Dramatic landscapes inspire artists and designers showcasing their work

More than 300 participants have thrown their doors open to the public for the North East Open Studios event.

More than 300 artists and designers are showcasing their work as they throw open their doors to the public.

The North East Open Studios (NEOS) event is now in its 20th year, featuring everything from fashion inspired by the Cairngorms mountain range, to jewellery designed to match the rugged Aberdeenshire coastline.

People can visit the homes and studios of artists based from Montrose to Forres and everywhere in between until Sunday.

The event is one of the largest of its kind in Scotland and, after beginning in 2003, has grown to almost five times its original size.

Chairperson Lynne Staples-Scott told STV News: “It’s astonishing. Every year we get more and more people applying to be part of NEOS.

“This year we have 55 new artists taking part, which just goes to show creative talent is alive and kicking here. There is something about the atmosphere here, about the light, about the whole landscape and geography – it’s a very creative area.”

And it’s exactly that – the landscape.

Most of the artists take inspiration from elements of the north east in their designs.

Laura Sherriffs, who makes bags and accessories under Fernweh UK, said: “All my work is inspired by the outdoors around about here. The Cairngormes colour palette and the coastal scenery as well, I find it quite inspiring, it’s a very beautiful place we live in, and I like to explore that.”

Anoter person taking part in the event is Megan Falconer, who makes jewellery inspired by the coast.

“I think it’s just the ruggedness of it and the natural beauty and it’s always changing,” she said.

“I quite like that the pieces that I make, the texture. One piece is never the same as the piece before, so it’s always quite different even though they are maybe the same design, but they are always going to look a bit unique to each other.”

Helen Green Smith makes scarves and accessories under her brand Helen Ruth Scarves.

It’s her first time participating in the Open Studios event, but some of her scarves are sold as far away as Canada.

She said: “It’s really exciting to be recognised not just by people locally enjoying your work but people all over the world.

“When they see something that they like and value it’s very exciting.

“My imagery is all very inspired by nature but a little bit infused with fairy tales and folklore, so it all looks pretty and bright on the surface but there will be something lurking in there that’s a bit darker.”

The North East Open Studios event runs all week until Sunday.

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