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Stephen Morrison at the Ratlin Sound maritime festival

The Stephen Morrison roadshow is about to set sail on another voyage/project. As part of the Portable Art exhibition we are attempting to sail El Vigo back to Northern Ireland, to complete her circle of voyaging since she sailed from there in the 1980’s. The exhibition opens in London, then travels to Spain and then to Ullapool. El Vigo was built in Vigo, Spain, the work; ‘port of arrival’ recounts her return to her boat building yard, with her then owner, for her 21st birthday.


We have also been invited back to Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, so after making a landfall in Northern Ireland, we shall be crossing Ratlin sound to show the film ‘A Boat Retold’ (Louise Milne, Sean Martin) and performing a similar event to that of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

 RSMF Programme 2015 web (2)_Page_01

We didn’t mean to make a print

Another introduction from last nights poetry reading was to artist, Sidney Lancaster. Sidney invited us to an exhibition opening at SNAP print studio ( Here we met Brenda Malkinson, artist and director of SNAP. Brenda gave us a tour of the print studio facilities and when she saw me looking at the typesetting press, she invited us to return the next day and make a print!

This is one of the processes unavailable to us at Highland Print Studio where we make most of our printed works, so the opportunity of learning the process was too great to miss. We headed off back to our hotel, deep in discussion of what we should do, knowing we had to have some idea to go with in the morning.brendaNext Day, we met Brenda and Sidney for coffee then headed off to Brenda’s studio for a tour and to the local art supplies shop. 

We had decided to go with our growing interest in grain elevators and the use of language, as these two things were the emerging focus of the trip. Knowing also that we had to keep things simple, in order to get the best from the day.print1 

print7 print6Christine was set to the lino-cutting of the image element, whilst Ian started arranging the text element. Brenda and Sidney were great to work with, but Brenda soon realised that expert help was required if we were going to get any results before midnight, so she called on the letterpress queen of Edmonton – Dawn.

Dawn swept in and took charge of us all, explaining the process, pitfalls, common mistakes etc. etc. she has seen them all, as she teaches the typesetting evening classes at the studio. IMG_0550 

print2It was unbelievable to be actually making a work! We really didn’t intend to make an edition, but as Dawn said, once we had set up the press, it was a shame to just run off 1 copy, so we ran off a number of works, then edited them down to and acceptable edition of 8.IMG_0552We were left quite overwhelmed by the generosity, kindness, enthusiasm and feeling of camaraderie  we felt with these amazing artists. There are definite areas to develop some form of combined project here and hopefully a relationship between SNAP and Highland Print Studios can emerge.

Poetry and Art combine

Edmonton is proving to be a melting pot of like minded folk!

Fantastic readings, great conversations and engagement with a wealth of wit, humour and dedication to the art of words. We were introduced to artist Shirley Servis, the Staff Literary Artist on the Wards at the University Hospital in Edmonton.

They have a great programme of poets, visual artists and writers that engage with patients at the hospital. The Friends of University Hospitals also commission works and installations around the buildings and they have a fantastic gallery space as you come through the main doors.

The current exhibition by Margie Davidson – Measuring a Year is a year-long knitting project where she had knitted the colours of the season or the environment in which she found herself. Cleverly displayed all around the gallery, so the viewer has to walk in, around and through the work.

Mainly staffed by volunteers, this seemed a great way of connecting with people that may not otherwise have any contact with the art or literary worlds.