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Discover Artistic Inspiration on the Isle of Bute

Bute is a haven for those seeking artistic inspiration or quiet contemplation. It’s miles of unspoilt countryside and rugged coastline have often prompted me want to take up a paintbrush and capture the scene, unfortunately my painting talents are rather rudimentary, perhaps better suited to giving the garden gate its annual coat of paint !! Thankfully, Bute has drawn many creative souls to its shores, and today we are proud to boast over 30 resident artists working across many mediums, from pottery to woodwork and painting.

A few years ago, these talented locals decided to get together and form the Isle of Bute Artists Collective, which in turn led to the creation of the annual Bute Artists Studio Trail. This delightful event combines a scenic tour around the island, peppered with visits to various studios and pop up galleries along the way….many with coffee and cakes too!! 🍰☕️

The trail features 26 venues dotted around the island. Starting from Rothesay, out to Port Bannatyne, then Ballainlay Farm and Meknoch Farm, on to Kingarth and Kilchattan Bay, before looping back to Rothesay via Montford and Craigmore. You can drive around the route or take a ride on the red open-topped bus which allows you to hop on and off at various stops or if you are feeling energetic, you could cycle round…although you might need a big basket on your bike to carry all the tempting purchases you will find along the way. I have included some details about the route and artists below, further information is available on the Bute Artists Collective website - https://www.butestudiotrail.com/static/pdfs/brochure2024.pdf

Many local artists paint, drawing inspiration from the surrounding scenery and wildlife. Their works, ranging from abstract to traditional, form a glorious array of creative talent, ensuring something to appeal to every taste.

The island is also home to several talented textile artists. Add style to your wardrobe with unique clothing and fabulous hats, or revamp your home decor with gorgeous cushions. For a bold statement piece, consider the work of our incredibly skilled furniture reupholsterers. Elspeth McVey from Ascog Farm even uses wool from her own sheep to craft beautiful hand-knitted items.

Lovers of natural woodwork will be delighted with the displays of furniture and homewares created from local materials. One of these talented craftsmen, Tim Saul, also owns Brechins Café in Rothesay, where you can admire his amazing woodwork while enjoying a cuppa and a delicious wholemeal scone.☕️

Jewellery, ceramics, and stunning fused glass works are just some of the other artistic delights to be found on the trail. Each venue offers a unique glimpse into the creativity flourishing on the island.

On your way to Seaview Cottage you will pass Ballainlay Farm, home to Ruth Slater a wonderful local artist, whose work is on display on the wall at Seaview Cottage – her delightful donkey painting greets you as you enter the kitchen, and in the cards and maps we provide in our welcome packs. Each of the rooms in the cottage have a feature chair, all of which were beautifully reupholstered by another local artist, Susan Myler.

The Isle of Bute studio Trail is rather like a treasure hunt. As you follow the map to each destination you will be rewarded with an array of artistic treasures. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply fancy an interesting day out, the Isle of Bute offers a wealth of inspiration. The annual Bute Artists Studio Trail provides the perfect opportunity to explore the island’s artistic side, meet local artists, and perhaps even take home a piece of Bute’s charm.

Taking place over two days, 20th and the 21st of July, it is a ‘must add’ to your diary.