Built by the 3rd Earl of Egremont in 1750, Marchmont House was in poor condition before a recent 7 year project to restore the Palladian mansion in the Scottish Borders to its former glory. At the helm of this renaissance was Hugo Burge, who made his fortune in the online travel booking industry and has a long-held love of craftsmanship and woodwork inspired by a teacher at school. As such it is only fitting that the latest exhibition which opens on 3 August, is a rich and fascinating celebration of wood. Organised in collaboration with Visual Arts Scotland, The Scottish Gallery and Craft Scotland, Conversations in Wood showcases contemporary makers using wood within their process from across the Scotland and beyond. One of the featured artists, QEST Scholar and wood-turner Eleanor Lakelin is renowned for her stunning vessels and sculptures carved and chiselled from wood. She says, “I peel back bark to reveal the organic chaos that can exist in the material itself and build up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting. I use the vessel form and surface pattern to explore the layers and fissures between creation and decay and the erosion of nature.”
Eleanor’s sculptural objects are created using a traditional woodworking lathe and centuries-old chisels and gouges alongside modern carving techniques. A deep knowledge and a passionate interest in the natural properties of wood result in forms that seem true to the spirit of the material and which encourage us to look at the complexities of nature with a new perspective. Her work is rooted in the rhythm of growth, the eroding power of the elements and the passing of time. Her use of, and focus on, the raw properties of the material remind viewers of our elemental and emotional bond with wood and our relationship to the earth.
‘Conversations in Wood’ is open 3-5 August – www.marchmonthouse.com