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Nature inspires art at Argyll reserves

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Visitors to two of Argyll’s best wildlife sites can enjoy the added bonus of nature-inspired al fresco artworks over the coming months.

A newly installed “Tile Trail” at Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Mid Argyll features a series of beautiful ceramic tiles and miniature houses created by young artists from Lochgilphead High and Kilmartin and Glassary Primary Schools.

Working closely with local artist Lesley Burr and Kilmartin Museum’s Madeleine Conn, the pupils produced colourful ceramics inspired by the rich diversity of plants and animals that live on this unique NNR.

Moine Mhor is a showpiece raised bog, one of Europe’s rarest and most threatened natural wildlife habitats. Graceful hen harriers, shy otters, coastal birds and the rare marsh fritillary butterfly can all be found on the reserve.

Using the themes of absence and presence the Tile Trail also celebrates Moine Mhor’s cultural heritage, remembering the people who once lived and worked in the area.

The display is laid along the reserve’s appropriately named Tileworks Nature Trail, near the former Tileworks Cottage. The tile works was set up by the Poltalloch Estate in the early 19th Century, to make drainage pipes for farmland and bricks and roof tiles for the new town of Kilmartin.

At nearby Taynish NNR the award winning artist Jane Smith begins a year-long stint as the reserve’s artist in residence this week.

Having travelled the world making wildlife films for the BBC and National Geographic, she is now settled on Scotland’s west coast where she produces wildlife art using paint and a variety of print-making techniques.

Ms Smith said: “I’m really looking forward to getting out into Taynish. Being a temperate rainforest, the wood is looking wonderfully green and luscious after the wet winter.”

Through a series of exciting events over her residency, she will use her knowledge of Taynish’s wildlife to capture the many unobserved dramas which happen every day on the reserve. The first event on the reserve Will be hosted towards the end of May.

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