The Scotland Connection


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When I travel, I enjoy bringing home small keepsakes to remind me of my adventures. An easy way to memorialize the trip is to create art from postcards from each country. On this trip, with Edinburgh as my home base, I looked for postcards that represented the fascinating city. As my sister and I browsed in different shops, I checked out the postcards for sale. However, nothing really captured my interest.

I was looking for the Scotland connection, a link between Edinburgh and my interests. As we waited to enter the Museum Context, I spied a small artistic shop next door, called The Red Door Gallery. How grateful I am that I stepped inside!

The Scotland Connection Title Meme

The Red Door Gallery

This delightful shop, established in 2003 and located at 42 Victoria Street in Edinburgh, showcases artwork from Edinburgh and UK based artists. The Red Door Gallery offers a large assortment of artists prints, homewares, jewelry and CARDS.

Suddenly I went from not having the right options to having too many! I’d been so busy looking at postcards that I almost missed an opportunity to purchase greeting cards featuring the artwork of local artists. I quickly located a dozen cards that appealed to me, that offered the Scotland connection I desired.

As a bonus, the cards easily tucked into my carry on. I can’t bring home a bunch of souvenirs, when I travel, which is perfect. The small space helps me to decide what’s most important.

The Scotland Connection Haul
My treasures from the trip: Maitland tartan pieces, Maitland Clan Badge, kilt pin, art cards, small keychains, dated thistle Christmas ornament and a jacket that I had to wear home.
The Scotland Connection David Fleck Art Cards
Cards by artist David Fleck. David grew up in Edinburgh and now creates from Glasgow.

Inspired Art

Back home, I studied my art cards, eager to create. (Check out my previous postcard art.) I chose the watercolor and ink art cards by David Fleck as my first project.

Previously I purchased frames from Michael’s Craft Store to hold postcards from Italy, Scotland and England. This time, I wanted to be more creative. Daily I looked at my cards as I sought inspiration. And each day ended without a solid idea. Finally, as I clicked off the light one night, an amazing flash of creativity arrived. I turned the light back on.

Interestingly, during this same time, ideas simmered on the back burner of my mind for another creative project. That night, the two projects merged into one.

The Scotland Connection Vintage Chair
The chair my grandfather made, literally falling apart.
Vintage Chair Unassembled
The chair, carefully disassembled.

My Grandfather’s Chair

In 2014 my sister, the same one who accompanied me to Scotland, passed on to me a couple of vintage chairs made in the 1950s, by my paternal grandfather. The chairs underwent numerous repairs over the years. When I received them, one of the chairs needed extensive work to make it usable. (You can read about the restoration here.)

However five years later, this old chair is literally falling apart, due to exposure to weather. I considered throwing the chair away, but it’s one of the few keepsakes that I have from this grandfather, who passed away when I was just five years old. What could I make from it?

Last week inspiration provided an answer. Repurpose the chair into a frame…for the David Fleck art cards.

With Greg’s help, I disassembled the chair, piece by piece. The worn and weathered wood provided the material for a unique frame, a work of art in itself.

The Scotland Connetion Frame
From chair…to whimsical frame. I love that the arms of the chair became the sides of the frame.
Finished Repurposed Frame
Something new from something old.

Something New from Something Old

As I studied the pieces and tried out different frame styles, the finished work came together almost on its own. Suddenly the arms of the chair naturally became the sides of the frame. The 120 year old lath slats, which aren’t original to the chair but came from a remodel in my own house, created the back. And two dowel rods that formed the back of the chair perfectly divided the art cards, creating a window pane effect.

I’m grateful for Greg’s help in repurposing the chair into the frame. He used a variety of tools to assemble the frame and I attached the cards. I used double sided tape to close the cards and rubber cement to attach them to the frame backing.

I love the imperfections in the old wood, the nail holes and fine cracks. They add to the charm of the frame and remind me of the wood’s original purpose.

Vintage Chair in 2014
The chair as it was in 2014, after extensive repairs.

The Scotland Connection

I’m so pleased with this frame that holds four of my art cards from Edinburgh. The cards depict scenes throughout the old city, from the castle high upon its rock to the closes (alleyways) that offer shortcuts through town to the Hot Air Balloon event from 1785. One card, called Seek, is for those with wanderlust. It captures the Highlands north of Edinburgh. I love these cards.

I appreciate this framed work of art for another reason. My grandfather who made the chair, Dennis Fleet Lauderdale, is the Scotland connection in my family, to the country that I so love. It’s through his line that I trace my way to the Maitland Clan. This chair that he crafted once held him and my father and most recently, me. It now holds these mementoes from the country that birthed our family.

I hung the framed cards in my bedroom, above a table with a quirky telephone lamp that Greg’s dad made, a photo of my Lauderdale grandparents on their wedding day, and a small lion statue. The Clan Maitland crest has a lion at its center and the Latin words, consilio et animis, “by wisdom and courage”.

As I worked, I asked my grandfather if he minded that I took apart his chair and created something new. I hoped not. Grandpa was, after all, a carpenter and enjoyed tinkering in his workshop. And I intend to create more frames from this chair and the second one that still rests in my garden.

He appeared in my mind as I last saw him, a kind man with a bit of stubble on his chin and merry eyes. He smiled. I don’t think he minds.

The Scotland Connection Vignette
Finished art piece.

 

Scottish Watercolor Print from Amazon

Get inspired with this watercolor of Scotland’s national flower, the thistle. Better yet, travel to this gorgeous country, find your own mementoes and create the Scotland connection!

 


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72 Replies to “The Scotland Connection”

  1. What amazing art! And I love the fact that you got something that was close to heart, your grandfather’s chair, and reorganized it to make it into something new: a picture frame.

  2. This is beautiful — what a tribute to your grandfather. I had a tear in my eye as I read this. It made me think of my grandfather and how I miss him so. He always had a twinkle in his eye. The artwork is beautiful and looks perfect above your table. I hope you smile each time you see it.

  3. The frame made from your grandfather’s chair is beautiful. Every time you look at it you will have memories of both your grandfather and your trip with your sister. Such a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing.

  4. A fantastic way to hold up two beautiful memories. I love the idea of selecting postcards or greeting cards from places you travel, and appreciate the idea of something other than pictures on the cards. These paintings are lovely ways to support a local artist and have a lasting memory of your trip! Reusing your grandfather’s chair was just brilliant. I can’t believe how well it came out!

  5. What a wonderful idea, Cindy! These are the creations that are so meaningful and inspirational. I love that you asked your grandfather if he minded that you take apart his chair, and I absolutely love how it all turned out!

  6. What a lovely idea! My husband and I are planning a trip to Northern Europe, with Scotland as one of our destinations, in just a few short years. I’ll have to add this little store to my list! I love that you’ve taken something from your grandfather and made it such a wonderful keepsake item.

  7. Holy cow, what an incredible way to remember your grandfather and enjoy the mementos from your trip. We LOVED Edinburgh and want to go back.

    We have a set of lockers (like from high school, with 4 across the top and 4 across the bottom) that we put stickers on from every country we go to. And we also chose them partly because they don’t take up much space in our luggage.

    1. I love having my stuff out where I can see and appreciate it, and yet not create clutter. I started the postcard art in 2017. And I love looking at those cards every day!

  8. That frame turned out great and what a perfect way to display those cards. I like how you mentioned that you didn’t get an idea right away, but when you did another idea that had been simmering merged. Isn’t this how things go sometimes? You know you want to do something, but you don’t always know exactly how or what, then bam… it hits you. Well you came up with a great idea for sure and it will bring you lots of smiles in the years to come.

  9. What a beautiful way to showcase your cards. Something I will look at for my ones I purchased in France. I was buying postcards also until I found some beautiful cards hand made/painted/drawn by local artists. I must do something like you have done. thank you for the inspiration. #SeniSal

  10. I used to collect postcards as kid when we traveled, but I stopped since I didn’t see a use for them anymore. I might have to rethink that!

  11. Scotland is one place I’ve always dreamt of visiting … after watching the Brave Heart that is :))))))) beautiful sentiment and absolutely love the flower watercolour paining!

  12. Now THAT was a beautiful story!!! I love how you took us on a journey of inspiration ~ your trip, your hobbies, your passion, your family history and then the product of love that came from all that.
    What a beautiful and meaningful piece of art you created.

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