Burnside on Brueghel: Fife poet wins TS Eliot Poetry Prize

Congratulations to Dunfermline born poet John Burnside who has won the TS Eliot Poetry Prize with his stunning latest work, Black Cat Bone. Here he ponders the lives behind the tiny skating figures in Pieter Bruegel’s Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap: We have to imagine the duties they leave behind for the thrill of the river, the kitchens and middens, the sheepfolds and clouded byres, the old folk

Barrel Crafted: from booze to birdhouse

Heartbroken at the the thought of the thick, richly fragranced oak of old whisky barrels being sold for firewood or, worse, sent to landfill, Jackie Dunsmuir and her team at Recycle Fife have created Barrel Crafted, a unique range of furniture and home accessories which includes cabinets, candleholders, benches, wine racks, stools and even birdhouses.  The idiosyncratic collection, handcrafted to last in Lochgelly, is inspired by the contours and hues

Johnnie Walker: from Leven to Shanghai

Johnnie Walker is exporting Scottish glamour from Leven in Fife, Scotland to the former French Quarter of Shanghai. The newly opened Johnnie Walker House is the brand's only location outside Scotland and whisky is in the fabric of the building – literally.  The lobby (pictured above) has a ceiling covered in hanging whisky glasses. Another room is adorned with the primary ingredients of whisky with walls of malt and peat

Nerine Tassie: dark woods and lonely seas

I have a great fear of and fascination for deep dark woods and these brilliantly brooding paintings by Fife artist Nerine Tassie capture that allure. Her bleak, unpeopled seascapes are equally appealing. Tassie, who is a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, says her work is inspired by natural spaces and in particular, the impact of time and changing light within these spaces. Despite, or perhaps because of their small

Why so Glum, Sugar Plum? Plum Market in Fife

This Saturday 3 September 2011 there's a Plum Market in Newburgh, Fife, Scotland.  In September and October there will be apple and pear markets. Jams, preserves and chutneys will also be for sale. Newburgh Orchards Group was set up in 2002 to protect and promote the orchards in the area. Some date back to 1191 when Benedictine monks came from Abbeville, France and planted trees in and around Lindores Abbey.

Day Trips in Scotland: Loch Leven

In London you are never more than seven feet away from a rat. In Scotland it seems you are never more than seven feet away from one of Mary Queen of Scots' prisons.  Although it probably wasn't much of a consolation at the time one of her prisons had beautiful views of Loch Leven; the destination for our latest day trip.   This is the largest of Scotland's lowland lochs

Clootielugs – little birds big on charm

We fell for these sweet little birds, with their washing machine copper wire legs and reclaimed textile bodies, last week at The Pittenweem Arts Festival. At only £10 each, they were flying out of the shop on tiny felt wings.     Jill Kitson is the artist and maker behind the Fife based label Clootielugs. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, these days Jill loves

The Fife Diet: Working up an appetite for local food

Mike Small started the Fife Diet in 2007, a campaign to eat locally sourced food. Forty years ago he would have had his work cut out; chips, white bread, macaroni cheese pies, scotch pies topped with baked beans and mashed potato, and everything cooked with cloak of  batter or pastry.  Fast forward to 2011 and the Fife Diet is not a sitcom joke but a healthy, tasty selection of organic

No More Than a Mile – photography by Kevin McCollum

Here are some stunning photos from around the world by Kevin McCollum.    It’s tempting to travel the globe to seek out the exotic in your work but one of Kevin’s latest projects, an interesting approach that many artists and designers might apply, is to focus on subjects no more than a mile from where he lives. Easy if you happen to live in Manhattan or Tangiers but more of a challenge for Kevin who lives in