Make Your Way: Landscapes of Love and Worship, Glassford
Ewan Allinson - artist residency
Artist in residence for Glassford, Ewan Allinson, spent March 2017 exploring and discovering the intricacies of Glassford’s landscape and heritage. With such a wide network of walks, and lots of little details to find along the way, Ewan jumped straight into the work: researching, chatting and wayfinding.
The work of the residency has contributed to the development of Make Your Way art works installed in the landscape along the Round the Stanes trail. Wayfinding stiles and signage, along with new benches and a gate, mark the MYW routes, taking inspiration from the love of landscape that Ewan researched and recounted. The pieces have been developed in collaboration with icecream architecture, Martin Campbell (designer-maker of Rag and Bone Workshop), and Zoe Pearson (illustrator/printmaker). Check out 'Other Resources' for links to the interpretation around the new sigage, as well as the map detailing where these unique objects are around Glassford.
As a trained sculptor and craftsman, Ewan took immediate interest in the rich history of Glassford’s graveyard, field noting his impressions of one particular older grave:
“Though I do carve stone as part of my practice as a sculptor, I draw the line at letter carving, the art of which eludes me. The letter carving on this is quite beautiful - and there's a lot of it. I particularly like the word 'Tyrranick'. I tweet a fragment of the carving, mentioning the Covenanting connection and it is quickly retweeted by Covenanting enthusiasts.”
Another point that became a key focus during the residency was the site of the Three Stones, with particular interest around verifying their true age - there are hopes to survey them properly in the near future.
During the course of the residency, Ewan considered less the mystic qualities of this point, but explored the site as an exhibition of love, especially with regard to the Julia and James Struthers, a 19th Century couple buried at the stones along with their pets. In doing so, Ewan drew out this site as a viewpoint, with wide and impressive views across the valley. Yet entwined with this expansive view is an intimate feel of a resting place, a worshipful and loving spot nestled amid in the wider scenery of Glassford:
“I begin to think that James and Julia, like other 19th century romantics, developed an appreciation for Druidism and developed this spot as their own druidic resting place. While part of me is disappointed, the truth is always more interesting than fancy once you give it a chance. I think that James & Julia's dog-loving druidic folly can make for a lovely tale of love - love for place, love for each other and love for our ancient heritage.”
Ewan was busy chatting with local farmers, casting a fresh eye on historic maps and old records, and working with pupils at Glassford Primary School to help them create stone carved blocks with their own symbols based around either Love, Worship or Energy. The pupils came up with some fantastic designs.
Energy was another key theme that came out of the residency, with Ewan noting:
“First view of Glassford. Extraordinary 200 degree view of Lanarkshire and beyond. Snow capped Tinto punctuates the horizon. I am immediately struck by the idea that this is an Energy Landscape - untold numbers of wind turbines populate the panorama. Pylons scythe a line across Avondale running just beneath the village. 100 years ago, this was the Black County, coal country, and the view then would have reflected the coal production that the county became famous for.”
Whilst some people have become used to Pylons in the landscape, other energy infrastructure, such as wind turbines, can divide opinion.
On the 14th March, the Landscapes of Love and Worship talk at Glassford Church Hall, allowed Ewan to share his research as well as his own personal journey of discovering the rich history and many stories of the village.
Please see below for the handout from the talk - featuring census information and poems by Julia Struthers.
Make Your Way is an arts, heritage and active travel campaign, focusing on the communities of Carluke, Glassford, Lanark, Larkhall and Stonehouse, in 2016 – 17. It was delivered by icecream architecture and SYSTRA, with support from Smarter Choices, Smarter Places grant and is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership scheme.