Thursday, November 13, 2008

Middle Ground

Two friends of mine, Bonnie Maggio and Ruth Atkinson have a great exhibition on at the Birnam Institute at the moment. Both being very creative people they work in a variety of forms and genres from felt to words to music to paper and ink. But in this show Bonnie is exhibiting her shimmering glasswork which includes gorgeous bright jewellery, and Ruth a series of lino prints inspired by her explorations of Highland Perthshire.

I feel rather proud by association with the latter as one series of prints arose from a walk she took by Loch Tay, in response to a task I set for participants in a walking and writing workshop run in association with the Aberfeldy Watermill. She has written her walk and illustrated it with lino prints - including the entwined cherry trees above - and bound them together in a delightful pamphlet called 'Middle Ground'. The title refers to the level at which she prefers to walk - between hilltop and shore line, which as she says: 'in this part of Scotland at least, this is where people lived. It is empty of people now but they left their meanings behind in marks on the rock, names on the map or stories on the page.' Middle Ground also refers to this 'heartland' of Scotland.
Her walk and the story of it is a hunt for these ghosts. It is rich in observation, and also draws on her deep knowledge of natural history and botany. If you can, get your hands on a copy now - and get along to the exhibition, on till January 15th 2009.

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