Image: photographs of my new "Scotland the More" prints, which I will be launching for sale during my trip to Brussels this October for Transpoesie. Read the poem here (English/French and Dutch). Watch the poem here.
The room was on the ground floor and had a stunning view of Arthur's Seat. I remember looking out the window and thinking I wanted to write something that would sum up Scotland from my experience.
In my life, I've lived in Dunblane (Stirlingshire), Torphins and Lumphanan (Aberdeenshire) and Edinburgh. Most of my holidays in between were trips to the Orkney islands, Shetland or the train trips me and my mum would take down to her hometown of Glasgow. I wanted something that would mention all these fantastic places and articulate both our history and where we were now. It was a charged time: it was about 3 months after the Scottish referendum and I was still feeling a bit jaded about the "no" vote. So, I sat down and wrote a list poem - about what Scotland was and wasn't. Initially, it was clunky and over 5 minutes long.
First, I tackled the prints: initially, my plan was to work with photographs I had taken, but most of them weren't of a very good quality. Therefore, I searched through the internet for public domain art or old photographs.
It was a really difficult trawl: there are thousands of photographs and pieces of art of Edinburgh and Glasgow, but the tagging system is often difficult - lots of portraits of various barons, royalty or rich people were often tagged "Edinburgh" or "Orkney" for no discernible reason. I didn't want to use touristy photos - I wanted to use something old with modern fonts, to show the distinction between modern Scotland and older artwork. I went through about 9 different designs and drafts before I settled on what I've produced.
I ended up using three photographs of Edinburgh and Glasgow (Design 2, 3 and 5) and two pieces of artwork. The artwork is of the Orkney vole (Design 1): an animal totally unqiue to the Orkney isles I learned about as a child and a painting of Macbeth (Design 3): my middle name is MacBeath and my parents now live near the Macbeth stone - the stone that Macbeth was supposedly beheaded on.
So there you go! Here's how I wrote my favourite poem and put together accompanying prints. I'll be launching them for sale whilst I'm in Brussels. After I get back, I'll be putting them on sale on my website. It'll be £5 for a pack of 5, plus posting and packaging. I hope you like these prints. Use them to frame, send to a friend or put them on your fridge - it's up to you! Until then, if you've got any special requests send me a message.
The adventure does not end there however... if you want to find out even more then check out this map I made of all the inspirations behind the lines. If you're savvy enough you'll be able to find some mountains, lochs, shops, a nightclub, a sheep and a public loo. Good luck!