Aileen Neillie

Neille graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a BA (Hons) Design in 1995 (specialism Ceramics).  After 10 years spent as a community artist working with a diverse range of individuals and groups, Neillie undertook post graduate study. Qualifying as a Secondary School Teacher in 2005, Neillie finds great satisfaction in her current role as Principal Teacher of Art & Design at Milne’s High School, Fochabers.  A committed and inspirational teacher, Neillie makes time to continue her own art practice.  Her formal art school training in Ceramics, with its emphasis on concept, material, texture and form, is still very apparent in her two-dimensional artwork.  


Increasingly we live in a world of seemingly constant pressure, trying to juggle our time and responsibilities; there simply is no space to truly look at and appreciate what we have. Much of Neillie’s artwork is based upon the idea of missed opportunities; chances to seek true happiness purely from our natural environment and use these as a means of rejuvenation, of restoring calm and beauty into our lives.


This work is inspired by the artist looking at the magnification of dandelions which have ‘gone to seed’. Neillie appreciates the elegant beauty of the structural qualities of seeds which contain much intricate detail, only seen under a powerful lens by an inquisitive eye.

Initially I work from the source in a very analytical way, investigating and understanding the visual elements before developing my ideas. Generally, I begin to explore several possibilities through zooming in to a particular area of interest, closely studying shape and composition.

The surface texture is more spontaneous and I tend to explore this whilst working on the final outcome. I enjoy the idea of layering, combining different surfaces to create contrast as each material reacts to the other in a different way.  I also like the concept of looking through and uncovering what is underneath.

I use a wide range of materials from household paints and varnishes to inks, papers, metals and drawing media. I like to see how materials react with minimal intervention; for instance, combining salt and copper or incorporating rust generated from metals. This reflects my methodology when working with clay, exploiting the material’s inherent qualities as opposed to creating a piece of work which obscures these.”