Meadow Mill is a large stone multi-purpose building originally built as a jute processing factory. Before manufacturing all but left Dundee, it was a city noted for its 3 industries: jute, jam and journalism. Wasps spaces occupy the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building. The floors are spacious and divided into studio space of varying size. There are wide corridors with the work of artists displayed. There are also restrooms and other communal amenities for the artists. Besides Malcolm Thomson, I interviewed three other artists based at Meadow Mill. Malcolm arranged the Meadow Mill tour and acted as my host and liaison. I interviewed Lindsey Anderson, a mixed media craft artist, Wasps representative and self proclaimed den mother of the Meadow Mill artists, photographer Malcolm Thomson, Helen Glassford, a painter and Miranda Blennernhasset, an installation artist.
In showing me his set up at Meadow Mill, Malcolm explained to me that the advent of digital cameras has
negatively impacted upon the volume of his business, and that much of
his photography takes place on location. Thus he really does not need a
studio but keeps a small darkroom in Dundee which is extremely
utilitarian that did not seem personalized. It was tiny, I believe he
told me it was a small kitchen at one time. It was filled to the brim
with equipment He has a wonderful eye for subject matter and composition
in his work. He is at peace with his career and happy to always have
been doing something he loves.
Lindsey Anderson works in mixed media and found objects and also is a massage therapist. Her studio is long and sunny with large windows on one end and a mezzanine on the other. There was a large palm plant growing between the two levels and a massage table on the mezzanine level. The aura of the studio was one of comfort and welcome. Her artwork encompassed most of the lower level. A parade of mixed media elephants lumbered across the windowsill. The counters and shelves held colorful fabrics and paper and brightly colored bric a brac. Lindsey was extremely generous in her time with me and allowed me to pick from any of her handmade note cards to take with me as representations of her work.
I next interviewed Helen Glassford, a painter. Her studio was narrow with a large window at one end. Controlling the heat and lighting of her studio seemed to be of utmost importance to her. She had recently extended a partial demising wall between her studio and that of the next door artist which she said helped regulate the heat and installed the curtain on her windows to help filter the natural light. Work in varying stages of completion hung on the walls and a work table with the most beautiful layering of dabs of paint stood in a corner near the window by an easel. We sat near the door at the opposite end at another table below a painting rack. Her studio seemed comfortable, utilitarian, airy and calm. Many of the paintings I saw in her studio reflected this calm in impressionistic style blues and greens.
My last stop at Meadow Mill was at the studio of Miranda Blennerhassett. Her work environment is very ordered and stark. She paints her work directly onto the walls of her studio and when she is finished with one project, she paints over it and starts fresh. She shares her studio, which is small and narrow, with another artist. There is absolutely no clutter to it- a chair
a table and walls are her workspace. Everything is painted white. The work of Miranda’s that I saw was complex and innovative. Though her studio was sparse, her description of her work day was complex. Miranda seems to be constantly at work- writing, sketching either in or out of her studio before painting on her walls.