Leonard McDermid enjoyed some ninety years of looking at things, and over seventy years of commenting on them in various forms and in a variety of ways.
He left school at fifteen and worked at several jobs including papermaker, trawlerman, lorry, coach and taxi driver. He served two years as a National Serviceman in the Royal Artillery, and later studied at Medway College of Art, Brighton College of Art, Newbattle Abbey College and the University of Edinburgh.
He was a teacher for many years, mainly in the Scottish Borders, and undertook two appointments as artist to The Marine Society, working on merchant vessels. He covered over fifty thousand nautical miles world-wide, including work on a troopship ferrying soldiers across the South Atlantic and on a tanker in the Arabian Gulf during the ‘Tanker War’.
McDermid established the Stichill Marigold Press in 1990 and under this imprint he produced a wide array of handmade pamphlets. One such, And for that minute, was awarded the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2010, and another, Landway, won the final iteration of that prize in 2018.
His exhibition, Fair Winds and Following Seas was held at the Scottish Poetry Library in 2022 and included his inimitable pamphlets, prints, sculpture and paintings.