Paperlove comes to Bute!   Three years ago a group of us met through ‘Paperlove’, an online course run by Rachel Hazell, a book artist living in Edinburgh.  Through the course’s Facebook page some of us grew to know each other and form friendships; and some have met at Paperlove and Alumni workshops, or while on our travels.  This is remarkable when you consider that members of our group live in Canada, US, New Zealand and places in between; who would have guessed something so wonderful would come from an online course?!

And it was during one such meet in London that four of us reignited the idea of a gathering. But where could we meet?   We thought of one of our members: Ruth Slater has her own artist’s studio on the Isle of Bute, it would be the perfect place to share our love of art and creativity. And we were so excited when we put the idea forward and Ruth said ‘yes’!

Ruth gathered information about accommodation and we shared the news on our Facebook page.  What happened next was just amazing, because it seemed others were just as keen to meet up as we were!  What’s more, they were coming from New Zealand, Canada, Amsterdam, France, Sweden, California, Denmark, and UK!  And so, over the months, we have drawn up plans, booked flights and accommodation, and now we are counting sleeps!

From 1st August we will spend 3 wonderful days with Ruth, in her studio at Ballianlay, home of Bute School of Art.  We have a schedule planned to make the most of our time together, and we will be sketching, printing, making books, eco dyeing, walking, exploring the beach, and so much more. Ruth has kindly organized trips for us, to Mount Stuart and St Blanes. Some of us are bringing husbands or family, and there is talk of the men meeting up while we are busy in the studio.  They will join us for evening meals and for one or two of our excursions. Restaurants are booked, excitement is growing!

From a personal perspective, I am excited to be visiting Bute.  I have a strong pull towards the sea and quiet, open space.  Add to that beautiful views, a warm welcome, and wonderful places to explore – this will be my perfect road trip!  Unlike the rest of our group who have booked accommodation to suit everyone’s individual need, we have our own, and we look forward to glorious views of sunrise from the window of our campervan. I am told that finding places to park overnight are easy, and when we camp wild we are always respectful of the environment and towards those who live there.  We are discrete, leave no trace, and love the freedom that a small campervan gives us.  Packing will be carefully thought about, because I will be bringing art materials, sketchbooks, a journal and of course my camera!  But at least I am not packing a suitcase and travelling from the other side of the world.  We will be there soon Bute – and we can’t wait!!