Last weekend we visited Pittenweem, the small fishing village in the East Neuk of Fife which hosts an amazing Arts Festival every summer. For almost forty years people have flocked to this picturesque village to wander around houses, studios and galleries to see an enormous range of artists and media – paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, glass, etc. I have to admit that it is a few years since we visited, if I’m honest, speaking personally, the Festival almost became a victim of its own success, so with the sun shining I was looking forward to returning to explore what was on offer this year. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Pittenweem has a long tradition as a fishing village and fishing boats still go out to sea, but the village, along with its neighbours Anstruther and Crail along this short stretch of coast ,has a unique look which can in part be explained by it’s history. Many of the houses are roofed with red tiles rather than the more normal slate and the reason for this is, if my memory serves me, the ancient salt trade between Scotland’s east coast and the Low Countries, Holland and Belgium. Ships would load up with cargo and sail across the North Sea and come back with red tiles as ballast. As a result Pittenweem is a very attractive little town.
The Arts Festival hosts over 100 artists, artists who apply to exhibit but there are also invited artists, a programme of artist talks, demonstrations, classes for children and young people – it is a lively eight days with lots going on for everyone whatever their interests.
It was a lovely day out. We enjoyed a delicious coffee and cream scone in someone’s garden courtesy of volunteers from the Maggie Centres. We sat in the courtyard garden, surrounded by plants and overlooked the rooftops of houses down by the harbour. With the sun shining, it felt quite Mediterranean. I met up with a couple of friends who were exhibiting but I also wanted to see the work of two artists in particular – more of that in another post. Part of the excitement of course is just wandering around the town, catching glimpses of work, gardens and galleries, just taking in the atmosphere.
What a day – definitely worth a visit if you are in the area next year. Pittenweem Arts Festival