My flair served me right once more. To dull Saturday afternoon, I felt compelled to find out how the world’s cartographers, marine charters and surveyors – from the Antiquities to the past century – looked at this corner of the realm.
Thule, no longer a mystery.
Through centuries & millennia, mariners have relied to hydrographic charters for navigation, and search for safe passages.
I love the way those surveyors shaped the islands, and even if wars stimulated needs of monarchs – or politicians & merchants – the Dutch remained rhe champions of all marine charters!
And for those of you, lucky enough to visit my local museum in Letwick, Da Gadderie celebrates the life & work of James Robertson, the Shetlander who mapped Jamaica.
What a fabulous insight into the world of maps.
Filed under 2015, 60N, Arcania, autumn, earth, education, exhibition, geopoetics, home, images, island, north, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, world, writing
An occasional holiday allows many of us to catch up with the world.
I seized that free weekday to visit my local museum in order to catch up with a promise, that of enjoying the latest exhibition at Da Gadderie.
I must confess the Shetland Museum & Archives picked the follow-up to Writing The North exhibition with flair, and What Seas, What Shores follow in the footsteps of the former.
Two archipelagos once again on show till the end of June, and celebrating their respective land / sea scapes would make us once again travel between Orkney & Shetland.
Today’s voyage of discovery made me discover selected works from Laura Drever & Diana Leslie, based in Orkney, as well as that of Gail Harvey, Glasgow born – Shetland based.
On the other hand, my eyes & heart found themselves back on very familiar ground with Paul Bloomer & Ruth Brownlee, whose respective works speak very vividly to my senses.
On this occasion, Bloomer chose to explode with extraordinary colours in his interpretation of Aurora borealis – locally named as da mirrie dancers.
I just love the way he played with colours.
Ruth has always captured seascapes with such flair her works make you taste seas pray on your lips.
As a poet & photographer, I am sensitive to my local seascapes, and Ms Brownlee’s work has long captured my imagination & deep admiration as an artist.
Her world speaks of home through her oil & other media’s pigments.
Great exhibition not to be missed if you are wandering on our northern latitude. It’s a cracker!
Filed under 2014, 60N, atlantic, celebration, colours, exhibition, geopoetics, home, images, island, lerwick, museum, north, project, review, shetland, shore, spirit, world, writing
I love my local museum & archives.
It is a place of treasures, a temple of wonders & records – a time machine, a cabinet of life, past and present.
As my love grows deeper in time for da auld rock, such a temple feels a familiar place where I find inspiration, knowledge and understanding of my island world. It is a place where I collaborated with other poets for different literary projects, including The Hanseatic Project, with Bremen based poet Michael Augustine a few years ago.
But something very special was expecting me this afternoon – something of a different kind.
At first, all looked perfectly “normal” – Barbara’s smile behind the imposing desk inside the flagstone paved foyer.
A quick look around the gift shop & bookshelves led to a voyage of discovery. “Da Gadderie” looked a bit darker than usual at first sight.
Whereas my friend sat at the old typewriter, my heart pounded at the first manuscript, that of Robert Louis Stevenson… A magical extract from a journal, illustrated with a quick sketch of Sumburgh Head, dated June 1869, a hundred years before my birth (!) How exquisite to discover your literary hero’s own handwriting. I was suddenly in heaven.
And this magical literary journey continued with other great literary heroes – Sir Walter Scott, whose only visit to Shetland dates back to 1814, two hundred years exactly this year, had a best seller purpose, The Pirate (1822), where the story begins in Sumburgh… Jarlshof was born.
Here, before my very eyes, Scott’s original manuscript of The Pirate.
The team behind the entire project worked over the past year to bring us all a formidable collection of priceless literary artefacts, including, books & manuscripts, to celebrate the literary saga from the Northern Isles.
Hugh MacDiarmid & George MacKay Brown stand side by side…
Naturally the exhibition celebrates the linguistic history of both Orcadian & Shetland dialects. I notably marvelled at the glass cabinets dedicated to them, and savoured a moment before Jakob Jakobsen’s linguistic wonder.
My heart also bowed at John & Lollie Graham, but also Stella Sutherland & Rhoda Bulter among the 20th Century greats from the Shetland pantheon of poets. Their faces beam at you.
What a feast for the reader and writer that I am!
I certainly need to return to sample and digest better this phenomenal literary showcase. Thank goodness, it is running till 11 May 2014.
it is not to be missed.
All Museum staff involved in such exhibition, as Barbara smiled, deserve a pat on the back.
Please click on the link for full details on that formidable literary journey at:
Writing The North
The final day of events planned for Saturday 10 May includes a series of talks as well as an evening of poetry reading.
Free tickets available from Shetland Museum & Archives. I will certainly reserve my ticket :-)>
Filed under 2014, 60N, celebration, exhibition, geopoetics, island, lerwick, life, museum, north, project, review, shetland, spring, world, writing