My most recent project to start off 2015 was heading off to the Isle of Eigg (one of Scotland’s beautiful Small Isles) and working as Artist in Residence in Sweeney’s Bothy with the Bothy Project. My residency was the very first of the year January 3rd – 10th 2015. However I ended up being on the Island a lot longer than expected, the wild weather off the West Coast of Scotland brought in gale force winds hail storms and heavy snow, I really loved getting to spend a lot longer on the Island though!
My intentions for the Residency were to think about the layers of the place, the formations, textures and the geological immensity and presence/ relevance of it through the dramatic surroundings and changes in the light and colour.
The experience from spending a week in the amazing Sweeney’s Bothy was just incredible, I had spent time in residence at the Inshriach Bothy last January http://www.thebothyproject.org/ellis-oconnor/ however the location and surroundings were completely different!
The Isle of Eigg is very special to me anyway, I had spent sometime there in December and had really connected with the place and people. On arrival I had already noticed that this was me in my element, a connection to a true place, a real natural horizon, an unwavering sense of what is important and my senses were already re tuned to the nature and vast mountainous areas around me. Being there on Eigg, with the framing of Rums impressive mountains that were constantly changing every minute, the Fog lifting and recapturing my attention of the place, I knew it was where I was meant to be.
I spent the 11 days that I was on Eigg, exploring the Island (weather dependent) working away in the comfort of the inspiring Bothy with the backdrop of the dark basalt formations, building up a large body of new drawings, photographs and prints, roaming around speaking to the locals and re learning to slow down and connect with the place. I always realise on reflection of being within a place that is wild, remote and sublime. You’re thoughts become quieter, an open mind which mimics the open vastness of the horizon around you and knowing what it is you truly want to achieve away from the constant stimulation and pointless distractions of the outside modern world.
I leave on the Tuesday 13th when the weather settles, 11 days on the Island, longer than expected but on the Ferry back over to the mainland I find myself thinking I have to spend longer here. I have connected with this place in a way I have never connected with an Island before, walking all over, learning how to slow down and leave out all existential matters; just be here present in the place and matter. I feel we all have to do this now and then.
Against the weather warnings, and the wild west coast, I found comfort and sanctuary within the place, mentally and physically.
I will forever remember that window out to the west.
To read a more detailed account of my writings from my time spent at the Bothy Project on the Isle of Eigg please click here: