How is it February already?! January appears to have disintegrated into a blur of future planning, Up-Helly-Aa celebrations, art and travelling! Here’s a wee recap…
The year started off sleepily but the cobwebs and lazy bones were quickly energised with the wild weather hitting into Shetland, some dramatic wave watching was enjoyed and reminded me of the intensity of the elements here in Winter. It felt good to be out in the landscape again.
On the final Tuesday of January we celebrate Up-Helly-Aa in Shetland, a fire festival like you’ve never seen before. Up to a thousand men carrying lit torches form a procession led by the ‘Guiser Jarl’ and his squad to light up the streets of Lerwick before burning their handbuilt Galley. Following this procession a full night of dancing, drinking, singing and merriment is enjoyed, followed by a public holiday the next day for everyone to recover. Now, that is a very very shortened account of the festive’s so please visit the website for a fuller understanding. Although really its something you have to see to believe!
Amongst all the celebrations I was delighted to speak to Kathi Kamleitner of ‘The Travelettes‘ and her friend Frida Runnkvist who were up in Shetland to experience UHA, learn about life in the North and to speak to local artists and creatives. I welcomed them to my studio for a chat and to show them some of my work, I always love when people take the time to travel all the way here and learn about the Shetland way of life. I look forward to reading the finished articles soon.
As we welcomed February, a quick Scandinavian adventure was enjoyed with a long weekend in beautiful Copenhagen. It’s such a great city for walking around, but mostly for eating your way around! I have my parents to thank for making me and my siblings such food appreciators and I love to go out and enjoy eating meals with good company. It was a very indulgent and enjoyable few days with my sister and Mum. Lovely!
Although I am just home from Denmark, I don’t have much time to catch my breath as I am getting prepared for another change and adventure. I am delighted to be heading off to the Scottish Sculpture Workshops in Lumsden, Aberdeenshire to work as their Programme Assistant Intern for the next couple of months. SSW provides visual artists with excellent production facilities, residencies and exhibition opportunities. This experience is going to be so great for developing my career, give me a chance to focus on my art and be part of an exciting community of artists in remote Scotland. I am going to keep a track of this experience here on the blog and via my Instagram page @vrosssmith so I hope you will follow along and I can show you an insight into this exciting arts organisation and the role I will be taking.