Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fishing News - today in the Pentland Firth

Fishing News
Skipper: Mick
Crew: me and Joe
One flask of coffee with sugar and milk
three cheese sandwiches on brown
chocolate biscuits
(we were too busy fishing to each everything!)
Launched from Brough Harbour, Dunnet Head
Drift: Langipo to Sinigoe
Catch: a box full – mostly cod, a couple of ling and pollock.
A few small cod, colie and ling were put back.
Checked one of Mick’s creels, only small crabs – thrown back in the sea. Fresh bait added and threw it back in.
3 porpoise circled us a few times, coming quite close.
Back on land, fish filleted, and Mick hot smoked the mackerel and ling.  (smoked mackerel eaten this evening – delicious).
 Mick is getting ready to hose us down!

We are in the distance - behind the shed!
(My mums garden, not mine!)


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

'Field Work' - baskets, string and pressed herbarium sheets - one of my slow projects

"Field work"

All home grown.

Willow has been soaking in our pond for a week now.  I've been checking it, and it needs longer before I can begin to make it into a basket. 

While I wait, I've been looking through my pressed herbarium, and found that on this day, 3 years ago, I pressed one of my flag iris.
Each year I harvest the leaves for making into string.  

With a week(ish) before the willow will be ready to use, I've given some of my blue iris leaves a dip in the pond - this is ready almost immediately - so the rest of today and tomorrow........ I'll be making it into a string bag.  The blue Iris didn't do well this year, only one flower, but lots of leaves.  I'll check my herbarium to see if I pressed that too.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Paper boat has been found in Uig Museum, Outer Hebrides, and is on it's way to South Georgia Whaling Museum!

News from
Hi Joanne

I found one of your boats at the Uig Museum, Isle of Lewis while guiding a tour bus around the area. I have posted it to the South Georgia Whaling Museum, they only get mail once a month, so it may be some time before they acknowledge its arrival. I recently posted them copies of my publication Balaich na Whalers which included accounts and pictures of Lewismen working "at the whaling" in South Georgia. Great project I will be following with interest.


A few links:

South Georgia Whaling Museum 

Cabraich Community Arts & Heritage group

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fishing News

Back home, and getting ready for an afternoon of gutting and filleting!
 Fishing News!
Skipper - Mick
Crew - Me and Joe
Sandwiches - cheese
Biscuits - chocolate digestive
Drink - a flask of coffee with milk and sugar
All eaten and drunk.
Launched from Brough Harbour 
Fishing in the Pentland Firth
Drift - from Langipoe to Sinigoe 
Catch - a box full - mostly cod.
Most fish were caught directly out from the slipway at Brough.
Seasick - no-one!
Best catch of the day  -  Mick's cod!
We tried to weigh it while out at sea, but it was off the scale!
Here's  a short video of it being landed!

A few porpoise kept us company for most of the morning. We heard them blow before seeing them.  It proved a bit difficult to capture the porpoise on film - but here's a short film clip, with Brough village in the background.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Lichen Collector

Originally inspired to do more observational drawing after an intense 2 week  An Sùileachan  residency in the Western Isles, I enrolled on a botanical illustration course at Kew Gardens, London. I've continued to use techniques learnt at Kew while artist in residence at Sumburgh Lighthouse in Shetland and back a home in my studio - this time focusing on lichens,  (they don't move or wilt!).
I've displayed some of my lichen watercolours in museum boxes.
"The Lichen Collector"
They are fascinating, I'll be doing more staring at rocks!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fishing News - 7th July 2016

Fishing News
Skipper - Mick
Crew - me and Joe
Launched from Brough Harbour
Drift - started straight out from the slipway - not too far - you could just see the roof of Pentland House above Clett Rock. Drifted to Sinigoe.
Lunch - One flask of coffee - with milk and sugar.
Cheese sandwiches (eaten back home after filleting)
Catch - Skipper caught the first within minutes - 3 mackerel on one line, a good start to the morning! More followed, along with a few colie, Pollock and cod. 
Photo - I'm holding one of the cod I caught - we ate this on for dinner!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I knew there was a path though my trees - finding my garden again after months away.

I'm growing willow for basket making.
Hazel, whitebeam, rowan, cherry, apple, plum  and more, all doing well.
We planted another apple tree and a pear tree last week - birthday gifts for Joe from my family. 
My nephew, Kai 'helped' to plant the apple and pear trees
when he wasn't busy 'rescuing' worms!
Kai's wearing a new jumper, knitted for him by his granny.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

fishing news - 30th June 2016

Fishing News
Skipper - Joe (my husband)
Crew, Me, Mick (my dad) and Cullen (my brother)
Cullen caught the most fish today!
Launched from Dwarwick Pier, Dunnet (south side of Dunnet Head)
Cheese sandwiches, coffee, chocolate biscuits and tangerines - everything eaten and drunk.
Drift from Chapel Geo to Dwarwick Pier.
Catch - a box of fish - flounder, gurnard, mackerel, ling and haddock.
We usually fish from Brough Pier on the north side of Dunnet Head - so our catch today was quite different. 

Fish for tea - only minutes from sea to table - with my mums new potatoes.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fishing News - back home and out at sea.

Fishing News
Skipper - Mick
Crew - Joe and me
3 cheese sandwiches - on wholemeal
one flask of coffee - with milk and sugar
3 packets of crisps - 2 salt and one salt & vinegar 
Tackle lost - one weight (that was me)
Launched from Brough Harbour.
Drift - Langapo to Sinigeo then to Dunnet Head Lighthouse.
Pentland Firth.
Todays catch - half a box of fish and one yellow wellington boot.

And I got to wear the skippers hat for a while today!
The rest of the crew - my dad, Mick and husband, Joe.
A string of mackerel!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sumburgh Lighthouse, Shetland - artist in residence - May 2016

I’ve just arrived home,  after a month in Shetland as artist-in-residence for Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and Visitors Centre.  My mum, Liz O’Donnell, also an artist, travelled with me to explore the islands rich heritage, and take time out to paint.  And what an advenue it was, absolutely stunning. We were so lucky with the weather,  I didn’t once need my waterproof trousers!  All of the staff at Sumburgh Head were brilliant, they couldn’t have been more helpful,  particularly Angela Hunt, who managed to think of every little detail whilst juggling many requests!

The week before I arrived in Shetland I’d been on a botanical illustration course at Kew Gardens in London, keen to continue this detailed observational work, I decided to focus my time looking at lichens. And so began a month of staring at rocks!  Well, not every day,  I had other missions to complete, including hiding a few hundred paper boats around the Island, indoors, in public spaces, for you to find. On our first day on the island, we strung up a few hundred in Shetland Museum main foyer.  They were so taken with them, that they will be on display until end August (or maybe even longer if no-one has a head for heights to cut them down!)
You might be wondering what the paper boat fun is all about?  It all starts with a flower and a whale, inside each paper boat, along with my contact details,  it reads: 

South to North.
Mystery of the Magellan Daisy and Whalers. A native flower of South America, it grows in abundance in Orkney, Shetland and Caithness.  One theory is that whalers brought it back to prove they’d been south.  Senecio smithii  AKA Magellan daisy /Patagonia daisy.

North to South. To the finder of this paper boat:  Do join in the fun.  Scottish artist Joanne B Kaar is collecting folklore connected to the sea and ancient whaling journeys.  Do you have any stories to share?  You can keep this souvenir found in Caithness or post it as far south as you can. Contact Joanne, who will log all paper boat finds their journeys and your stories.
There are 250 paper boats, hidden indoors, in shops, cafes, museums etc, not littering the landscape, waiting for you to find them in Shetland. Although the Magellan Daisy doesn’t flower until the end of June and into July, I did manage to find it growing in many locations, including Eastshore, Sandness, and  Boddam.   My paper boat fun extends to Iceland, Finland Orkney, Western Isles and Caithness. Some paper boats have already been found and their location blogged!  Have you found a paper boat?

So taken with the unsolved mystery,  I designed a portable museum about it, with drawers to pull, flaps to lift, & sound, each revealing nuggets of information as you explore.  It proved to be a hit with schools and visitors to the lighthouse.  Pupils from Dunrossness,  Nesting and also Ollaberry primary schools all had fun with it.  One visitor in particular, Andy Ross from Global Yell,  was so taken with it, that we’ve arranged for it to stay with him for quite a few months at the Global Yell studio for visitors and locals to see.  A perfect location, as the Magellan Daisy also grows next to their studio!  I met with Andy in Lerwick, under the paper boats, during my last week on the island, to had it over.  I’m just delighted it has found an admirer and temporary home on Shetland,  who knows, maybe more info will be added to the mystery.
A paper boat fundraiser I did a few years ago, prompted Kit Mowat to get in touch, as she was one of the contributors.  Although we’d never met, Kit had been following my projects and new I was coming to Shetland.  Kit and her husband Ewen treated us to a picnic and tour of Fethaland , the haaf fishing village, a place we would never have found on our own. 

We also searched the tidelines for Loki’s candles, thanks to info from Sally Huband of Bixter. Loki’s candles are curls of thick birch bark, thought to have been washed ashore from the colder climates in Canada. 
Now back home, Loki’s Candles, sit on the windowsill, my treasures from Shetland.
Paper boat blog: 
Global Yell:  Andy Ross, Creative Director, GlobalYell Ltd Shetland,
Shetland Museum:

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and Visitors Centre: