Rivers & Tides

I was just told about this film. I’d not seen it before. Why had I never heard about it? It is wonderful. It was made in 2000 but it still feels fresh and full of magic.

Landscape sculptor Andy Goldsworthy is renowned throughout the world for his work in ice, stone, leaves, wood. His own remarkable still photographs are Goldsworthy’s way of talking about his often ephemeral works, of fixing them in time… Now with this deeply moving film, shot in four countries and across four seasons, and the first major film he has allowed to be made, the elusive element of time adheres to his sculpture.

Director Thomas Riedelsheimer worked with Andy Goldsworthy for over a year to shoot this film. What Riedelsheimer found was a profound sense of breathless discovery and uncertainty in Goldsworthy’s work, in contrast to the stability of conventional sculpture. There is risk in everything that Goldsworthy does. He takes his fragile work – and it can be as fragile in stone as in ice or twigs – right to the edge of its collapse, a very beautiful balance and a very dramatic edge within the film. The film captures the essential unpredictability of working with rivers and with tides, feels into a sense of liquidity in stone, travels with Goldsworthy underneath the skin of the earth and reveals colour and energy flowing through all things.

Frames of reference

Unravelling The Ripple

A portrait of a Hebridean tideline by Helen Douglas, this beautiful visual book unfolds as a single photographic image flowing through the textures and rhythms of sand, wrack and wave.

This book, hiding on my shelf too long, is the perfect antidote to a stifling and muggy urban heatwave. It’s a cold flannel on the inside of my elbow, the fresh breeze of a Scottish shore held in my hands. Turn the pages slowly, take it at walking pace, listen to the ripple of the wave unfurling, cool your feet in its crystal waters. It will wash you clean around the island. But first, an essay by Rebecca Solnit. Continue reading “Unravelling The Ripple”

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Calgary Bay

A giant sand drawing by Julian Meredith on the beach at Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull. The artist stands beside it, rake in hand. But how did he make the drawing, what guided his eye, how could he see the bigger picture? He sent me this video but no explanation. Maybe he has the gift of the Nazca.

www.julianmeredith.co.uk

Frames of reference

Table Work

In my Scottish studio, I work on a table. Constructed in pine, it is rather battered but stable and came from a farmhouse in Gloucestershire. It was given to me by Lily Messenger, who had lived in Rodmarton before moving to Amberley, the village where we lived at that time. As our next-door neighbour, Mrs Messenger also lent me an attic room in which I worked for several years until we moved to Scotland in 1990. Before marriage, she had been Lily Bucknell, from a family of blacksmiths and wood-workers and who belonged to the Guild of Gloucestershire Craftsmen. This is only significant because my own Guild membership led to meeting highly skilled artists and craftsmen from whom I learned much concerning materials and ways of making things. Continue reading “Table Work”

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Away With The Birds

Hanna Tuulikki’s ‘Air falbh leis na h-eòin’ is a body of work exploring the mimesis of birds in Gaelic song. On the 29th and 30th of August it becomes a sited performance on the Isle of Canna.

Hanna’s vocal composition, ‘Guth an Eòin | Voice of the Bird’ is the heart of the project. Written for a female vocal ensemble, it reinterprets archival material, fragmenting and re-weaving extracts of Gaelic songs into an extended soundscape. The music emerges from, and responds to, island landscapes and lives. It explores the delicate equilibrium of Hebridean life, the co-existence of tradition and innovation, and suggests the ever-present inter-relationship between bird, human, and ecology.

“The piece is made from weaving together fragments of traditional songs and poems that imitate or emulate birdsong” Tuulikki explains. “Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo. In August we will perform the concert in the historic harbour of the beautiful Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide. The setting is so important to the piece. The Small Isles are a magical place and, to me, the performance begins as soon as people climb on-board the ferry-boat to make the crossing: the richness of the experience is people sharing a journey.”

www.awaywiththebirds.co.uk

Frames of reference