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Kim Howard

Published:

Creating My Scottish Nest

 

After several years of traveling between Idaho and Scotland, I have found my second studio/home on Thistle Street. The enchanting light and dark of Scotland’s landscape, history, culture, and remarkable people have brought me to the heart of Edinburgh. Here is where I created a beautiful nest on the top floor of a 200-year-old stonewalled building in a sun-dappled flat. I welcome and share my live/work studio for dinners with friends, teaching art, and seasonal rentals, in order that new stories can be inspired and instilled.

In 2014, I met Nora and Charles Gardener, a darling couple in their 80s, at a seaside church in the Kingdom of Fife. We became an extended family, sharing our love of art and nature at their cottage by the sea. In 2018, I was able to rent their studio flat on the oldest cobbled street in the New Town of Edinburgh. This was once a neighborhood of 18th-century workers, merchants, and elegant Georgian-style homes. During those months, I experienced many wonderous and creative interactions with the many storytellers and artists of this grand city. I found what Nora and Charles had found, an abundance of intellectual enrichment through literature and music festivals. My heart and independence flourished in Edinburgh. There was a harmonic balance between this capital city and the Fife cottage by the sea. Our shared understanding of and connection to nature empowered our passion for the history, art, and architecture surrounding us. 

Last summer, after Charles’ passing, the family offered me a chance to buy this precious “wee flat.”

Over the past 5 months, despite personal health issues and the complications of the pandemic, the flat underwent a magical transformation. Everything was gutted. I was lucky to find Peter Clarke, a brilliant artisan-builder, who worked steadily with me through the jumble of renovation to recreate this new abode.

We went from 1950s carpet and decor, including solid-bone-built-ins, to stunning dual-purpose cupboards, closet, and benches to bring in additional light with shiny new birch plywood, accented by rounds from oak trees and hundreds-year-old textile timbers.

Inside this tiny container of space, Nora had planned to collage all her ticket stubs on the walls, like wallpaper. By the way, Nora is an artist also! It felt sacred and was the idea behind all the envelopes I found hidden away in Charles’ cardboard box. Creating a little time capsule collage for this couple, which I will see every time I open the door into this studio’s loo, will honor Charles’ wicked wit and forever keep my memories of them both alive!

I love to acquire lost and forgotten finds from charity shops. Scottish pewter wine glasses, a seasoned pewter teapot, pewter creamer set, and even a pewter elephant piggy bank adorn my new-old timber shelves. Old curtains have been repurposed to fashion new pillowcases and cushions. Hand-sewn lampshades bring light and soul into the studio. The Thistle Street flat is my finest art installation, with everything thoughtfully crafted and presented with love.

Now, as I gratefully sit by my fireplace, gazing at this peaceful sanctuary that has been created with the craftsmen of the town, I look to the dusk sky over Edinburgh, knowing that I will continue creating new footsteps to traverse between this city, the seashores of Scotland, and my mountain home across the sea.

Art will be made, friends will come and go, guests will gather their own memories here, and I get to share it all to bring forth this reality from my heart. 

Art storage

Storage is important in small spaces. As if this were a camping van or boat, Peter created a raised storage space, setting the worktable to be bathed in the light of the day. Up to 5 friends can gather to break bread and share a supper of fellowship. This space can easily transform to be the artists’ sacred worktable.

Painting

Even a storyteller needs to relax with a day to learn a new skill of painting. After two years of global separation, it is my delight to connect with people in my new home, sharing love for nature, music, art, story, food, children as we learn to recreate community.

Community

Storytellers drop by and recite their poems and read their books to me while I sketch them.

Art-making

I have fully arrived in Edinburgh with this home, so that I no longer am living out of a suitcase. I can be rooted and create a larger body of work whilst abroad for at least half the year. It is wonderful that a rental next door allows students to jump back into studies with me, after a good night’s sleep, and allows shared excursions and meals if desired. It’s easy to do intensive art classes and to continue building upon my love of the storytellers of Scotland, painting them in their creative process, and being able to show my work at the Storytellers Centre. It is a gift of freedom to easily travel and grow into myself with my travel journaling guiding me into my next style of expression.

 

Kim invites you to enjoy her nest of creativity through PASS THE KEY’s short-term rental agency by contacting them through Airbnb and Booking.com at:

www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/551917384304456695

www.booking.com/hotel/gb/pass-the-keys-cosy-and-stylish-open-plan-studio-in-new-town.html?lang=en

Creating My Scottish Nest

 

After several years of traveling between Idaho and Scotland, I have found my second studio/home on Thistle Street. The enchanting light and dark of Scotland’s landscape, history, culture, and remarkable people have brought me to the heart of Edinburgh. Here is where I created a beautiful nest on the top floor of a 200-year-old stonewalled building in a sun-dappled flat. I welcome and share my live/work studio for dinners with friends, teaching art, and seasonal rentals, in order that new stories can be inspired and instilled.

In 2014, I met Nora and Charles Gardener, a darling couple in their 80s, at a seaside church in the Kingdom of Fife. We became an extended family, sharing our love of art and nature at their cottage by the sea. In 2018, I was able to rent their studio flat on the oldest cobbled street in the New Town of Edinburgh. This was once a neighborhood of 18th-century workers, merchants, and elegant Georgian-style homes. During those months, I experienced many wonderous and creative interactions with the many storytellers and artists of this grand city. I found what Nora and Charles had found, an abundance of intellectual enrichment through literature and music festivals. My heart and independence flourished in Edinburgh. There was a harmonic balance between this capital city and the Fife cottage by the sea. Our shared understanding of and connection to nature empowered our passion for the history, art, and architecture surrounding us. 

Last summer, after Charles’ passing, the family offered me a chance to buy this precious “wee flat.”

Over the past 5 months, despite personal health issues and the complications of the pandemic, the flat underwent a magical transformation. Everything was gutted. I was lucky to find Peter Clarke, a brilliant artisan-builder, who worked steadily with me through the jumble of renovation to recreate this new abode.

We went from 1950s carpet and decor, including solid-bone-built-ins, to stunning dual-purpose cupboards, closet, and benches to bring in additional light with shiny new birch plywood, accented by rounds from oak trees and hundreds-year-old textile timbers.

Inside this tiny container of space, Nora had planned to collage all her ticket stubs on the walls, like wallpaper. By the way, Nora is an artist also! It felt sacred and was the idea behind all the envelopes I found hidden away in Charles’ cardboard box. Creating a little time capsule collage for this couple, which I will see every time I open the door into this studio’s loo, will honor Charles’ wicked wit and forever keep my memories of them both alive!

I love to acquire lost and forgotten finds from charity shops. Scottish pewter wine glasses, a seasoned pewter teapot, pewter creamer set, and even a pewter elephant piggy bank adorn my new-old timber shelves. Old curtains have been repurposed to fashion new pillowcases and cushions. Hand-sewn lampshades bring light and soul into the studio. The Thistle Street flat is my finest art installation, with everything thoughtfully crafted and presented with love.

Now, as I gratefully sit by my fireplace, gazing at this peaceful sanctuary that has been created with the craftsmen of the town, I look to the dusk sky over Edinburgh, knowing that I will continue creating new footsteps to traverse between this city, the seashores of Scotland, and my mountain home across the sea.

Art will be made, friends will come and go, guests will gather their own memories here, and I get to share it all to bring forth this reality from my heart. 

Art storage

Storage is important in small spaces. As if this were a camping van or boat, Peter created a raised storage space, setting the worktable to be bathed in the light of the day. Up to 5 friends can gather to break bread and share a supper of fellowship. This space can easily transform to be the artists’ sacred worktable.

Painting

Even a storyteller needs to relax with a day to learn a new skill of painting. After two years of global separation, it is my delight to connect with people in my new home, sharing love for nature, music, art, story, food, children as we learn to recreate community.

Community

Storytellers drop by and recite their poems and read their books to me while I sketch them.

Art-making

I have fully arrived in Edinburgh with this home, so that I no longer am living out of a suitcase. I can be rooted and create a larger body of work whilst abroad for at least half the year. It is wonderful that a rental next door allows students to jump back into studies with me, after a good night’s sleep, and allows shared excursions and meals if desired. It’s easy to do intensive art classes and to continue building upon my love of the storytellers of Scotland, painting them in their creative process, and being able to show my work at the Storytellers Centre. It is a gift of freedom to easily travel and grow into myself with my travel journaling guiding me into my next style of expression.

 

Kim invites you to enjoy her nest of creativity through PASS THE KEY’s short-term rental agency by contacting them through Airbnb and Booking.com at:

www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/551917384304456695

www.booking.com/hotel/gb/pass-the-keys-cosy-and-stylish-open-plan-studio-in-new-town.html?lang=en

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