Celtic Conversations Objectives: To explore Scotland’s Celtic present and past whilst examining connections with my own Irish Celtic heritage. In particular I will focus the research on the Pict’s art (Scotland’s tribal peoples who lived during the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval period), the Gaelic Language (Both Irish and Scottish) and examining the great myths and legends that both Celtic nations celebrate.
I moved from Ireland to Wales in 2011 to begin my BA (Hons)Fine Art at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I graduated in June of 2015 with a 1st Class Honours; from that I won a scholarship to continue onto the Masters of Fine Art programme. Since completion I have relocated to another beautiful celtic part of the world, the very picturesque city of Perth in Scotland. Here too nature is awesome(in the true sense of the word), abundant and wonderful; you are never far from its breath taking beauty.
Since I moved here I have been interested in the similarities between our two celtic nations; Ireland and Scotland. I became a Historic Scotland Member when I moved here first so that I could explore Scotland castles and protected sites. The Gaelic language is so similar to Ireland’s own Gaelic language…many of the words are the same only pronounced differently. Language interested me, we are a people who love to talk and love to tell stories. Ireland has many myths and legends (folklore). I wanted to explore Scotland’s. I know of one that is shared between our two nations, it is related to the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. The story tells the tale about the Scotish Giant Benandonner and Irish Giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
Of all the wonderful places I have seen here in Scotland they pale in comparison to the welcoming and lively people. They have a great wit and sense of pride in their history and an even greater sense of fun and humour. I feel lucky to have become part of their culture.
One thing that has made me sad was how no matter where I go the same old issues are there. Homelessness, food banks and inequalities. So how can I use my art to explore and celebrate this fantastic new country and at the same time create dialogue that could draw attention to the inequalities.
While visiting a late night exhibition and show about the Picts at Perth’s Museum and Art Gallery I was fascinated by the markings that the Picts carved into stone. I had seen similar in Ireland. I wanted to create something with these markings.
I thought about using traditional materials such as stone, copper, slate and silver. Ultimately I joined a silver smithing class at the local college to learn how to make silver jewellery with the thoughts to learn how to reproduce some of these shapes alongside more modern recognisable forms.
Jewellery Making Class
As this was all pretty new to me I needed to start with some basic shapes. I have only had 2 classes so far but already loving it. I have some experience working with metals however working at such small scale is proving finicky.
We started off with plane copper sheet and copper wire (Silver is too expensive to mess around with).
First attempt – is it a hand/fish/hedgehog/jellyfish……it was harder than I though it was going to be so to start I am just exploring shape, form and texture. I need to learn some new techniques.
It’s a working progress before I move to silver.
The copper reflects beautifully when treated with textured hammers. Beginning to make a copper ring.
An attempt at a Celtic moon – the moon is a constant element in an ever changing landscape. I am still getting used to how the metal changes with heat or strike. Heat softens and makes it more pliable, striking it makes is harder.
22nd Feb 2018 – Celtic Knots
Aidan Meehan’s book on knotwork is a wonderful guide to creating some of the intricate patterns associated with the Celts.
27th February 2018
Still working on a copper ring, harder to weld than I thought it would be!
I really love the rich colour of copper when scorched. I am debating wether to polish it or leave it as it is.