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An artist who creates textiles to explore the ‘fabric’ of a place has just been appointed as Artist in Residence for a Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership project.

Clara Elliot is a Scotland-based artist whose work aims to reflect the relationship between landscapes, people and ecology. With a background in art history and landscape architecture, her work takes an interdisciplinary approach, using a range of textile techniques to explore the ‘fabric’ of a place. As artist in residence she will be focussing on red deer and their relationship to the landscapes and communities of Coigach and Assynt.

An example of Clara’s work.

Clara will be an artist-in-residence in the true sense of term, staying in a studio in Glencanisp owned by the Assynt Foundation to accommodate both visiting artists and those living more locally as they go through their creative processes. She plans to use the time to meet local people and explore the area, looking at how the interactions between the red deer and people shape their lives and the landscape. The Assynt Foundation is currently exploring a number of venues in which to display finished works, including, appropriately, an old deer larder.

Commenting on her appointment, Clara said: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity to develop my practice and the premise of the residency taps into an important issue facing us today; namely the relationship between people and the natural world. In a time of climate change and biodiversity loss, we are being asked to look again at the dynamics between humans, other species and the landscapes we inhabit. I’ll be using textiles to explore these complex relationships during my residency, using configurations of thread to make visible the ways in which the red deer, people and local landscapes are entangled.’
The Assynt Foundation was originally set up to manage the community buyout of 18,000 hectares of land in the area. It aims to manage its land and associated assets for the benefit of the community and the public in general as an important part of the protection and sustainable development of Scotland’s natural environment.

The residence project feeds into this by engaging folk in Coigach & Assynt, as well as visitors, through actively participating in creating and expressing the ideas and concepts brought to the Scheme by the chosen artists. It also aims to enhance and develop Coigach & Assynt as a place for artistic and creative activity, to bring together the many creative people living in the area, and engage people in different and original ways of thinking about, interpreting and understanding the living landscape of this area.

Nigel Goldie, of the Assynt Foundation, explained ‘The distinctive feature of these residencies to specify a topic area of relevance to both the CALLP scheme and the wider community and to provide the artist with access to the means to produce an art work of lasting value’

Workshops for schools and adults will be taking places as part of the residency, and members of the public are welcome to come along to hear about Clara’s project and to make work of their own. More information about these events will be published soon, and will need to conform with whatever Covid-19 restrictions are in place at the time.

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Sue Walker

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