Artists at Backhouse Rossie


Backhouse Rossie has several event areas which can be used to stage gallery events please contact


Backhouse Rossie offers informal residency opportunities and interested artists should contact

Note: there is no funding available but accommodation and studio facilities are negotiable depending on the proposal. Each application will be considered by ‘the board’. We are particularly interested in hearing from artists working with traditional materials, or wood, or whose work is inspired by nature / ecology / botany).

Previous Artist Residencies


Throughout the month of August, we were delighted to welcome Allan Watson to Backhouse Rossie for our second Micro Residency of 2018. Allan’s work often looks to utilitarian wooden objects (workbenches, sawhorses, pallets, etc), as a focus for his sculpture. For this project, he selected some of the old garden tools in the potting shed as starting points for several artworks that appear in and around the Backhouse Rossie environment. Allan partly made these in his studio in Aberdeen and partly at Backhouse Rossie where visitors could meet Allan, find out more about what he was up to and follow progress of the artworks as they evolved.

Born Alyth 1960. Allan grew up on farms in the Blairgowrie area but has lived and worked in Aberdeen since 1982. He taught at Gray’s School of Art for over 20 years during which time he held various posts including Course Leader for Sculpture and Head of Fine Art. Throughout his academic career, Allan continued with his art practice, participating in a wide range of art related projects including exhibitions, public art commissions, international workshops and artist-in-residence schemes. He is currently a Trustee of Grampian Hospital Arts Trust and a board member of Peacock Visual Arts. He has recently agreed to join the Board of the newly established Backhouse Rossie Heritage and Education Centre.

Allan comments “Growing up on a Perthshire farm in the 60’s meant that I became familiar with working with my hands from an early age. My grandfather taught me to work with tools when I was very young, not that he was making anything artistic: just the necessity of sawing logs, chopping kindling, digging the garden. Spending time at Backhouse Rossie earlier this year I was naturally drawn to the rich collection of garden implements that have been preserved in the Potting Shed.”

The Waney Edged Wall
The origin of the waney edged wall stemmed from the need to divide the cavernous space of the main barn in two and the ready availability of large quantities of aged fallen timber on the Backhouse Rossie Estate, specifically oak, yew and beech (some of which were over 400 years old). Waney edged timber is wood that has been cut close to the outside of the log, leaving at least one edge that is ‘raw’ or ‘living’.

The design emerged out of many conversations and a collective decision making process between Allan Watson, Peter Baxter, Andrew, Caroline & Hamish, a collaborative adventure drawing upon expertise within art, engineering, joinery, sculpture and much more. The design aims to allow the beauty, grace and strength of the timber to speak for itself. Although some shaping has taken place the sawn planks were placed to fit alongside one another in as natural a relationship as possible. The gaps are an important nod to the intermittent sight lines that make being in a woodland quite magical. The intention of the build was to respect the timber and keep it in as close a state as possible to when it was a tree: rather than dressing the timber the surface was left as it came from the sawmill. The skirting boards are recycled scaffolding boards intended to keep a sense of scale and unfussiness. The construction process of building the waney edge wall was carried on to other elements in the barn, including the reception area and a portable bar.

Snake Rakes

Snake Rakes by Sculptor Allan Watson

Time to gather the Tools (2018)

Throughout August 2018 sculptor Allan Watson was Backhouse Rossie’s artist-in-residence and the boiler house became his temporary studio. Drawn to the old tools in the potting shed, Allan meticulously measure the well used rakes, spades and hoes prior to creating scaled up wooden versions of some of these tools which amplified and exaggerated their individual characteristics.

Prior to creating the full-size versions Allan created these working models as a way of exploring the sculptural qualities and working out the methods of construction. His working process is a combination of respectful precision and informative freedom – hence ‘wonky fork’ and spades with holes’. The wood from old fence posts retrieved from the Backhouse Rossie woodpile.

The Tool Shed by Sculptor Allan Watson


As part of our commitment to working with and supporting artists, we were delighted to welcome Marina Burt to Backhouse Rossie for our first Micro Residency. We invited Marina, who is based in Aberdeen, to use the Backhouse Rossie environment as a stimulus for her creative practice and the visit was an opportunity for Marina to undertake research with a view towards developing ideas for artworks in response to what she discovered here.

Marina studied sculpture at Gray’s School of Art, graduating in 2013 and, perhaps stemming from her scientific background, her work typically begins with a curiosity about Nature and ‘all her foibles’. Her artworks commence with rigorous research of a subject and she describes her work as ‘the documentation of a journey of discovery’ and ‘an attempt to make sense of divergent themes’, such as ‘light & dark, growth and decay, joy and despair’. Burt’s practice makes use of a diverse range of media such as ceramics, silk, paint and found objects but her working process is as much about grappling with ideas and meanings as it is with the materials themselves and her search for ‘beauty in imperfection’.


Backhouse Rossie

Book tickets for the gardens & grounds and special events, or a tour of The Flower Barn our weddings and events venue. There is always something to see or do whenever you visit, in our open season. The Backhouse Kitchen (no garden ticket required), offers seasonal food and drinks and welcomes well behaved dogs on the patio. Free visitor car parking when open.






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