Helen Denerley bought Clashnettie in 1992 as a ruined house and steading set in twenty-four acres of hillside with the Deskry water running at its foot. The original buildings had been made ruinous after WW2 when the estate who owned it declared it too inaccessible and took the roofs off to avoid paying tax. When Helen bought it there was no road, water supply or electricity and it has been a labour of love to rebuild Clashnettie and create the vibrant artistic environment that it has become.
As a full- time artist, Helen has been creating sculpture at Clashnettie through all the years of building as well as creating a garden and woodland. Over the years there have been many artists of all disciplines visiting, collaborating and enjoying all that Clashnettie has to offer.
In 1992 the restoration of Clashnettie began, from a ruin into a home and a centre for the arts. In celebration of that and as part of Strathfest’92 George Wyllie was invited to install his Spires in the Deskry water.
The ‘spire’ is designed to celebrate the place on which it stands.
The simplicity of the ‘spire’ is essential. Its aesthetics and mechanisms are stripped to demonstrate a curb on our undoubted human capacity for invention which must not obscure the greater wonder of the stone, which contains its own invention. Science and nature are balanced within the sculpture, fundamentally addressing notions and systems which destroy that balance. The planet plays its eternal part in energising its life.
Sculpture workshop as part of Strathfest ’94.
George Wyllie and Kenny Munro. ‘Noticing the Unnoticed’, an event promoted by Strathfest’95. At the time, two issues were identified which were of concern to the local community, the introduction of wheelie bins and the ever- increasing problem of rabbit numbers. George and Kenny involved many local people in a sculptural response.
The giant rabbit was stolen but after an appeal in the local newspaper was returned and gifted to Strathdon Primary school.
‘Running with Wolves’ A cross art form performance commissioned by the Highland Festival combining sculpture, painting, dance, music and lighting. The artists involved spent a week at Clashnettie in preparation for the event.
‘Boundaries’, a collaborative iron pouring event with George Beasley and Helen Denerley involving many members of the local community and in collaboration with the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. An iron bridge weighing 1500lbs and measuring 18ft x 4ft was cast across the Deskry water. The event was transmitted live by satellite to the International Sculpture Symposium in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Improvisation workshop with Mairi Campbell and featuring a mime artist, theatre director and actors from across Europe.
Art week at Clashnettie, a week of tutored workshops including watercolour painting, life Drawing and printmaking.
Richard Craig recital, a programme of music for solo flute, as part of the SOUND festival
The Cast, a concert of traditional and original music for voice, fiddle and guitar.
“The Red Earth” a gripping tale, told in story and song by Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis.
An exhibition of paintings to run alongside the performance by Marjorie Ina Campbell
Anatomical Life drawing, A workshop for experienced artists with Alan McGowan.
A year long residency for Richard Craig, flautist to develop new music.
Many sculptures have been made at Clashnettie by Helen Denerley but the Giraffe for Hong Kong was the largest and involved many people in its construction
Introduction to drawing and Art Week, two workshops lead by Susie Hunt
Tree of Life
Over a period of two years, a 4.5m Tree of Life was created at Clashnettie. It was commissioned by Trees for Life and installed in their new rewilding centre at Dundreggan. The tree is full of scrap metal animals which were chosen by the community around Dundreggan.
An Inner Place
An exhibition of paintings by Steve Redpath.
I first met Steve when we worked together on an artist/ scientist collaboration looking at environmental conflicts. The event brought together artists and scientists with a view to finding new ways to express these concerns.
It immediately became apparent to me that Steve could have been there in either category, as he already had the understanding and aesthetic appreciation of an artist despite the lack of a formal training. The transition of his career has been seamless, and I have watched on in admiration as he has used an uncanny photographic memory alongside an emotional response to capture a lifetime of landscapes in watercolour. His commitment to painting and willingness to explore and push himself has resulted in a body of work far larger and more impressive than many who have gone down the more conventional route.
This exhibition is a chance to see some of these works and witness Steve’s process as well as the paintings themselves.
In 2023 Helen Denerley finished a year’s work creating sculptures for a major solo exhibition at the Kilmorack gallery, Beauly. Many works were of a large scale and were created outside the sculpture workshop at Clashnettie.