Monday, 11 October 2010

Public Art Scotland

We've got an article published on the Public Art Scotland web site called "What's the point of short-term? What is the legacy of non-permanence? Here is the url: http://www.publicartscotland.com/reflections/61

Monday, 30 August 2010

In the Loop

Nayan and I were selected to present a paper about Mirrie Lace at the conference, In the Loop, which is at the Shetland Museum and Archives from 1st to 2nd September. Unfortunately Nayan can't travel up for it, so I am on my own. I am very glad that some of the Mirrie Lace knitters will be present, as it wouldn't feel right to be doing the paper without them. You can find out more about the conference on the Southampton University web site: http://www.soton.ac.uk/intheloop/

Mirrie Lace Exhibition Photos by Mark Sinclair

Mark Sinclair took some wonderful photos of the exhibition at Bonhoga Gallery in July. I really like the way that he has captured a relationship between the lace projections and the architecture of the building. These photos have helped me see the work with greater perspective on this relationship and thus our aspirations and intentions for the work in Mareel. I'll try to get them up on our Mirrie Dancers Flickr site. Here's some to whet your appetite!


Mirrie Lace projection at Bonhoga Gallery, from a piece of Shetland Lace knitting by Anne Eunson


Shetland Lace knitting by Angela Irvine


Shetland Lace knitting by Minnie Mouatt

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Mirrie Lace Exhibition Opening


The exhibition opened tonight - Friday night. We had a marvelous evening; at least eighty people came (which is lots of people for our small islands) including most of the knitters who are working on the project. Everything went smoothly this week, so of course we had to have a last minute glitch! My attempts to burn the DVD for the slideshow about our Lace Labs to accompany the show kept showing an error and refused to burn! You can imagine the frustration after three more test DVDs didn't work! Finally we got a temporary trial DVD to run, and I am working on getting a better one finished! Emma took these photos at the private view. You can see the projection of Shetland Lace knitted by Joan Manson in this photo.


You can catch a glimpse of Shetland Lace knitted by Christine Smith in this photo.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Mirrie Lace Nearly There


Nayan and I have been working very hard to get all the work together that we've been doing with the knitters over this last year for the opening tomorrow night at Bonhoga Gallery. In this photo you can see Shetland Lace knitted by Gwen Williamson in the process of adjusting the projector position.


We've been at Bonhoga Gallery all week along with Emma, our project assistant, who has been helping with all sorts of things, including cables and painting the patch on this wall. In this photo you can see the Shetland Lace knitted by Helen Robertson before we adjusted the focus.


Chelsea has been supporting us recently at Shetland Arts. She's standing in front of Shetland Lace knitted by Bab Fraser in mohair.


I'm very pleased with the way everything is looking. We have about 90 pieces of knit on display in the stairwell and we have eighteen lace knit projections in the main gallery. Nayan's programming overnight while I try to finish up the slideshow that will contextualise the project and be shown in the stairwell. You can see Nayan standing in Christine Smith's piece of Shetland Lace knitted in an extremely thin, flat sort of copper ribbon which reflects different colours of light.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Mirrie Lace

MirrieLace



3 July - 1 August 2010
Bonhoga Gallery

An exhibition featuring a light installation and experimental Shetland Lace works by twenty one Shetland knitters in collaboration with Nayan Kulkarni and Roxane Permar www.mirriedancers.com

Monday, 21 June 2010

Mirrie Lace


We've been working on the lace projections down in London in Nayan's studio in preparation for our exhibition opening at Bonhoga Gallery on Friday evening, 2nd July. You can see we've been experimenting with scale. This piece was knitted by Bab Fraser in mohair.


It was very difficult to narrow down the choices, but we've chosen eighteen different pieces of lace for the light installation in the exhibition. We've tried to show one piece by each knitter as well as the range of patterns and materials that the knitters have been exploring over the last year.


Each knitted piece is stitched into a template so that it can be mounted in the light projector. We've also met with the Shetland Lace knitters for a Lace Lab at Bonhoga Gallery in the first week of June to discuss final details for the show. Everyone's written something about the work they've done, and the photographer, Ivan Hawick, came and took a portrait of each knitter to display in the show.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Reflecting on the Illuminations

Last week I went down to Longfield again in order to meet up with Jane Ridland. She lives near the site of our last illumination at the Auld Chapel, and she also got involved in the project by helping with site selection and making a film in a Light Lab. We planned to talk about the illumination with a view to possibly transcribing some of our conversation for our final publication. I had the most wonderful time. Jane had such an interesting perspective on the illumination, for she grew up near the Gable End and has thus known it since childhood. I also enjoyed reflecting on the illumination both in its "own right" and in relation to the others that she'd seen. We got into a very interesting conversation about the nature of the movement of light, "earthbound" v "skybound".

Catching Breath


A lot has happened since I last wrote an entry. We celebrated our final illumination, which was at the Auld Chapel, Longfield, in Dunrossness, with a lovely evening at the Sumburgh Hotel. I couldn't get over the difference between the illumination in early March and then in mid-April. For starters, there's no snow now. It's the first time that I'd seen it without snow as I went away in the first week of March when the ground was still white. The other big difference of course is the longer days. You can in this photo by Mark Sinclair taken in April that the sky is very light compared to the darkness in which I had been accustomed to seeing previous illuminations through the winter. The illumination came down finally on l8th April. I went along the last night and filmed some video footage. I had to wait until about 10 pm in order for it to be dark enough. I felt very sad to see the last one go dark. But also relieved as it's been a long, intensive period of work. Now we're beginning to prepare for the exhibition in July at Bonhoga with the lace knitters' work.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Wind Chill


It was very cold throughout the entire process of installation at the Auld Chapel, Longfield, our last site, and last night we really felt it. Nayan reclined in the snow to upload the programme for the illumination; I spent a long time in the -15º C, just standing and watching, studying our first trial as I have always enjoyed doing at each install. Richard and Mike finished up with the cabling and power.

Richard's snow angel sums up our feeling of relief and satisfaction at what we've achieved. Nayan and I drove around the area, to check the 360º visibility for the site; I'm pleased with how it looks from a distance, although it is very different from the close-up view. There's a couple really good viewing points where it rises above you, so you can't see the bright points of the lights. We're not sure of the finish date for this site...Nayan suggested it is kept long enough to become a landmark, then we take it down! How long is that?!! (I think the illumination became a local landmark at some of our other sites based on feedback).

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Snow - Not Mud!


Yesterday we got this last installation well under way at our final site - the Auld Chapel at Longfield, Dunrossness. I am so happy that the team got the turbines close enough to the site so that we could go ahead...with huge, huge thanks to our local tractor driver! I am glad we're going to the South Mainland again as the P7 pupils at Dunrossness Primary School made very carefully considered films about colour. Their art teacher, Fiona Burra, also worked very hard to organise the day and learn how to use the software programme. Richard, Mike and Emma might have got cold yesterday, but I am sure it was probably a lot better than the mud from our last install! After Nayan was happy with the placement of the lights, he and I began testing ideas for this illumination last night despite the ice and snow troubling our cars. I am looking forward to another good day to finish up the series of illuminations. This one feels like a fitting 'grand finale', although I am of course sorry we didn't get to do three of our original choices.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Fingers Crossed for Last Install

Yesterday many of our team were snowbound. Nonetheless Michael and Nayan made it down to Longfield in a 4x4 to see if it would be possible to install following the new snowfall and drifting. Where Nayan and I were walking in ankle deep snow on Wednesday night, they were apparently struggling with up to waist deep! But I am so excited and grateful, because they have got a solution, with Plans A, B and C lined up for getting the wind turbines in place today...so maybe we'll see a tractor yet! Yesterday the neighbours were also so helpful with welcome chat and cups of tea. I am at the moment really looking forward to this one last temporary illumination!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Lunna and Longfield


We've been trying to work out where we can do our final illuminations. I can't believe how unlucky we have been with weather this winter, which has badly effected the entire second half of our programme. We've only been able to illuminate two out of five original choices! We've also had to begin considering sites that weren't even part of our shortlist of thirty two. On Tuesday night I thus drove in rather poor conditiions to Fladdabister and Hay's Dock in Lerwick to check out sites.

We had a long meeting Wednesday morning at Shetland Arts and came up with two first choices that I like very much - Lunna and the Auld Chapel at Longfield. After Nayan checked and tested all the lights and controls were dry and working, we met Mike and Richard in Lunna to decide which structures might be possible to illuminate there, where I took this photo. Then last night Nayan and I drove south to Dunrossness to check out the conditions at our other first choice, the Auld Chapel at Longfield, which I have always loved. I was very happy that we were able to talk to the nearest neighbours, who are really very close to the site. We really appreciate their blessing, as, of course, we do that of the land and property owners, too.


We decided we'd like to illuminate this former lime burning kiln and the dry stane dyke in Lunna. The area has so many interesting buildings, it was difficult to choose. Practicalities ruled in the end! I like the fact that the landscape and its structure reveal so much of Shetland's history, including the Shetland Bus during the Second World War. Apparently the whole area is listed as Category C by Historic Scotland.


The sky changed colour over the time we were looking around Lunna, and by the time we were ready to leave, the colours literally stopped us in our tracks as we stood to watch it transform before our eyes.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Snow again!

Nayan arrived last night, and we're prepared to begin the installation for our final illuminations. We also were supposed to have lots of meetings today and a Lace Lab was scheduled for this evening. So far we've had to cancel everything! I just managed to catch a final thirty minutes of our illumination at Easthouse last night in the snow, and I couldn't resist a quick low res film of pink snow....then I must admit had a bit of difficulty getting home in what became full blown whiteout. Fortunately it wasn't far and I know the road really well. Now it's a waiting game....not sure what we'll be able to achieve over this week in the face of today's delays!

video

Monday, 22 February 2010

Stanley Ross Smith


I was very saddened by the news that Stanley Ross Smith died last week. He, along with his wife, June, was a supporter of Mirrie Dancers. In fact Stanley was our oldest participant, aged 90 years young! He and June came along to our first mini-bus tour, which happened to be on the West Side, where they would go swimming in Aith. They came along to the Light Lab in Waas, and Stanley's film was included in our illumination at Reawick Congregational Church. Sadly he wasn't well enough to attend any of our parties to celebrate the illuminations. I will always remember Stanley's wit, charm and incisive insight across a huge range of subjects. He was a practising architect, a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art and a lovely painter. I first met him in our evening class, Art Now, to which he contributed his impressive knowledge with good humour, enthusiasm and a warm twinkle in his eye. During our Mirrie Dancers mini-bus tour Stanley revealed a particular interest in Park Hall, I believe, for its particular use of concrete. He specially requested copies of our photos of the building, which I happily sent along. Like many others who knew him, I will miss him very much. This photo was taken by Malcolm Younger during our Site Selection Mini-Bus Tour.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Jinxed!!

I am beginning to wonder about our luck. Today I was scheduled to give a talk at Hamnavoe Primary Schoo since our illuminations are currently in Burra. Some of the pupils can see the illumination from their homes, and some made films this summer in the Light Labs. Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find fire engines and police, then two journalists with a big microphone scuttling over to the school. There was a fire in the school, and all pupils and staff were evacuated! I was surprised but disappointed, as I love my visits to the schools. Last Friday I went to Dunrossness Primary where I worked with the P7 pupils who made wonderful films for our last set of illuminations.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A Painterly Response


We've been trying to document and collect responses to our temporary illuminations through photography, film and writing. Last night one of the guests at our party, Paul Bloomer, used his iPod to make some electronic drawings. He's thinking he's going to use them to work into paintings.

Local Responses


Some local friends are finding the illumination at the Haa a bit spooky, for it looks like people are in the house, especially upstairs. It's bringing to mind the fact that their relatives used to live in the Haa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries! A neighbour to Easthouse told me how she'd seen the illumination of the croft house in early evening; it looked like glass. She wanted to get her camera, but she realised she'd probably never be able to get that impression on film. Austin Taylor took this photo.

Party Time


Last night we had our first party to celebrate the illuminations since December. We've been very unlucky with bad weather since the new year, and we've had to cancel every party! I enjoyed myself very much last night - at least once I got there! My car battery died at the Haa while I was using its lights to help me see while I was making some last minute tweaks (my perfectionist streak kicked in again). Thanks to neighbours and friends, I made the party, and I was only a little late! It was wonderful to see folk enjoying themselves, playing in the lights and talking about the illuminations. This photo was taken by Fiona Burr. I am very proud of the sharp shadow. Nayan and Duncan have worked very hard to perfect the optics in the lights. Otherwise, because each of our lights has thirty six individual LED lights inside, we could have 36 shadows!

Big Learning Curve

Last night we finally got the illumination tweaked to my satisfaction. It's been a long week, for we've once again had no wind, that's meant we've had to closely monitor the wind turbine at the Haa. We're using the mains at the old croft house, but that's also not been without issues. Like many things, it turns out we had a little fuse switch that ran the socket for our illumination...... I've also learned more about our light programme, Pharos, this week. I feel more confident as for the first time I've uploaded the revised programmes that Nayan has emailed as well as downloading the Log. I am enjoying being able to read what is happening with our illumination.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Snagging


I should have known we would have more work to do following completion of our double illumination on Burra! Sunday night the programme ran perfectly. Monday night both sites were static, the Aald Haa was green and Easthouse was white. I wasn't home most of the night. I also learned that the flashing morse code was distracting to some homes. So today we've set out to try to fix everything. Unfortunately more frustration! The Aald Haa didn't illuminate at all and at Easthouse only the videos ran all night. Despite the fact that it looked really good, it's not what should happen! We had no wind on Sunday or Monday, so that's why the Haa didn't illuminate. We're running the lights off the mains at Easthouse as there was nowhere level for the turbine. So the lack of wind hasn't effected that site. I emailed the show files to Nayan and Martin, and tonight Nayan has cracked the problem, so we'll try again tomorrow. This photo was taken by Austin Taylor.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Curious Visitors


I love it when people drive along to see the illumination, especially when they are excited about it. Krista got her neighbour to drive her down to have a look and find out what was going on at Easthouse last night. She can see it from her house in Papil! A few houses in Papil can see both illuminations simultaneously. Another friend has told me lots of cars are driving by tonight and some are stopping to take photos, too. It's so nice to get feedback. When you work outside the gallery it's harder to find out who is coming to look and what they think.

Mirrie Dancers Comes to Burra


We've given a little Mirrie Dancers surprise illumination to folk living in the South End of Burra Isle! Thanks to everyone who worked their socks off to complete in one day what we usually do in five, we have new illuminations completed before Martin and Sharon fly home on Sunday.

Our guest lighting designers have translated their idea for an illumination at the former listening post (as originally planned) to two buildings in Burra - Easthouse, an old crofthouse which the Burra History Group has purchased and restored, and the old Haa, the derelict Laird's house that lies directly opposite in Houss, East Burra. These buildings are "speaking" to each other now in a way I imagine they never would have done in the past. One light in their window pulses morse code, a poem written by James Sinclair, Under Northern Skies.

Old and New


A day of tight teamwork and commitment above and beyond etc etc! Martin programmed two illuminations in one day.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Mud Team


We've had to pack up at Garths Ness....found out about 3.30 pm Friday afternoon that our lights were distracting to the pilots landing at Sumburgh Airport. So we agreed that we'd move to another site rather than change the plan. Folk have been very wonderful and after hours on the phone, I've managed to get permissions for two new sites in Burra. So we have these two to complete in one day as Martin and Sharon leave on Sunday!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Raising the Lights


Today we were on site at the former Listening Station from lunchtime onwards. Martin and Sharon wanted to try putting some lights on top of the building in order to illuminate the tower. So they invented a rather novel way of getting the cables up by using my snow shovel! I'll post a photo tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Guerrilla Lighting meets Mirrie Dancers


Our guest lighting designers, Martin Lupton and Sharon Stammers, on our site visit yesterday! We needed a 4x4 to get there. I am really looking forward to seeing their approach and learning more about lighting design from them. You can find out more about their work on www.guerrillalighting.net - and follow their experience of Mirrie Dancers on Twitter - twitter.com/lightcollective

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Back again to the former Listening Post!

It seems we've no sooner finished an illumination than we're back again. Time passes so quickly. The difference this time is that we are returning to the same site! We've not been able to access the crofts at Snarravoe due to 50 metres of deep boggy land. So we have decided to return to Garths Ness and do another illumination before trying to access Snarravoe in a few weeks. One very good reason for doing another illumination in the same place is that we have guest lighting designers, Martin Lupton and Sharon Stammers, who've just arrived today to work with us!

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Illumination at Garths Ness



This illumination has been hard to install, but I like it a lot. Although I must say that I am still a little stunned that we have done it earlier than originally planned! I ran into a friend at the airport when I went to see Nayan off. Jane and I had a really good chat about looking at light. I feel so heartened because she said that the work has made her aware of light in a new way. Nayan took this photo just before leaving late last night.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Tough Going in Mud and Wind



The winds were pretty fierce last night as were were working at Garths Ness. I've read on the Internet today that the gales are severe south to south easterly and today there may be gusts up to 70 mph. Our site at the former Listening Station is rather exposed and it's tough getting around, not only because the wind threatens to blow me over, but also because there is mud everywhere. Animals shelter among the empty buildings, and there is plenty of evidence of cows, sheep and rabbits everywhere, and sometimes it even seems ankle deep. This installation is the first we've had to do in this smelly mud.

Addressing the Lights at the Former Listening Station

Last night Pete, Emma and Nayan got all the lights set in their final places and later Nayan and I "addressed" the lights. This process of "addressing" is really important and needs doing before Nayan can begin the programming. We had to work out which light corresponded to each number, 1 to 20, on the software programme. The process of setting up the lights attracts attention, and I think some folk think this is our illumination and they begin to pass judgement before it's actually even started! But last night it was really nice because a young couple who live across the water noticed the lights from their house and drove over to ask what we were doing. They wished us good luck with it. I hope they come back to have a closer look once we're finished!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Setting Up at Reawick Congregational Church


I've just got home from the West Side. Nayan and I worked very late last night and tonight to get the illumination finished at Reawick Church. This photo I took with my mobile phone shows Emma and Nayan working to set up the lights last night. I love the site for the way the church is perched on a hill overlooking the community.

Nayan and I drove around the voe in order to see how the lights worked from different viewpoints. We watched our test programme from a high point just opposite the church. When the lights are bright and crisp, the architecture of the church is emphasised. But from a distance, when we'd only illuminated the gable ends, I got a sense of sails as I was watching across the water, with all the local boats in view, too. Then blue lights made it almost seem like Mirrie Dancers. Someone in Yell described the way the illumination at the Sand Dunes seemed like the Mirrie Danciers. Just when you think you have the lights in focus, they change. I got this feeling tonight, too, in Skeld.

In this photo you can see Nayan working on the programming. It was so fine to be able to work indoors where it was warm and light. Usually we sit in the car to do this job!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Glamour of Being an Artist

video

Some people think that being an artist gives you a rather glamourous and easy life style. That may be the case for some, but for our Mirrie Dancers team, it is more like very hard work in sometimes horrible weather conditions. Early mornings and late nights lead to severe exhaustion, too. We are also working at night, in the dark, which is an entirely new experience for me. Last night at Reawick Church it was windy, wet and freezing cold. You can see Emma and Nayan working with the lights in this little mobile phone film. Sitting in the dark greenhouses at midnight or hunched over a laptop in a dark, damp field late at night seems rather ridiculous with hindsight, but the results are worth it. Our installation team, Keith, Pete and Mike, are doing heroic work sometimes of horrific weather, so we are especially grateful to them.

Lace Lab at Bonhoga


Our knitters are making the most wonderful pieces of knit for Mirrie Lace. We met at Bonhoga on Tuesday night. I arrived in rather an exhausted and frustrated state, but their work is so marvelous that I felt uplifted and highly energised by the end of the evening. We have an exhibition at the gallery in July, so we had a chance to walk around the space and talk in more concrete terms about details for the show. It was a very helpful exercise as we've come away with some good new ideas.

New Illumination


We are illuminating the former Listening Station used during the Cold War at Garths Ness in Dunrossness, South Mainland earlier than we'd originally planned. The ice and snow we've had recently have caused a lot of upheaval for us - late night meetings, trudging around in the snow looking for alternative sites and millions of phone calls. We have finally resolved the difficulties we have had with access to our planned illumination at Ander Hill in Bressay this month by changing our schedule. Thus we've brought forward this illumination in Dunrossness and decided to have a closing party rather than an opening. We hope to see everyone at the party on 29th January. The pupils at Dunrossness Primary School who will be making films with Roxane and their art teacher, Fiona Burra, will find their films become part of one of our last three illuminations. We hope they are not too disappointed that their films won't be included at Garths Ness and will understand. Apologies to everyone for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Postponement of Bressay Illumination


We're very sorry, but we've had to postpone the illumination at the Watchtower, Ander Hill in Bressay due to the bad weather conditions. The hill was covered in ice and snow, so we couldn't risk taking the wind turbine up. We've been working very hard every day over the last five days to find an alternative solution. We've decided to try to re-arrange the order of our illuminations. Thus we are hoping to illuminate the Watchtower the first week of February. In the meantime we are waiting for the ice to melt on the road to our site at the former Listening Station at Garths Ness. If the road clears, we'll set that one up this week. Please check our web site Noticeboard www.mirriedancers.com for news. We've re-scheduled all the parties we were planning for this week, too, and we'll do have them at the finish of our next illuminations. Our huge apologies to everyone for any inconvenience caused.

Vibrant Schools


I've been going to schools nearest to our illuminations and working with pupils to make films that become part of our temporary illuminations at the various sites around Shetland. This last week I've been to Bressay Primary School, Whalsay School and Skeld Primary School. Unfortunately I had to cancel at Aith Secondary due to the problems that continue to arise due to the bad weather here in Shetland. The pupils are making wonderful films, using lots of imagination to make short dynamic, colour films. In this photo you can see pupils from Mossbank School where they made films that became part of our first illumination at Voe.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Permanent illuminations?

I have been asked a number of times by different folk if it would be possible to have the illuminations on a permanent basis. Quite a few folk asked this question while the illumination at Da Giant's Grave was running, some of whom made more than one special trip to see it. Again, more recently, I've been asked about the illumination at The Glasshouses in Tingwall by someone who drives past it everyday after work. I am afraid that we can't use the Mirrie Dancers lights to make any of the illuminations permanent, because we'll be using them for our permanent installation for the exterior of Mareel. However, there's nothing to stop anyone from pursuing the possibility! Some locations would be more feasible than others, and we'd be happy to discuss the idea with interested folk.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Sideways

Today Roxane and Kathy went to BBC Radio Shetland to be interviewed for the monthly programme, Sideways. Shortie interviewed us, and it was good fun, despite being asked some tough questions.

FrostedLight

Tonight it was a bit colder, and all the windows of the Glasshouses were frosted over. The illumination was not very bright, but it displayed the subtle colours in the videos better than I've ever seen. From the field opposite the gable ends, it almost looked like the building was made of ice. I stood and chatted with Austin while he photographed and just watched the colours dance.

While the light in the Glasshouses has looked so beautiful today, in other ways the cold has made it so frustrating. Once again we had no wind, and the sea was flat calm. While we had beautiful mirror reflections, it has meant that our wind turbines needed charging again from our back-up generators. But it was so cold that the doors to the Glasshouses were frozen shut, and I couldn't get in! So after getting advice from Nayan, I went home, boiled some water and took back bottles and flasks of hot water and eventually managed to get in.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bad Weather Forces Cancellations


I am very disappointed. I've just learned that the schools on the West Side of Shetland are closed tomorrow because there's more snow forecast for tonight. it means my visit to the Secondary 2 Art Class at Aith Junior High School is cancelled. We were going to make films to become part of our next (sixth) illumination at Reawick Church.

Monday, 4 January 2010

An Alien Hatchery

Last night I climbed over the fence to the neighbouring field so that I could get distance on the gable end of our illumination at the Glasshouses. The further I walked downhill, the more the building seemed to float in the sky. The light from the buildings behind the Glasshouses was blocked out so that the colours appeared more subtle and clear against the stars. It reminded me of one visitor's comment that this illumination reminded her of a hatchery for aliens!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Power Issues


The weather in Shetland has been so unusual with little wind, a fair bit of snow and colder than nomal temperatures. We've therefore had difficulty powering the wind turbines at the Glasshouses in Tingwall. Keith, who is heading up the installation team, kept the illumination going in the first days of insufficient wind by using our back-up generators, then finally an electrical fault a few days before Christmas forced us to shut it down for the sake of health and safety. We're grateful to Nayan and Duncan who came up specially to Shetland after Christmas to repair the fault. Happily on 29th December we turned the illumination on again. Huge apologies to anyone who didn't hear the announcement on Radio Shetland and went to see the illumination during the week it was shut down.

Snow and Light

video

The roof is largely covered by snow, so that the illumination doesn't appear as bright as when we first installed it in early December. This factor in combination with the light pollution surrounding the building means that it's now much more difficult to see it from a distance. However, if you drive into the parking lot you can get out to walk around the building for a good look. I've been lucky enough to be able to stand inside. The snow completely changes the illumination in the interior. The roof has colour now, whereas before the snow, it appeared black. I took this film inside the snow-covered Glasshouses with my mobile phone. You can see the difference between it and Austin's photo before the snow (below).



Despite the snow and cold weather, I've managed to negotiate slippery roads and wintry showers in order to get to the illumination at the Glasshouses each of the last five days. I've been checking the battery levels in the turbines while Keith is away and charging them with the generators nearly every day because there's hardly been any wind.

Getting going in 2010


The first few months of our illuminations have been pretty intense. Now that we are halfway through the illuminations, we're going to try to keep this Blog going. This photo was taken by Austin Taylor on 4th December, the night of the launch party for our fifth illumination at the Glasshouses in Tingwall. We were still working on the programme for the lights, so he was able to get inside for the picture.