Data and culture rich

misty sheep Due to a rather atmospheric blanket of fog I arrived into Fair Isle two days and 1 hour late.  From my first glimpses of the island from the ferry, it was well worth the wait, and Inge Thompson, on a break during rehearsals and preparations for her performance Da Fishing Hands, was there to greet us. It was wonderful to be on Fair Isle at last after hearing so much about the island and people from Inge and friends. On arrival I realise I have a lot to learn from the people, culture, craft and landscape on this beautiful island. On our first evening at the Bird Observatory, Nick Riddiford gave a talk on the island’s current work to secure Fair Isle as a Marine Protected Area. 35 kilometres from the nearest island and tourism- dependent, the Fair Isle community cannot afford to lose such a ‘superb natural resource and flow of visitors’. The community directly observe what is going on and island support for an MPA is 100%.  The island is data rich with an accumulation of facts and figures on weather, sea conditions and seabird ecology. Data and culture rich, the island has so much to teach us about the sea. ‘A tiny island where oceans meet, Fair Isle has a fascinating and very cosmopolitan history. Inhabited over a thousand years, the Isle has been open to many cultures and influences because of its geographical position. Shipping en route from such as Dundee to the Carolinas, the Mediterranean to the Baltic or Denmark to Greenland frequently set course through the Fair Isle Channel. The Isle’s men became famous for their daring rescues of shipwrecked mariners and for the distances they rowed and sailed to trade with passing vessels. Added to their skill as seafarers was the ability to form wood and straw into furniture, containers, and, most vital of all, boats suitable for the particular sea conditions surrounding the isle. At the same time the women were developing skill in coloured and patterned knitting. How long ago, or from what direction knitting was introduced to the island, is unknown, but with a limited colour palette available, the use of fairly specific design shapes, and what can only have been limited output because of the size of the community, knitwear from Fair Isle became so famous that ‘Fair Isle’ has become the generic term for coloured and patterned knitwear worldwide.’   Anne Sinclair, Handwork. The sea not only offered migratory patterns in the form of knit but also much of the wood on the island which became a well-worn part of islanders homes. The sea was, and still is, a crucial part of the development of craft on the island, with precious materials washing up on shore and many knitted items travelling across the seas beyond this tiny island today. Recycling and repurposing both pattern and materials are not only a thing of the past.  ‘From a cultural point of view the sea has always been a life giver to the island. It is so important we look after our marine resources for future generations.” Inge Thomson, Interview Folk radio UK.

Authentic Hand Knit Fair Isle Fisherman’s Keps Auctioned for Museum Fund 2011

I have also much to learn about Da Fishing Hands, the subject of a body of new work by Inge Thomson and Lise Sinclair ‘The fishing hands of Fair Isle have developed over the centuries and continue to do so, as a means for the fishermen to re-find particularly good fishing areas. They consist of a phrase usually indicating an alignment of two sets of two landmarks, taking the boat to the exact position required, time and again. These landmarks must be visible in various sea and weather conditions, and include rocks, cliffs and man-made features.’  Emma Perring, Da Fishing Hands o’ Fair Isle, 2000 .  Published in aid of the George Waterson Memorial Centre, Fair Isle da_fishing_hands.htm_txt_hands “The initial idea for the project was conceived while looking at the maps of fishing grounds (known as ‘fishing hands’) around Fair Isle, which were compiled as a resource for FIMETI (Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative). The maps themselves are things of beauty with lines denoting triangulation points connecting visible landmarks and sea stacks and the contour lines of the ocean topography. This then got me thinking about the cultural significance of this information which had previously been passed down in the oral tradition, and how the changes in our marine environment are affecting all aspects of island life. After receiving funding from Creative Scotland, FIMETI commissioned us to write a body of work which highlights the more personal effects of the degeneration of our marine resources and hopefully to give a less political voice to their cause, which is to raise awareness of the island’s plight, their bid to be granted marine protected status and ultimately re-instate a 5km commercial fishing limit.” Inge Thomson interview for Folk Radio UK. Read further HERE On Friday evening the community hall began to fill with the local Fair Isle community. This was peppered with blow-ins such as our team from Cape Farewell and a variety of birder types and we were all made to feel welcome. We had definitely blown in to a most special and intimate event and I felt a sense of privilege in witnessing the premier of Da Fishing Hands in the very place that had inspired it.  Inge and her band performed beautiful music and song, with words by Lise Sinclair.  Each note, word and sound seemed to come out of the sea and travel through each and every audience member. Lise was as a poet and musician and her untimely passing in 2013 is a huge loss, not only to the Fair Isle community but beyond. Although I had not met Lise Sinclair I felt that her presence was very much there through words, song and the many islanders who came to witness Da Fishing Hands.  Da Fishing hands blended both melancholy and a joyous uplifiting positivity for the future of the Fair Isle seas.   Fair Isle Marine Environment & Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) website and on Facebook      

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Andy Crabb's film portrait of Inge Thomson's Da Fishing Hands

Andy Crabb, Da Fishing Hands

In 2014, Sea Change artists Andy Crabb, Deirdre Nelson and Jennifer Wilcox, with filmmaker Peter Cutts, returned to Fair Isle with Inge Thomson and her band to record the premiere of Inge’s song cycle, Da Fishing Hands. The first performance took place in Fair Isle’s community hall in May 2014, and Da Fishing Hands has... Read More ›

James Brady. though everything was gone, we would stay

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wholesale jerseys ‘The essence of Orkney’s magic is silence, loneliness and the deep marvellous rhythms of sea and land, darkness and light’ George Mackay Brown wholesale nfl jerseys See the film here: though everything was gone, we would stay Artist and curator James Brady joined the 2013 Northern Isles expedition, sailing from Orkney to Shetland via... Read More ›

Deirdre Nelson, Inge Thomson. Sleeping Starfish @ The Glad Cafe as part of Luminate, with Fraser Fifield, Kerri Whiteside

Poster by Deirdre Nelson

Surrounded by a relentless sea, Fair Isle is an island of strong traditions and fierce beauty. Celebrating this, and running in support of the island’s bid for marine protected status, two artists are knitting together waves of sound and yarn, stories and starfish. Sleeping Starfish is both a work of environmental advocacy and a... Read More ›

Deirdre Nelson's The Kildas project returns to the Glad Cafe Glasgow, with Jason Singh, Inge Thomson, Hanna Tuulikki, Mischa Macpherson and Borderline Theatre

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wholesale nfl jerseys DStitch presents: The Kildas + Seachange Thursday 26 February @ The Glad Cafe, Glasgow wholesale jerseys from china In partnership with Cape Farewell, the Kildas project will present an evening at Glad Café,  26th February 2015 7pm. Cost £5 The evening will partner the remote islands of St Kilda and Fair Isle in... Read More ›

Working the Map: Islanders and a Changing Environment


Beautiful artists’ book by John Cumming: Working the Map – islanders and a changing environment Available from just £9.99 wholesale jerseys from china Shetland/Orkney artist and Sea Change commissioned artist John Cumming has created and edited an artists’ book documenting social and ecological change across the Northern Isles. Produced in partnership with Orkney... Read More ›

Fair Isle treasures

nick studying a sea slug

  On Saturday morning we made our way to  the rock pool at at Muckle Uri jerseys Ready and waiting were a group of young islanders armed with small fishing nets alongside Nick Riddiford, a passionate Fair Isle ecologist.  As they dispersed on their mission, Nick told us about the area and the many... Read More ›

‘An eye to the Windward’: Sea Change on Fair Isle

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Anne Sinclair points at a narrow yellow pine door leaning against a wall in the Fair Isle Museum: ‘When I was growing up, nearly all the internal doors in people’s cheap jerseys houses were from shipwrecks.’ Fair Isle may be largely treeless, but there’s wood to be had. Over some 5000 years of settlement here,... Read More ›

Data and culture rich

misty sheep

Due to a rather atmospheric blanket of fog I arrived into Fair Isle two days and 1 hour late.  From my first glimpses of the island from the ferry, it was well worth the wait, and Inge Thompson, on a break during rehearsals and preparations for her performance Da Fishing Hands, was there to greet... Read More ›

Lost Birds and Fishing Hands: Getting our Bearings on Fair Isle

Inge Thomson

wholesale jerseys   It’s a Caspian Stonechat, and it’s lost.Cheap Jerseys china Its feathers are spiked with rain, and it seems to have a hacking cough. It’s been on Fair Isle for a month, and the word around the island is that it’s unlikely to see the Caspian Sea again. ‘Blown off course, all of... Read More ›

Grounded (Freumhaichte/Wadlu-Gnana). Judith Parrott


Grounded is an exhibition of photographic prints, audiovisual, sound and prose, resulting from residencies with Gaelic speaking communities of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and with Wangkangurru, Arrarnta and Arrernte people of the Central Australian Desert. The exhibition was launched at XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 Cheap New Orleans Saints Jerseys. Follow Judith’s Grounded blog at Read More ›

Inge Thomson's Da Fishing Hands in Celtic Connections

‘ wholesale nfl jerseys Some of the finest music and poetry ever to have emerged from these fair isles’. Fair Isle musician/singer/composer (Fair Isle is full of multi-taskers) Inge Thomson brings her haunting and mesmerising Da Fishing Hands to the Tron Theatre, Gladgow, during Celtic Connections in January 2015. Written with Fair Isle poet and... Read More ›

Julie Fowlis Band win Scots Trad Music Award

Congratulations to Julie Fowlis and her band, wholesale nfl jerseys from china who have won best group of the year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2014. Julie was recently the first Gaelic singer to be honoured with a ‘Tartan Clef’ Scottish Music Award. Julie sailed on the 2011 Sea Change Western Isles expedition. See... Read More ›

Mathematics, making and birding

tommy bird

  Fair Isle bird made by Tommy H Hyndman At Da Fishin’ Hands premiere at the community hall I noticed a beautiful Fair Isle jumper in shades of mossy green and later discovered that the wearer was Inges grandfather Stewart, a retired Light House Keeper, fiddle player, spinner and spinning wheel maker.  His wife Annie... Read More ›

Skye Loneragan and Q-Poetics: Culture 2014

Plucked of Purpose - The Adventures of PB

Poet/performer Skye Loneragan took part with Cape Farewell in Glasgow’s Merchant City Festival at the Ramshorn Theatre, hosted by GalGael in 2013.wholesale jerseys from china Skye is Q-Poet at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow nfl jerseys Q-Poetics is a Culture 2014 project placing poets and poetry in places and spaces of of waiting. See Skye’s... Read More ›

Andy Crabb's short film Sea Changes

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Cheap Jerseys china Sea Changes, part 1 featuring Karine Polwart from Andy Crabb cheap jerseys on Vimeo. Filmmaker and SAMS artist-in-residence Andy Crabb joined Cape Farewell’s Northern Isles expedition in August/September and reflects here on the first days of sailing in Orkney waters. Sea Changes is the first part of a film about Cape Farewell’s... Read More ›

Karine Polwart sings Freedom Come All Ye in Orkney's Italian Chapel

Jen Wilcox and Karine Polwart, Orkney   cheap nfl jerseys we have your personal information and are able to contact you. 941 units were delivered during the fourth quarter of 2014. If a Texas court orders that the electronic discovery must be made available, That number has fallen to two percent, The omnidirectional movement system would enable the vehicle to... Read More ›

The Swan Northern Isles Expedition


In August 2013, Sea Change set sail with two crews of artists and scientists from Orkney to Shetland via Fair Isle. Sailing on 113-year-old community owned Shetland Fyfie The Swan, the journey took us around Scotland’s most northerly coasts and islands. Click here for Expedition site >   cheap nfl jerseys pushed from their hiding... Read More ›

Sexy Peat / Tìr mo Rùin. Highland Print Studio/Cape Farewell: Year of Natural Scotland 2013

Sexy Peat

Following the success of Sexy Peat/Tìr mo Rùin as part of Sea Change at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, the exhibition transfers to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery in March-April 2014, before returning to its island of origin at An Lanntair, Lewis. Sexy Peat/Tìr mo Rùin artists: Anne Campbell: Jon Macleod: Kacper Kowalski:... Read More ›

Things Unspoken / Things Unseen. Andrea Roe, Anne Bevan

Anne Bevan Ammonia Beccarii giclee print from CT scan with Dr Ian Butler & Michael Wolchover 2012

Things Unspoken Things Unseen by Anne Bevan and Andrea Roe 2 volume artist book Things Unspoken Things Unseen, by Anne Bevan and Andrea Roe, was launched with Cape Farewell’s 2013 Swan expedition at the Pier Arts Centre in August 2013.  Including contributions by Janice Galloway, Jen Hadfield, Kathleen Jamie, Robert Alan Jamieson and Alan Spence,... Read More ›

Air falbh leis na h-eòin – Away with the Birds: Culture 2014


Hanna Tuulikki’s body of work exploring the mimesis of bird sounds in Gaelic song was described as ‘heartbreakingly gorgeous’ on BBC Radio Scotland’s The Culture Show in January 2014. Performed in collaboration with vocal artists, field recorder Geoff Sample, filmmaker Daniel Warren, Gaelic singer Mary Smith, textile artist Deirdre Nelson and choreographer Rosalind Masson, the... Read More ›

Air falbh leis na h-eòin – Away with the Birds

Compass Hill, Canna. Photo by Hanna Tuulikki

28 June 2013 Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Voices at Dusk   29 May 2013 Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Tracing Lines 19 April 2013 The creation of Air falbh leis na h-eòin: Hanna on tumblr 14 January 2013 Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary:... Read More ›

Mapping the Sea: Barra. Stephen Hurrel

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Stephen Hurrel’s Sea Change commission, Mapping the Sea: Barra, will feature in an installation at Timespan Museum and Art Gallery, Helmsdale. Stephen is one of the artists for Generation – Scotland’s largest ever art show –  involving 100 artists in 60 venues, coinciding with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Generation is produced by Glasgow Life and... Read More ›