northernisles

A stopover in Shetland

So up until now I’ve not really stopped travelling. I left Norway the third week of May and then went straight to Shetland, then onto the mainland, then up to Ullapool, over to the Isle of Lewis where I travelled down through the Isle of Harris, Berneray, North Uist, South Uist back over to Mallaig where I then caught the ferry to Eigg to where I am right now. Talk about going the long way around. I’m going to spend quite a bit of time though on this post showing some of my photographs and travels around Shetland, a place that will forever inspire me, also because I took so many photos whilst there and had such a great adventure.

I spent only a few days in Shetland having explored the Islands quite thoroughly in the past few years and me being me I decided to fly back to the Scottish Mainland via Shetland from Bergen, a good way of connecting the landscapes together. My accommodation for my few days in Shetland was the beautiful homely and well situated Ortolan House B&B, a large Georgian townhouse dating from the 1780’s, well located in the central conservation ‘lanes’ area of Lerwick, less than a minute’s walk from the bustling main street which is home to all amenities. Ortolan has a wonderful well-established walled garden with stunning views overlooking Lerwick’s busy harbour and the tranquil island of Bressay. The property offers two exclusive bedrooms with an emphasis on having a relaxed and comfortable stay and I certainly did have that! Here’s a few images of the accommodation and the places I explored whilst on the Northern Isles.

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Sunday

My first full day began with a trip over to the neighbouring Island of Bressay. A quiet place but home to many wonderful clear coastal routes, I aimed for a few hours there to take in the sights and also view Lerwick from a different perspective. I spent my time wandering around the Island and taking sanctuary in the beaches that surround the west coast of the Island. I then spent the rest of the day wandering around the Mareel and Shetland museum, always a great place for finding new contemporary art that’s inspired from the unique Shetland landscape. It was then onto Burra for a coastal hike with a couple of local artist friends, impressive geology and wild seascapes leading us around the shore.

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Monday

I set off in the morning for an Island I’d never been to before. I’ve been to every single one of the Shetland Islands now apart from Foula and Fair Isle, that is a must for in the autumn of this year! And so Whalsay it was, without a clear plan I headed off for the ferry with just one aim, try and hike around most of the Island and see the unique natural wonders and coastal paths.

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Tuesday

On my last day of my short trip I hiked out to the Knab, one of my favourite coastal walks in Shetland and ideally located so close to Lerwick, such incredible views over to Bressay and down to the south of the mainland. It was then onto a boat trip around Bressay with Shetland Sea Bird Tours, the same lovely couple who ran the accommodation I was staying in. Turns out both Rebecca and Phil not only run their homely Ortolan B&B they also are very knowledgeable and expert guides on bird and sea life. Not only do they stock an enviable natural history library for their guests but with their combined knowledge and expertise they are perfectly placed to advise and even facilitate your time in the field. The trip to Shetland was perfect in gaining some inspiration from a landscape that so richly appeals to me, and leave with a new appreciation for the varied geology there.

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Again another wonderful trip, I’ve realised that my blog is turning a bit into a travel, photography and art blog which I don’t mind one bit. I’ve gone from one project in one country to the next consistently this year and I find it good for myself and reflection through my art to document and write what I’ve been up to in the place. It’s also really fulfilling for me to share it with you all so again thanks for reading this. My next blog is going to be about my further onward travel around the wonderful Scottish Islands where I’ve been recently, it’s good to be back in my home country, a place that inspires me to the highest level and always will do.

Edges

The second big trip of the Summer was being Artist in Residence with the http://www.clippertonproject.com/ sailing around the Northern Isles of Scotland. I have spoke a lot about this in previous blogs but not at how influenced I have been from these places, these tiny uninhabited Islands, the remote inhospitable places right at the edge of the world.
Being back in the Studio, I have started working on my images from my time spent on board around these Islands. This year i will be working with the title ‘Edges’ exploring exposed and remote places on the egde of the world through visual photographs, prints and experimenting with drawing and paintings. Bringing out the unique atmosphere and wild untamed nature of them that most people do not get to see.

Here’s some photographs from my ‘Edges’ Series. You can also find them on my website with new work on http://www.ellisoconnor.com

These photos were all taken from my time spent sailing around the entire Coast of Shetland and the Islands of Mousa, Bressay, Noss, Whalsay, Out Skerries, Fetlar, Unst, Yell, Ramna Stacks, and Papa Stour.

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Artist Expedition to the Northern Isles with the Clipperton Project

So I’m very happy to announce that my kickstarter project for my Artist’s Expedition to the Northern Isles with the Clipperton Project was fully funded with 29 backers and raising a brilliant 1,057. Thank you to all who backed the project, any art work/ prints and photographs will be made on board the expedition and then depending on what the backer pledged, will receive the work by September!

Anyway, I have just arrived in Shetland, met the Clipperton Project Crew and have just started my months Artist Residency around the Northern Isles with them bound around all the smaller remote Islands. I am so thrilled to be a part of this project knowing that not only I will gain a lot from this experience, but my art work will also in a new way.
The aim of the Journey is to focus on sustainable living, highlight small remote communities and how they are affected in these areas, show the vast and dominant presence of the landscapes that many people never get to see and also document my journey and voyage through these places!

I am going to have limited service on the boat and around the Islands for the next month so I am going to wait until I am back in August to do proper blog posts detailing my time and work made!

So until then to follow my day to day progress follow me on instagram, ellisoconnor or twitter, @ellisoconnor1