Last Night In Scotland

While marveling over tonight’s 3 hour long dramatic sunset, it suddenly hit me that it was my last night in Scotland. Sigh…Tomorrow I leave on an 11 hour train journey back south to London, with a quick night over, then the Eurostar train through the Chunnel to Paris, where I plan to visit the Pompidou to see a show of the work of Chris Ware who I went to Grad School with among all the other great art housed in this immense inside out building, then down to the Burgundy countryside to visit with Olivier. Talk about a cultural whiplash.

Been spending the day at the northern end of the North Sea, just east of Inverness at a spa hotel looking out on the Moray Firth. A place they call the Brighton of the North. Well whaddya know, I have ended my trip to the British Isles straight north of where I started. What a dream of a trip. Full of such a range of experiences and memories. Thank you for sharing them with me.

Let me catch you up and spell out the days I was off-line. Working hard during the last few days of the residency at Hospitalfield and traveling with Lili out West.

Gary the grounds keeper at Hospitalfield made us a grand ole bonfire on Friday night August 19th after we had our last sharing together of each other’s progress over the past 2 weeks. I had invited the group into the Print studio where I had been working to see the small samples with the monkey puzzle tree seeds and attempts at thistle paper I had been working on, see the posts I have been uploading to the Travelogue blog, and my final sculpture with the dried Kombu seaweed. I think I am going to try and find a local NY source for seaweed to add to my bamboo and paper re-bloom sculptures. And I really want to continue pressing the plants into my own paper with collaged paper prints for a layered memory with future Papers of Place. 

After the bonfire died down we took a walk looking for bats with a special app designed by a former resident that picks up the sonar signals of the creatures as they fly through the night. Super Cool, as long as the bats did not fly right in front of us. It was a clear night for star gazing. It was the latest I have stayed up, thankfully just to enjoy spending time with the other residents.

Lili was so inspired by the bonfire that at the last minute she decided to run a pit fire to bake the ceramic pieces she had produced. She ended up getting up at 5:30 am to light the fire and set the pieces in the ash to smoke all day on Saturday. Boy did we all smell like the Smokies we ate for dinner that night, over a simple delicious meal we all partook in preparing. Molly with a fresh tomato salad, Emma cracking open the smoked Haddock they had bought for us (Arbroath is famous for its Smokies) Paula and Lili preparing a salad, me making rice, and Leticia and Elias doing the dishes. A perfect last night’s meal together as a summer cohort at Hospitalfield.

On Sunday, Lili and I took a taxi to the start of the Arbroath cliffs and walked the 3 miles back in silence as we observed a walking practice of mindfulness. It was a refreshing way to spend our last day in the area, watching the water change colors with the sun and tides. Finding a chair perched on the cliffs looking out into the sea’s vastness. Hiking down to a rocky beach to soak my aching feet one more time, in my wool socks mind you, so as to not slip or stub a toe. Afterwards we celebrated with freshly smoked salmon and ice cream. That evening was spent attending and documenting a tea ceremony our new friend Anni the Chef was hosting as part of a local Festival of Making for the County of Angus. She was serving the matcha in a beautiful set of tea bowls, all by local artisans. I loved the yellow and green one I was served. The tea tasted heavenly, but it was too late in the day for me to drink such a strongly caffeinated beverage. I barely slept that night, and was exhausted for the beginning of our epic journey west that started at 6 the next morning, and ran straight through till we settled down in our airbnb on the Isle of Butte late that

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