Past Inspired Sculpture 4

WaterlinesWaterlines by Marian Leven & Will Maclean is located in the public space in front of the RIAS 2013 award winning The Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University of Aberdeen.

The shape of the piece, two monoliths of Kilkenny Blue Limestone, and form of incised lines evokes Pictish carvings. The piece also refers to the Aberdeen built sailing ship the Thermopylae, launched in 1868: apparently the fastest sailing ship ever constructed.

At the foot of the monoliths is an inscribed poem by Peter Davidson:

Poem - Peter Davidson

It clearly evokes the maritime heritage of Aberdeen but also refers to the standings stones which can still be found in the wider landscape referring to the ‘crow stone’ and ‘maiden stone’.

For more thoughts about this piece, from the artists Will Maclean and Marian Leven, please watch the video.  Well worth watching about Past Inspired Sculpture: markers in the landscape.


Past Inspired Sculpture 1

Past Inspired Sculpture 2

Past Inspired Sculpture 3

For more info about Waterlines there is an interesting review by Georgina Coburn at Northings.


Sawney Bean – coffin carrier

Sawney Bean - coffin carrierSawney Bean, the legendary Scottish cannibal, who is said to have lived in a cave on the Ayrshire coast with his family in the late 15th century: preying on over 1000 passing travelers.  Artist Adam McEwen’s ‘Sawney Bean’ exhibition at The Modern Institute playfully explores the mythology, materiality and geography of ‘Sawney Bean’ as mediated through personal biography.  Most striking perhaps is the poignant representation in graphite of a wooden coffin carrier found in a family barn on the Ayrshire coast.

Ballantrae - Coffin  Carrier

Whithorn and the Machars Heritage

Pilgrim CoinFor centuries people have been coming to the cave, a place of contemplation and prayer on the Machars.  Many have inscribed crosses, names and initials on the walls of the cave.  Some set coins in cracks in the rock which tarnish and slowly corrode.

Offering Crosses and StonesOthers place stones with dedications on them, around the cave, and a few lean crosses against its walls.

To reach this special place traditionally you would travel along the pilgrimage trail through the Machars via Whithorn. This long association started with St Ninian’s mission in AD 397, then resulting in pilgrimage to a shrine at Whithorn from the 7th century onwards.

Pilgrims JourneyFor there protection many of these important Medieval stones were gathered together at the museum in Whithorn.  For over 30 years The Whithorn Trust have been researching the archaeology and heritage of the Machars and revealed some amazing things. Most recently they have undertaken an exciting project investigating the archaeology of the Machars.

It was however announced earlier this year that The Whithorn Trust and Whithorn Story Visitor Centre may be closed due a lack of funding, a situation which leaves the future of this significant heritage centre and many important artefacts it curates uncertain. Importantly for the visitor experience The Whithorn Story Visitor Centre forms part of a hub with the Historic Scotland Whithorn Priory and Museum.   The stones in the museum were redisplayed in 2004 in partnership between Historic Scotland and the Whithorn Trust, with Heritage Lottery Funding.

An important relationship between people and the heritage of the Machars is in danger of being severed.

Please help by adding your support to the petition to save The Whithorn Trust.

or add your support through the facebook

Save The Whithorn Trust

In the current economic and political climate, we need to value and support our museums and heritage centers.  Like other forms of art and culture, which make our society far richer and more vibrant, they can be soft targets at such times.  As places of communal memory, we are poorer without them and our relationships to the landscapes we inhabit will be even more difficult to maintain, grow and enhance.


The Whithorn Priory and Museum micro site has further complementary information about Whithorn and the Machars.

Time Travel, through the Bronze Door

Bronze DoorThis patched and worn door left my mouth hanging open,

Temple of Romulus

when I was told that it was original to the building, the Temple of Romulus, in the Roman Forum, Rome.

If so, it is testimony to over 1600 years,

of shutting and opening,

of people passing through time…