labyrinth” listening to a surround sound of bird song, or see her precious delicate wire “Nest” placed on the forest floor.  Melanie Chmielewska’s surprise stone seal visitor pops its head up in the fresh water pond. There are stunning glass artworks this year – Lucinda Hopkinson’s Fish and Dragonfly are an array of colour amidst water lilies; gaze upwards through Karen Liversedge’s clear etched glass rod inspired by a timeline sample of the earth or see Kirsty Brady’s subtle glass panel of “Meadow Flowers” and find if you can her cast fungi.  In the Mill itself, David Bracken’s larger than life wooden tools invisibly echo the former use of the building, quietly placed. A successful collaboration between Sara Qualter and Bill Baillie sees a memorable series of atmospheric photographs, full of stillness. Fraser MacIver’s expert expressive monochrome studies of the Piggery and the Gothic Dairy suggests that history doesn’t stand still, complementing Louise Oppenheimer’s “Grist for the Mill 1 and 2” weavings, cleverly installed into the Mill building and inspired by the grains that would have been ground there in the past.  Digital images of paintings are displayed from Jane Smith and Caroline Plummer.   Jane Walker’s small family of roe deer, watch us quietly as we drift under the spell of this extraordinary nature reserve.  “Flight” Mosaic and ceramic tree house by Lesley Burr’s are allegories for the place as a sanctuary and a place of freedom and beauty.

Many of the artworks are for sale.  For price details and information or go to to download an exhibition leaflet.

The exhibition is open from 26th May until 29th September 2016, is completely free and is open at all times.  SNH Art at the Mill is No 35 on the Red Dot Studio trail during the annual Open Studios weekend 26th to 29st August 2016

Art at the Mill List of works 2016 (1)


IMG_0303    IMGP5892

IMGP5894    taynish group

2016 Art trail - leaflet in numerical order pale - final - trifold v5 (A1953436)    IMGP5893