A hidden gem of a pottery and gallery in Smailholm

Replacing A broken bowl


Years ago I stopped at a small pottery in Smailholm.  I  bought a small beautifully painted bowl in shades of blue and pink with a wavy edge.  I treasured that  bowl and kept it out of harms way (mainly small children) in my guest room.  Alas about 5 or 6 years ago one of my guests broke the bowl.  It was one my first conscious purchases of Scottish pottery  and I was annoyed if not perhaps a little heartbroken.

I had a return visit  to the pottery on my ‘to do’ list for a very long time.  But I never seemed to end up on the right road.  However writing this blog about all the wonderful things in the Scottish Borders made me think about that bowl.  I decided I should explore the pottery again and so put it at the top on my “will do” list.  On Easter weekend, my son, niece and I made it back to the pottery  in Smailholm – and we were not disappointed.  We spent a long time talking with Linda (Kinsman-Blake, part owner), about her work and she had some great ideas for content for our blog which will be appearing soon.


Kinsman-Blake Ceramics & Gallery

Smailholm Pottery, known more correctly as the Kinsman-Blake Ceramics & Gallery, is a  working artists studio run by Rankin and Linda Kinsman-Blake,  showing ceramics, paintings, jewellery, wooden spoons and furniture.  Rankin and Linda  have been involved in the manufacture of hand made ceramics in the Scottish Borders since 1979.  All clays, glazes and colours are formulated and mixed in the workshop using naturally occurring raw materials.  The work is all hand made and hand decorated before being fired to 1200 degrees centigrade on the premises.  Commissions for all types of ceramics are welcomed and hand made tiles for both domestic and architectural applications are undertaken.  Linda is also a talented painter  and Rankin produces  the most beautiful and unusual wooden spoons and furniture.
They are a talented family, with their two daughters also contributing  – Robyn is a contemporary jeweller and silversmith and Lillias produces the most beautiful screen prints with poetry (and one will shortly be hanging in my guest bedroom).   Lilias is also a talented musician with The Shee and has 3 albums and a 4th one on the  way.


Artists, Gardens and Words


On Saturday 18th June 2-4pm, at Priorwood Gallery and Garden, Melrose, Linda’s beautiful paintings will provide the focus for a workshop by writing tutor and author Iona McGregor.  Open to both beginners and experienced writer (aged 16+), the writers pen and the artists brush meet up to inspire short story writing.  Booking is £5 at either the National Trust Priorwood Gardens (01896 822493) in Melrose or through the Kinsman-Blake Gallery (01573 460 666).


The Corn Potato String Band

And here’s a great event in Smailholm Village Hall.



How to get there

Smailholm is a small village 6 miles north of Kelso on the B639, containing an 18th century Lairds house, an early 19th century farm house (originally a posting inn) and Smailholm church which dates from the 13th century. To discover more about the village of Smailholm  and local events you can visit the village website.  Smailholm Tower dating from the 16th century and much frequented by Sir Walter Scott in his youth, is also nearby.
OS: NT648364
Address: Kinsman-Blake Ceramics and Gallery
Barn House
Nr Kelso
Scottish Borders
Tel: 01573 460666
Open seven days a week  9am – 5pm

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