‘I am not an artist, but can I just live here, please?’
That was probably my first disbelieving thought, when I saw the beautiful images of these remote huts scattered around a pristine landscape. You could easily sneak them into collections of architecture appreciators like #cabinporn without revealing their true purpose – besides looking outrageously cosy. The Bothy Project, initiated by artist Bobby Niven and architect Iain MacLeod in 2011, is a network of intimate, small-scale and off-grid art residency spaces in distinct locations around Scotland and beyond. While offering a platform for artists from various disciplines and practices to journey and explore the peculiarities of the history, mythology, landscape and people in the areas surrounding the bothies, the team behind TBP is committed to use only sustainable, innovative materials to create simple, modern designs.
So far, there’s three lovely bothies to marvel at: Inshriach Bothy was built as a part of RSA Residencies for Scotland and fabricated in residence at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in 2011, before getting nestled in a sparse hilltop wood on the banks of the river Spey in the Cairngorms. Blessed with scenic coastal views (and hence my absolute favourite), Sweeney’s Bothy or Bothan Shuibhne is located on the remote Isle of Eigg and emerged from a collaboration with artist Alec Finlay as part of Creative Scotland’s ‘Year of Natural Scotland 2013’. The newest – and not yet utterly remote – addition is the shed-shaped Pig Rock Bothy, which was used as a temporary art venue during last year’s large-scale GENERATION project on the premises of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. It is now waiting to be relocated to Assynt, the Highland’s far North-West, and to become the third fully-functional chapter of the residency network later this year. From time to time, it needs things like The Bothy Project to illustrate how beautiful this country really is and that it doesn’t take much – neither money nor big names – to respond to it in a clever and creative way. Onwards!
Keep an eye on these links to find out more about their supported programme, self-funded residencies, artist blogs and plans for future themed residencies: