I was lucky enough to grow up on the beautiful island of Fair Isle which sits neatly between Shetland and Orkney. And anyone who has been there will know that you can’t help but be inspired by this unique place.
This photo I took in the midst of the calm summer is somewhat different to the extreme weather conditions that regularly batter the island for the majority of the year round, but for me those wild days are probably the most fantastic to see. Although these days are the most inspirational they can cause problems for much of the year as well as creating awful tragedies that have forever effected the island. The Fair Isle disaster – http://www.fairisle.org.uk/History/disaster.htm – saw the tragedy of many men and boys losing their lives whilst out on their yoals due to a unexpected change in weather to extreme storm conditions. This tragedy inspired me to record my memories of the fierce weather that was so often part of life on this very remote and tiny island.
Fair Isle Waters, 2011. Watercolour and Ink on Paper
South Lighthouse, 2011. Oil on Board
South Haven, 2011. Oil on Board
Fair Isle Silhouette with Hands, 2011. Oil on Canvas
Fair Isle Silhouette with Hands, 2011. Oil on Canvas (Detail)
I have always loved maps, in particular fishing and sea charts. One of my favourite maps is of the “Fishing Hands o’ Fair Isle”. – http://www.fairisle.org.uk/History/da_fishing_hands.htm – The “Fishing Hands” are locations of fishing grounds around Fair Isle, these locations had been passed down through the generations by word of mouth before they started to be officially recorded within the map by Jerry Eunson in 1968. Within Fair Isle Silhouette with Hands I decided to include reference of this map by including faint outlines of the “Hands” being cast off from the island itself.
More can be read on the fair isle disaster, the fishing hands and Fair Isle’s history on the Fair Isle website – http://www.fairisle.org.uk/index.htm