How the little isle of Coll is big on arts and crafts

Sitting some six miles west of Mull, Coll is a breathtakingly beautiful inner Hebridean island. It may be small – just 13 miles long by three miles wide with a population of around 120 – but it’s full of surprises, from stunning sandy bays to wonderful wildlife. It’s also home to a thriving creative community, who find inspiration in the wild and remote landscape and seascape that surrounds them. As you explore the island, make sure you find time to discover the island’s artists and craftspeople. Here are five that should be top of your list.

Artist Kip Poulson lives and works on Coll. His work captures the dramatic beauty of the island and the simplicity of life here. He works in both watercolours and oils, and his major interest is in the play of light on landscape and water. Kip is also fascinated by the South of France and Switzerland where he depicts local architecture set against the spectacular mountain scenery. Recently he has had several solo exhibitions in the Cevennes, Paris and Geneva.

Eileen Strange is another Coll-based artist. A painter, printmaker and illustrator, her work reflects the colours, vibrancy and energy of the island. You can find her work at the Art Den in Arinagour.

Don’t miss the chance to see the work of Isle of Coll Photographics. Local photographer Allan McKechnie concentrates on the landscape and seascapes of Coll. He captures the unique energy and light of the island in his images. Quirky Clabbach Gallery at Clabbach is open to the public during the summer and has a wide selection of Allan’s work on display. Pop in for a browse. With comfy seats and self-service tea and coffee, it’s the perfect place to while away a few hours.

Drop into The Art Den, a gem of a shop that sells a fantastic selection of art, crafts and gifts by Coll’s artists and makers. Look out for the lino prints made using the original book press from Breachacha Castle. You’ll also find hand-made cards, kiln-fired glass jewellery and whisky glasses sandblasted with original designs. Recycled bottles form the basis for the sandblasted ‘Drunk on Coll’ range, where old bottles are remade into fun, useful items. The shop is a lovely, relaxed place to spend some time, and owner/artist Barbara Payne is more than happy to chat about art over a coffee. The Art Den is located next to the Island Store in Arinagour. Opening times can be found in the shop window as they change throughout the year.

Mermaid’s Purse is another treasure trove, offering a variety of art and crafts inspired by the natural elements and the beauty of Coll. Check out the hand-painted glassware, tie-died Isle of Coll t-shirts and bags, jewellery, cards, photography and more. Mermaid's Purse is on Carnan Road in Arinagour.

If you fancy getting creative on Coll yourself, then check out the painting holidays at the Coll Bunkhouse. Or why not head out with a sketch pad and explore the island yourself? Coll is a great place to explore by foot. Immerse yourself in the landscape and find your very own island inspiration.

Find out more about Mull, Iona, Coll & Tiree.