Despite my ability to on occasion take pretty reasonable photographs, I have been taking great pleasure in reducing the quality, saturating the colours and generally creating images that look like tired old 1970’s and 80’s postcards. This current obsession is a bit quirky but I am really enjoying the unusual quality of the images, particularly in the recently uploaded “Sheep Pole” Swap Shop icon.
In a secret act of covert art installation, I decorated an ancient standing stone out on the hillside with ribbons ; marking the seemingly ritualistic (but in fact mundane and habitual) behavioural movements of the island sheep. I did actually weave the ribbons in the time honoured fashion and tied it off in a huge bow at the base, but I think the image of the as yet untangled ribbons, the ‘potential’, is far more interesting and inviting an image than the completed act.
I have completed the sorting in the Swap Shop (phew!), and out of the couple of thousand items, nearly half had no traceable provenance, but the other half I identified as having been made in one of 45 countries world-wild, with only a handful of items coming from Scotland, and three handmade garments from Eigg.
The list of “Made In” labels, for posterity, is as follows: Australia, Holland, Denmark, France, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Peru, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, Vietnam, South Africa, Nepal, Morocco, Macau, Mauritius, Czechoslovakia, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Turkey, Greece, Singapore, Lithuania, Korea, United Arab Emirates, El Salvador, Taiwan, U.S.A, China, P.R.C.(People’s Republic of China), Hong Kong, Foreign, UK, Britain, England (a huge number of books from: St Ives) Ireland, Scotland, Nowhere.
I am still interviewing islanders for the forthcoming audio walking guide, and questions have been raised about what connection the tourists (only ever referred to as ‘visitors’ on the island as a policy), or even islanders themselves- actually have with many of the landmarks. I have spoken to one or two islanders who have lived on Eigg for decades, who have never visited parts of the tiny island that visitors pass everyday!
I am currently feeling the need to re-enact the island tradition of Guising (in photography at least) with costumes described to me by the 91 year old, and the islands oldest orriginal islander, Katie MacKinnon. Though she couldn’t remember a great deal of the details, Katie said that she and her brothers would go out, on Halloween in particular; “Yes Halloween. But there’s hardly anything like that going on now. I miss it. It’s great fun. I was out guising once a time. Ha Ha. I wore any rags I could get a hold of. A false face. A ribbon round the back.” So there you go. No images of such costumes exist, so I am going to have to take a few liberties and embellish a costume of my own.