sruth-mara is based at Àras nam Fir Chlis (house of the northern lights), a former restaurant and hotel on a remote clifftop on Lewis, facing the Atlantic Ocean. The building is also home to Studio Fir Chlis. Àras nam Fir Chlis has a wooden-floored, 8m x 10m studio used for rehearsals, classes and workshops, and a self-contained two bedroom apartment with its own kitchen. For part of the year we also run a second hand record and book shop.
Fir Chlis Artist Residencies – October-March
Outside of the tourist season the apartment is available, at a significantly reduced rate, as a creative retreat for artists. Rates are negotiable and children are welcome. Where appropriate, our studio can also be made available for rehearsals or just as a space to create and reflect.
We are especially keen to accommodate artists who want to engage with Hebridean/Gaelic/island culture, directly or indirectly – for more information on the area, see below – but we are also happy to welcome artists, from all disciplines, who are just looking for a quiet space to reflect and develop their practice, or work without distractions.
How to apply
Please send us an email with a short statement of interest, links to previous work and a CV if you have one. Please also specify the dates that you would ideally like to come. Applications will be considered throughout winter.
Àras nam Fir Chlis is a former RAF NAAFI building and has a fascinating history as part of a radar station overlooking the Atlantic during the Cold War. The building later had a life as a taigh seinnse, then a restaurant and hotel. The hill above is now owned by Gallan Head Community Trust, and is full of striking concrete foundations and abandoned buildings. Sea eagles nest on the cliffs nearby and whales can sometimes be spotted off shore. The local community is full of artists – sculptors, painters and film-makers – who have built homes in the former military buildings next to a traditional crofting village. The Trust recently built a new path down to the dramatic stone beach below the village.
The surrounding area, Uig, is one of the most beautiful parts of the Hebrides, with numerous sandy beaches and historical locations including Dùn Boreanais, Traigh Uige (where the Lewis chessmen were discovered). A short drive away there is a well stocked community shop with a petrol station, a community centre, Bhaltos peninsula, seven dramatic sandy beaches and Uig Sands restaurant. Around 57% of the population speak Gaelic.
Both sruth-mara and Studio Fir Chlis are dedicated to developing exciting new creative work from the Isle of Lewis, and we are keen to welcome kindred spirits whenever possible. With decades of experience working in the arts on a national level, we can offer advice – if wanted – as well as local knowledge.