Rachel Mimiec, our National Scenic Areas Artist in Residence, provides a March update as she settles down to work in the studio.
I am back in Glasgow working in my studio having completed my final site visit. This marks the end of the field research phase of my residency in the Ben Nevis/Glencoe National Scenic Area (NSA).
On my last visits I have continued to walk and meet people, inviting them to share their passion and connections with the landscape. Emma Pearce, a member of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and The Outward Bound Trust, Fran Lochart, Alison Austin, and Sarah Lewis form the John Muir Trust, Scott McCombie and Lindsay McKerral from The National Trust for Scotland and Noel Williams from Lochaber Geopark, all brought new thoughts to my research and I thank them for giving me their time and sharing their enthusiasm.
I also attended the annual Mountain Festival in Fort William. The festival was a place of sharing and celebrating the mountains, the landscape and the people who walk, run, climb, bike, kayak, ski, snowboard and dream in the hills. To say it was extreme is probably an understatement, but it was fascinating to hear people share their passion and understanding on what they do and why they do it.
I am beginning to think that it is not dissimilar from an art practice, where the need to make or engage creatively with the world is what drives us to understand and connect with the other, while also helping us to understand ourselves.
While doing some online research I also discovered the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection (SMHC).
The SMHC is a unique assortment of mountain memorabilia from Scotland and around the world, run and housed by Mick Tighe. It is a fantastic collection of all things that are related to being in the mountains and there is a comprehensive website where I found paintings done by Davie Glen of the local area.
Davie was a local character and well-known diddler (mouth musician) and I was delighted to be able to visit Mick and see the collection in person. Dave Glen, climber, cyclist, story-teller, poet, painter, musician … seems to epitomise mountain culture.