Lybster at last!

Finally I have arrived in Lybster!

I left home on Monday and flew to Edinburgh for a few days with my sister, Tina , who is a photographer. We managed to take in a wonderful show of glass at the Museum of Scotland which showcases the contemporary glass collection of Alan Poole and Dan Klein. There are lots of fantastic pieces (I will put pictures up when I can download them from my camera), it is an amazing collection of contemporary British glass which was collected by the founders of Northlands and it got me in the mood for my trip North!

We also saw John Burne’s show at Open Eye Gallery, which is phenomenal and some of David Mach’s show which includes amazing gigantic figure sculptures of Christ made out of coat hangers. Tina has photographed John Burne and David Mach so it was lovely to see the work with her.

We also fitted in a visit to the wonderful Valvona and Crolla, Clarissa Dixon Wright was dining at another table and had the waitress quaking in her boots!

The train journey to Inverness today was great, the heather is astounding, forming a patchwork of purples all the way. I haven’t done that journey since about 1984! Not a lot has changed except Aviemore
seems to have an enormous police station!

So, now at last I am in Lybster! I borrowed a bike and cycled down to the harbour this evening – what a wonderful place, full of loads of inspiration – lobster pots and creels and nets….a wealth of texture and colour. I am busy with my sketch books and getting acquainted with the place.

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“The turtle only travels when it sticks its neck out”.

I am preparing to leave for the journey, 750 miles north, to attend a conference and masterclass at Northlands Glass near Wick. Much time has gone into preparing an “inspirational suitcase”, (as requested by Michael Rogers my workshop leader)  to take with me. This consists of ideas, writing, poems, quotes, maps and sketchbooks, metaphorical, as well as practical, things I might need to make glass in this remote place, and some small objects I can use to cast in glass. The process of preparing has been inspirational in itself. At times I feel totally out of my depth with glass, but I came across a Korean Proverb “The turtle only travels when it sticks its neck out”, which made me feel a whole lot better! It is so good to take the time to reflect on my process and to consider what I need to take with me along the road.

Yesterday I took some time out from that to walk Alfie with my good friend, Anne. We walked

up into the Preseli Hills behind my house and marvelled at the changing season – the heather is amazing throwing a purple haze over the landscape, and I was reminded of that September 18 years ago when I moved here.

We have been harvesting our garden produce – a wonderful crop of vegetables and soft fruit this year, this is supplemented by foraging mushrooms and wild fruit. Den is becoming quite an expert at finding and identifying mushrooms (you really need to be!) and I have made fruit jams and vodkas which are laid up for the winter. It feels good to be seasonal and besides it is all insulation against the recession and the uncommercial way we live in this remote place with one bus a week.