Visit Scotland came to Travel Agent’s New York offices this week to share the tourism board's official theme for 2012: Creative Scotland will cover all aspects of the arts throughout the country, from the monthlong annual Edinburgh Fringe festival to small artisans in the Orkney Islands and everything in between.Two Scottish artists from different sides of the country, Sheila Fleet and Hazel Campbell, showed off their work: Fleet has been designing jewelry inspired by her Orkney Island home for 43 years. (The local waters, plants and light are all represented in her artwork, pictured right.) Some pieces even have runic words in the design, echoing the Islands’ Viking heritage. Visitors can come to her studio to customize their jewelry, using whatever metals and stones they like for a truly unique creation. Their piece is created while they wait. Campbell, meanwhile, creates original paintings at her home in Galloway in the southwest of Scotland, and teaches painting to visitors. She has converted her family’s old farm (four generations) into a studio, and offers sessions for people who want to create their own memento of their visit. (While guests cannot stay in her home, she can provide a list of nearby accommodations.) Even better, she also helps arrange activities for non-painters (say, the spouse of a student), including cycling or golfing excursions. “Two people can be happy if one paints,” she laughs, adding that bachelorette weekends are popular for aspiring artists.
Claire Dickson of Visit Scotland added that other events and activities will show off Scotland’s creative side throughout the year. For example, in August, the Speed of Light project will have runners in light suits jogging around Arthur’s Seat, creating a unique and decidedly human art installation: