A common thread which runs through my artwork is moving things through time and space.
This might be recreating an object from the past as authentically as possible using scientific sources.
Or using that experience combined with contemporary materials and ideas to create something new.
Sometimes I'll create an immersive experience of the past and invite people on an imaginative journey, using hands on physical activities.
I also use physical activities to develop spiritual literacy, and develop #SensingSpirituality. This might include developing Primal Awareness, Sensing Challenge, Meaningfulness, Values, Otherness and mystery.
The Sea Connects People!
Part of the stove "Our Norwegian Story" cultural wayfinding project. I built a boat sculpture in public. Inspired by a ship model gifted to Dumfries from Norway my boat was an exploration of the shared boat building tradition. It was skinned - kept afloat - with stories of Norwegian connections contributed by visitors to my boat yard in the cafe.
I also used my reenactment connections as well as cameras and projectors, to collapse space. The Karmøy Viking club met in Norway watching the Norwegian themed open mic night at the Stove, and those at the Stove could talk with Norwegians.
I use first person historical interpretation to take physical objects and create an event and a persona that can bring the past to life.
In primary schools, at historical sites, or even local community galas, I work alone and with others to provide hands on access to heritage and hidden histories. I can be an interactive exhibit, an imaginative interpreter of artefacts and an inspirational encounter with heritage resources - and sometimes all three at once.
I also volunteer as a member of Galloway Longfhada Vikings, and many of them are involved in Cluaran. Scotland has a lot more history to voyage through than just the viking era though!
In 2019 we built a skin boat from scratch. We did this as part of "Galloway Glens" Living beside the loch and using materials which could be sourced from the local environment (mostly). As well as building the boat we gave the public the opportunity to try a variety of traditional crafts themselves - from jewellery smithing to storytelling.
Any encounter with the pre-modern requires the enquirer to understand that (whatever their current paradigm), spirituality was as real as breakfast time for our ancestors. Using the Scottish curriculum for excellence framework often called "Time for Reflection" I use artwork and art workshops to explore #SensingSpirituality in a post modern multicultural context. I run workshops, present assemblies, Take RMPE lessons, and of course express my own journey through installations stories and works of art.
This project runs online through social media, and offline in physical community actions. Events are designed so that everyone can participate with integrity. Participants find more than just words to help discover and communicate the really deep stuff that makes us human
I don't just make replicas ! Recently I have been watching the water and thinking about "La Tene" Iron age designs.
I have also been collecting images from around Galloway and creating new designs which are aesthetically pleasing and meaningful in their own right, but can also can be applied to clothing, jewellery and even colouring books.
I also run events and workshops where people use my workshop to learn new skills, celebrate festivals, and meet people internationally. These often involve White Hot Metal and blacksmithing, but also leatherwork, jewellery smithing, textiles .... and FOOD.
I've provided consultancy for mediaeval feasts for community development and even run a mobile blacksmithing workshop for TV filming.
I've run workshops in Blacksmithing, Caligraphy, Celtic Knotwork, Silversmithing, Leatherworking, and Costume design.
These activities give people access to their intangible heritage. Rather than creating a suspension of disbelief. The authenticity of the heritage experience is accessed by using raw ingredients, human power, traditional skills and by working together in a community. It is a meditation in making, but when it's working the learning is hidden in the laughter.
All this has been possible through opportunities and collaboration with St Johns Church, The Stove Network, The indomitable thistles of Cluaran, Volunteers in "The Vikings" of Galloway Longfhada, The Yellow Door Gallery and, of course, the support of my long suffering wife.
More detail can be found on the Wordsmithcrafts Website