Comhla is a new group of artisan art and craftspeople who hold a craft fair in the Columba Hall in Port Ellen every Thursday (11 am 4pm). They started at Easter time and will continue until the end of October, with some additional fairs planned for around the Christmas period.
Comhla is Gaelic for 'together' and this title reflects the co-operative nature of the venture and the members' desire to promote highstandard art and crafts and to support the local community. All the craftspeople live on Islay and they offer a wide range of high quality goods. This currently includes paintings, photographs and prints; linocuts and hand-made cards; hand-knitted goods, pyro-craft, hand-made jewellery, candles, wood-turned items and shell-craft.
Jim Lutomski, the resident artist of the group said, “Art is my life now: it's what brings me joy and a living of sorts. Our new co-op gives me the professional support I need. We help each other thrive in a world awash with artificiality.” Continue reading.....
Kim Walker who makes handprinted cards from lino cuts, and also work with digital media such as video, sound and art installation, said, “Comhla is a group that has been very helpful and supportive when learning new art techniques and making new items to sell.” She found all the members very welcoming and enjoyed a wide range of arts and crafts mediums.
Dorothy Bell enjoys displaying her work in Port Ellen every Thursday, and thinks it good to meet up with other craft people in Comhla every week. She try to make a range of high quality handmade hand-knitted goods to appeal to those wishing to keep warm, her hats being a good example. She also to appeal to those wishing to buy more luxury items: her hand-knitted mohair throws and stoles have attracted many a customer. “Comhla is a co-operative, friendly group,” she said.
Barbara Pardington is an enthusiastic, committed member of the group. Barbara who makes jewellery using semi precious gems said, “Joining the Comhla group is the best thing I could have done. All of my jewellery is made with a lot of love,andtobeabletobeapartof Comhla with like minded people, knowing that the standard of art and craft is very high and all original work is pleasing. There couldn't be a better way to showcase my jewellery. In addition to the arts and crafts for sale in the Columba Hall, members of St John's Church, throughout the summer season, offer teas, coffees, wonderful home-baking, filled rolls, and a range of delicious home-made soups.
The original group, Made on Islay, still exists and they are doing craft markets in Bruichladdich Hall on Tuesday from 11.00am-4.00pm and you can find some of the artists on both markets!
This article was published with kind permission of the Ileach