printing on the edge

Edginess in all its forms was what we were promised, and Printing on the Edge is what we got! Ten days on the northwestern coast in Scotland in a lighthouse with a group of rocking women artists was bliss to begin with. But wait, it gets better.

Rua Reidh Lighthouse

Led, encouraged, tough-loved and humored by Women’s Studio Workshop co-founders Tatiana Keller and Ann Kalmbach, we tackled printmaking, papermaking and artist books.

Dramatic scenery inspired our work, while Susan Fateh’s seamless coordination of seemingly everything and sumptuous home cooking fueled our creativity.

Never mind that it literally never gets completely dark there at this time of year, we were too engaged to sleep. Even counting sheep didn't help much.

Our neighbors at the lighthouse

Inspiration came at us from all directions. Weather in many shades of grey, expansive views of sea, rolling hills of heather, tiny wildflowers, craggy cliffs, and tide pools teeming with jellied shell creatures. An afternoon at Inverewe Gardens provided enough imagery to work with for years.

Tide pool

If you’re ever looking for an unusual adventure, go. Our hosts and hostel owners, Roger and Tracy McLachlan, were extremely gracious as we converted their conservatory to our printmaking studio. Rua Reidh Lighthouse is a historical gem, cozy where it counts, and the perfect base for long walks on the edge. You never know what will show up in the water – we spied an otter, grey seal, ships, sailboats, and a nuclear submarine.

Most of all, it was a privilege to soak up the company of the women in our group. Thank you, Alke, Ann, Bev, Halide, Leslie, Ling, Lucy, Susan, and Tana for a memorable and cherished experience. And thank you, Ian, for this gift.

Lucy Gans, Beverly O'Mara, Leslie Fedorchuk, Kelly O'Brien, Halide Salam, Alke Groppel-Wegener (image: Women's Studio Workshop)

As each evening’s pair of artist talks unfolded, we swam in stories of lives richly and thoughtfully lived, now reflected in layered, accomplished art. Our little “exhibition” at retreat’s end was a celebration of our collective output, attended by our hosts and a couple of German hikers that we lured in off the trail that passes by the lighthouse.