Interview: Chrissie Heughan on Unabridged, Outlander and its star – her son, Sam Heughan

Chrissie Heughan and Sheila Carnduff

Quay Gallery exhibition features images of the Forth Bridge from Chrissie and Sheila Carnduff

Unabridged, a new exhibition from visual artists Chrissie Heughan and Sheila Carnduff, is currently showing at The Quay Gallery in Aberdour. It features images of the Forth Bridge and the surrounding seascape and hinterland, and has been gathering quite a bit of attention since information about the exhibition was shared by Chrissie's son, Sam Heughan, star of the hit Starz series, Outlander. We caught up with Chrissie to find out more about her work, her practice, and to see if she, like the rest of the world, is feeling the Outlander effect.

Tell us about the exhibition …
Unabridged is an exhibition of unique collaborative work from Sheila Carnduff and myself showing at The Quay Gallery, Nov 20-Dec 24. [It's from] two artists who met as students at Edinburgh College of Art in 1993, [and] are divided by the Firth of Forth. They work together by journeying across the railway bridge: now a World Heritage status. Collaborating together, using this iconic bridge, Sheila and I show vibrant, variable screen prints. Works made together and singularly from the shore to the hinterland are also on show.

How did the two of you come to come to collaborate?
We have collaborated together before for other venues, including the Society of Scottish Artists exhibitions, and we do intend to work together in the future. As well as being a studio holder based at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop since 1997, I am also member of Fife (Dunfermline) Print Workshop where Sheila is based and was chairperson of the organisation for many years. It is purely an artist-run workshop.

Did you always intend to show your work at this gallery?
Yes, we did intend to show at this gallery due to the situation – i.e. on t'other side of the Forth.

How did you come to work in visual arts?
As long as I can remember, I have drawn, sewed and created, though [I was] not encouraged to pursue my ideas professionally. They were realised in 1988 when I went to Dumfries College of Technology to study Art and Design proceeding on to Fine Art Portfolio in 1990, graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1995 (Sheila graduated in 1996). We both studied Fine Art Drawing and Printmaking.

Your son is Sam, star of Outlander. Have you felt the 'Outlander effect' resonate with your work, with support from Sam's fans?
He has a massive fan base around the world now, and inevitably they have gotten hold of my website and my other arts advertising media. I have seen photos taken at a private view last year in Banchory posted on a site in the USA. My website has had over a 1000 hits this week alone so I guess they do support.

Do you watch the show?
I have watched a little of the first series, there is a boxed dvd on its way I am told. Though, I have been to the studio in Cumbernauld and met many of the cast, crew and directors. We both were invited to the film set at Aberdour Castle last year and I spent a pleasant morning watching a small piece of filming … was a monastery and monks were walking around Aberdour!

Unabridged runs until Thu 24 Dec at The Quay Gallery, Aberdour.

Sheila Carnduff and Chrissie Heughan: Unabridged

Images of the Forth Bridge and the surrounding seascape and hinterland.