New Mull gallery offers up ‘shed’-load of art

Charlotte Mellis opens her Tin Shed Gallery, South of Calgary on Mull, on April 1

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There’s sheds…then there’s tin sheds crafted from corrugated iron – or in Mull artist Charlotte Mellis’s case – ceramic.

Charlotte’s new gallery also happens to be in a purpose-built tin shed and is dotted in the middle of nowhere between breathtakingly beautiful Calgary and Torloisk.

Verging on her 70th year, Charlotte celebrates the opening of her Tin Shed Gallery on April 1.

Within pottering distance of the towering home she built from a pile of stones with her now retired zoologist husband, Charlotte is revelling in having a fine purpose-built des-res for her own colourful creations that is doubling up as a showcase for others’ work.

Built from scratch, the shed’s outer-walls are black and the roof is clear, to let in natural light all the time. ‘It’s quite something,’ says Charlotte, who admits she has ‘a thing’ for tin sheds.

‘There’s a little group of people who love tin sheds and I’m one of them,’ she said.

Charlotte’s corrugated ceramics that will be on show as part of her first Tin Shed exhibition are not like perfect models: ‘They are very rough, as though they have lived a very long time.

‘Corrugation is a thing of beauty. I love the colours as it rusts and decays. It’s something I discovered an interest in while living in Australia,’ she said.

Charlotte Mellis: Corrugated ceramics
Acclaimed Roy Jackson’s The Edge on show at the Tin Shed Gallery, south of Calgary on Mull

Charlotte shared her love of corrugation with her late Australian artist friend Roy Jackson and work from his estate will be sharing space at the Tin Shed’s opening exhibition.

Roy has been described as one of Australia’s most distinctive abstract painters.

Roy, who died in 2013 and whose paintings are held in collections including the National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Victoria, had visited Charlotte on Mull and would ‘be tickled he was showing in a little shed in Scotland’, she said.

‘There’s not much corrugation in the work we will be showing, but he loved it too,’ said Charlotte.

His partner is bringing some of his works on paper over especially for the exhibition entitled The Edge which will stay on show until June 5.

Other friends who will be joining Charlotte in The Tin Shed are York-based printmaker Meredith Andrew, whose  series of work Plenty has been inspired by her allotment featuring plants, animals and produce – dates for this show are June 10 until August 14.

From August 19 to October 2, Charlotte has invited her former tutor from Harrogate Art College Dennis Farrell with his Hidden Landscapes ceramic pieces responding to observations of rural and coastal landscapes; each work has been built by hand and fired to 1,120 degrees centigrade.

Charlotte was aged one when she first landed on Mull with her family. Her father was in the Navy and over the years the island became their base.

‘I was one of three children but I was the one who really loved it here and kept coming back until I finally settled here for good in 1991, met, then married my husband.

Charlotte hails from a family of well-known artists – including two aunts – Margaret Mellis, who was one of the early members and last survivors of the group of modernist artists that gathered in St Ives, in Cornwall, in the 1940s and also Ann Stokes, who was a gifted and much celebrated potter – both saw joy in colour and Charlotte continues those colour bursts within her own work which includes domestic ware.

See for yourself at Tin Shed Gallery opening noon until 5pm Wednesdays to Sundays.

You can also follow on instagram @tinshedgallery