The road less travelled

The second week of my residency  has been a mix of printing furiously to make a new edition and a big wander to the south end of the Island to visit St Columba’s bay – definitely the road less travelled!

4-9 small  1-9 small

My art work has been intensive at times over the last week.  Here is my first attempt to capture the ever changing light of the North End of Iona – a variable edition print – each one uniquely printed, using a combination of mono-printing and linocut.  To do this I needed a large inking table – John provided me with the perfect inking slab – a 1930’s thick glass panel, opaque white so I can see the colour really well.   There are 9 prints in total.  Its been hard to capture them well photographically in the low light here.

inking table

I found myself in a quiet and almost meditative state making these. Then discovered three days had gone by.  A second edition of 4 prints are on larger sheets of paper and these will have something else added to them but that work is not complete yet.


3-9 small   7-9 small

A fine clear day last Saturday – strong cold wind but sunshine so I set off for St Columba’s bay.  Overconfidently I took no map or compass – after all Iona is only 3 miles long by 1.5 miles wide – surely it’s not possible to get lost here…….ah – how wrong I was!  I set off down the wild and cliffy east side of the island and found something that occasionally could be described as a path, before it petered out into sheep tracks leading nowhere, and rocky outcrops and boggy hollows (the kind I am too short to see out of) abounded.  Not so much the “road less travelled” as no footpath at all.  Apparently there is a better path if you come into the south of the island from the machair on the west coast.  However I quite enjoyed my wild wandering and was rewarded with the wonders of the most beautiful cove with a hoody crow and two cormorants for company in the almost warm sun, bitey wind and fierce kind of “scary suck you into the sea” sort of waves…….

scary waves at St Columba's bay  St Columbas bay

Walking back my rucksack was considerable heavier than walking in due to the lovely stones down at that end of the island.  Irresistible to collect some but I had to stop myself from picking up too many.  I made these prints based on the colours of the Iona beach stones.  Work still in progress on this idea.

green and black stones small green red and black stone small green stone beads small

One of the things that’s strange here is my identity.  At home I am someone’s mum, someone’s partner, someone’s daughter.   I run my business so sometimes I am the trainer or facilitator, I am part of various community groups and I work as an artist.  Here my only identity is “the artist”. I think I have never been alone with that part of my identity before.  I think I feel more confident about being fully present as “the artist” from staying here.  Hope I can retain “the artist” a larger space to take the lead, when I get home to resume my many other roles as well.   Missed Roddy on his birthday but discovered hearts cut out of each wheel on my little hut.  Struck by the effort someone would go to, making these little cut out features.  I am half way through the residency now.

shepherds hut wheel