American Craft Council: Scotland - The High Road to Craft

16th May 2012

By Laura Anderson

Read the online (short version) here

Fàilte gu Alba – Welcome to Scotland.

So says the sign that greets you when you cross the border on the major road from England into Scotland, a land rich in contemporary and historic craft. The work goes well beyond kilts and cashmere; here you will find more than 3,000 makers working across the craft spectrum, from jewelry to wood, ceramics to textiles, cutting-edge design to rapid proto­typing. In Scotland you can explore a thriving craft scene amid a dramatic landscape – oh, and sample a few whiskies along the way.

Start your journey in the scenic border county of Dumfries and Galloway. If you’re there in early June, you won’t want to miss the annual Spring Fling open-studios tour. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the tour; a special program of events includes exhibitions at Gracefield Arts Centre, a popular gallery in the area.

From here, make your way to Ayrshire, birthplace of Robert Burns and home county of West Kilbride, also known as Craft Town Scotland. The first town to be so designated, West Kilbride supports makers from silversmiths to textile artists, who open their studios to the public during the week. Craft Town Scotland also has a craft exhibition and activities center, and was recently named one of Scotland’s “Creative Places” by Creative Scotland, a national nonprofit group that invests in Scottish arts, film, and other creative enterprises.