Dundee meets the Dalai Lama …and our city is featured as a fashion hotspot in Grazia Magazine !

Last week 2 things happened in Dundee that caused quite a furore, a good furore!

1st thing – Dundee gets recognised  as a “Fashion Hot Spot” in fashion bible Grazia ! In terms of perception of the city, believe me this is a very good thing whether you read Grazia or not.  With the help of my good friend Nadine, I played my PR part in helping the journo put her edit of places together.  We treated our journo to a fine time in Dundee, she had her hair cut and coloured at McIntyres Salon on Union Street which she said was a “fantastic experience”, visited the DCA, stopped by my current favourite store ‘Spex Pistols’ at Westport and even made it through to Broughty Ferry to see the spurt of new independent shops there.  (not sure how to make this image bigger, drop me a line if want me to email you the PDF version)

Dundee…as seen in Grazia magazine

Grazia cover – The Scottish Issue


Dundee Shares its Brightest Talent

Its been quite some time since I posted!  Xmas last year to be precise which is quite embaressing. Life got a bit complicated and  the blogging thoughts were pushed clean out of my head.

But the combination of brighter Springtime evenings, reading the brilliant (and regular) posts of fellow local blogger www.thebusythistle.com and attending Dundee’s Art School Graduate Degree show last night have co-erced me into breathing life back into the beautifuldundee blog.

The annual Duncan of Jordanstone Degree Show opening night has a great reputation in the city. Theres a palpable buzz in the air up and down the Perth Road (where you can find the art school ) as visitors take  the opportunity to wander around the halls, taking in the students course work and inspirations and enjoying the offer of a cup of wine here and there.

My friend Sooz (a former Interior Design student from the art school) and I have started a tradition of buying a piece of art direct from the Students each year.

This is a lithograph my husband and I bought at the 2011 Degree Show , by Edinburgh based artist Daniel Cook

Artist-Daniel Cook, Duncan of Jordanstone, 2011

And below an amazing painting we have by artist Aimee Henderson, originally from Carnoustie who studied Fine Art at at DJCAD.  Aimee went onto be nominated by the Royal Scottish Academy as a New Contemporary Artist and will soon be studying for her MA at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London but is spending this summer painting and selling some of her art work.  You can contact Aimee about the work she has available to sell via her website www.aimeehenderson.com

Artist-Aimee Henderson, Duncan of Jordanstone, 2011

And these are the paintings we bought last night by artist Katie Ward.  We cant wait to get them home once the degree show week has finished and hang them up in the living room. I absolutely love them.

Artist-Katie Ward-Duncan of Jordanstone, 2012

check out www.ignitedundee.com for details of the 2012 Duncan of Jordanstone Graduate show which is on until 27th May. Admission free.

Champagne & Onions in Broughty Ferry

If you happen to be looking for an enchanting and atmospheric evening befitting of the night before Hogmanay, this promises to be one of those.  Acclaimed Irish solo guitarist,  Mark Anthony McGrath will be playing his album ‘Champagne and Onions’  on Friday 30th Dec at the Grade 2 listed ‘Masonic Hall’ in Broughty Ferry.

Mark McGrath plays Broughty Ferry 30.12.11

If you re a fan of classical guitar or indeed not had an opportunity to listen to live classical guitar before, Mark plays on  6 and 13 string guitars, (one of which was made for him by craftsman William Kelday of Campsie Glen) and creates music that seems to cast a soporific spell over his audiences.

‘Champagne and Onions’ is Mark’s fourth solo album and features original compositions alongside traditional Scottish music including the curiously cheery “Neil Gow’s Lament for his Second Wife” and “The High Drive” the famous reel by the late great Pitlochry piper, Gordon Duncan.

A characterful figure around Broughty Ferry, Mark is a former  guitar instructor for Dundee and Angus Schools and lives in Ireland or wherever the music takes him!

You can listen to a free downloads of McGraths music here. Hope to see you there.

I have all of Mark’s CD’s and they are brilliant.

Celebrate a year of ‘Champagne and Onions’ and other delicacies on 6 & 13 string guitars at the Masonic Hall, 152 Brook St, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Friday  Dec 30th @ 8pm.Adm ₤7/5 .  Bar at venue.

Dundee rewards creativity !

2012 has been announced by the Scottish Government as the “Year of Creative Scotland” with a £6.5 million investment boost for creative culture. And acting as official host for the year  will be neighbouring St. Andrew’s.

So with “creative” being the buzz word for 2012, its encouraging to learn that Dundee Council has been putting its money where its mouth is with the annual “Craft Makers: Dundee Award” . This year the prize money of up to £1500 has been awarded to Nikki McWilliams Design, who has decided to use the money to display her homewares brand at trade show Top Drawer in January where she’ll be unveiling some new designs.

Dundee designer Nikki McWilliams who phoned her mum and put the kettle on when she heard she had been awarded the Dundee Craft Makers Award

Nikki’s designs have been popping up everywhere and I’m very taken with the nostalgic biscuit inspired home accessories. If Santa’s listening Im rather in love with the Bourbon cushions !

Tunnocks Teacake Cushion

Bourbon Biscuit Cushion

Nikki and her elves are working up to the last minute and will be taking orders up til midnight on Wed 21st December for guaranteed next day delivery.

Cup Of Tea Print

All of Nikki’s work is handmade from start to finish in Scotland, using locally sourced materials and resources, a design belief thats very important to her.

Buyers from places like John Lewis, Liberty, Anthropologie and http://www.notonthehighstreet.com will be scouring the Top Drawer trade show for new designs to fill up their shelves. Get in on the action and buy direct from Nikki while we still can.

Pat Douthwaite’s Story

Pat Douthwaite is a celebrated Scottish artist (that I hadnt heard of before), until I got chatting with the owners of Gallery Q. Douthwaite’s story has stayed with me, as has this playful but melancholy drawing of hers which you can currently see if you pay a visit to this long-standing contemporary art gallery in Dundee.

Skye Knitter, Pat Douthwaite – The Q Gallery, Dundee

Around 2002, Glaswegian born Douthwaite took a liking to Dundee and decided she wanted to live in Broughty Ferry. She got to know the owners of Gallery Q (then known as The Queens Gallery) and to their delight suggested she give the gallery a show of her work. It was an exhibition never realised, as she died in Dundee of ill health that Summer aged 62. Gallery owners Joyce and Peter have owned “Skye Knitter” for some years now and only occasionally hang it in the gallery, so make a point of going to see it if you can.

A retrospective of Douthwaite’s work appeared at The Scottish Gallery recently, I wish I had seen it.

Final Instructions Before Take Off, Pat Douthwaite, 1976
Copyright Ferens Art Gallery / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Belle Starr, Pat Douthwaite, 1979
Death of Amy Johnson, Pat Douthwaite, 1976

Read Pat Douthwaite’s Scotsman obituary here

Gallery Q, Dundee, are participants in the Own Art scheme which allows 10 monthly interest free payments for any artwork.  Or think about investing in art you love from new and emerging artists at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Degree Show, which takes place every summer, and was recently voted Best Educational Event of the Year at the 2011 UK Event Awards.

Shop Happy, Shop Local !

This year Im not feeling at all tempted by all the shiny Christmas catalogues dropping through the letterbox or the blah blah emails from Amazon or Gap. I want to spend my money on original things in welcoming independent shops and and with local designers. It feels nicer. Here’s where I’m heading this week !

Wed 30th Nov – Mohair – the most stylish boutique in Broughty Ferry in my opinion, are having a special shopping evening from 5.30 pm with discounts and drinks on offer. Everyone welcome. I actually love this shop, everything about it from the designers stocked to the old vintage trunks in the windows is chic, chic, chic. Owner Mhairi has a great eye and gives brilliant customer service. I rarely see my favourite fragrance brand Miller Harris outside of the big shopping capitals, but Mohair stocks a full selection of all the Miller Harris scents and candles. These would make the best Christmas present EVER – Fleur Oriental (in the deep red box) is a beautiful sexy warm scent. Couer de Fleur (yellow box) my best ever summer fragrance, and Im testing out the new Pluie, inspired by a rainstorm in India. Also in store is a well selected selection of the ‘cool girls’ favourite jewellery Alex Monroe and a myraid of other soft, pretty, elegant, sophisticated items of lovelyness. Mohair, 146 King Street, Broughty Ferry. 01382 737 359. www.facebook.com

Friday – I ll be going along to the WASPS Studio at 18 Airlie Place, DD1 4HJ to pour over the work of over 40 designers who will have their work on sale from Friday 2nd to Saturday 3rd December. Music and mulled wine are promised as well as a chance to chat with the designers themselves.   www.facebook.com

Sunday 4th December at the Queens Hotel in Dundee is a one off visit from Funk Fair , usually based in Edinburgh. A collection of well vetted vintage dealers with clothes, jewellery, furniture and collectibles on sale. Dealers include Gladrags of Forfar, The Frockery, Kate Pickering of Vanilla Ink Studios in Dundee, Kathleen of The Sassy Hatter in Brechin and Jody from Falkland !
11am – 4pm. Entry £1. www.facebook.com/funkfair

Bunty and Bella’sBig Boutique Bash is happening on Sunday too! Along at Maggie’s Centre at Ninewells this is always worth a visit. Cakes and tea and designers on site. www.facebook.com

Thats a hell of a lot of shopping to be done. Updates and pics on purchases to follow…

For anyone not able to make it along to these shopping events, check out the online shopping boutique based in Dundee www.rubylovesred.com which stocks a huge variety of young, new brands and independent designers.


Mohair, Broughty Ferry


Miller Harris collection at Mohair, Broughty Ferry

Final post from pecha kucha tonight

Now we have Louise Ritchie who is throwing balls at the audience to illustrate how much juggling a visual artist has to do …


Real time blogging when you’re not near a plug spells disaster , laptop battery down and I phone not far behind it do will wrap up to say this has been fun. Interesting people with exciting and honest stories to tell. Sorry if the continual emails tonight have been annoying and thank-you for reading.
In summary i ve enjoyed an really
experience which shines a light on thought provoking people and their stories.

Sign up for pecha kucha 2 taking place next year. Details soon on http://www.creativedundee.com