Well Sunday was a great day. We had been invited along to the open day at the Ness of Brodgar www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk www.orkneyjar.com with our Neolithic Unstan and Grooved ware pottery inspired bowls. Michael developed the range due to his love of the shapes, forms and decoration of the original pottery. Whenever possible he uses Orkney sycamore to turn the bowl and then hand carves the patterning and ebonises or colours and also embellishes with sisal or hemp. Round bottomed bowls are set on sea grass or sisal rings. Michael is really enjoying developing this range with a fascination fuelled by the pieces of pot and decorated stone continuing to be found at the dig.
We set up our wee table in the corner of a very large substantial marquee curtesy of The Longship in Kirkwall www.thelongship.co.uk who were launching a new range of Ola Gorie jewellery www.olagoriejewellery.com inspired again by the geometric patterns found carved in stones at the dig. Beautiful it was too.
Much to our dismay 😜 there was also a long table supporting a row of small kegs from The Orkney Brewery www.orkneybrewery.co.uk for folk to sample their various beers. (maybe the flask of coffee I stashed in the bag before leaving home, will not be drunk after all)
The whole place was buzzing with diggers, archaeologists, many a volunteer and a steady flow of visitors. The wind blew as only it can in Orkney and there were several very heavy showers, but spirits were high, and most people were kitted out suitably so everyone just did their thing and enjoyed the atmosphere.
We had a steady flow of people to our table from all around the world and close at home and it was great chatting to them all. Michaels bowls were very well received, with only positive feedback and admiration. I always get classed at being bias when I express my love of his work, so it was great to have lots of other folk expressing theirs.
A heavy shower drove people into the marquee for shelter including a young lass, Mai, and a group of friends who were working with hematite (FE203 in this case) rubbing it on a larger wet stone to get the red pigment which they were colouring hair with. An opportunity not to be missed so we asked if they would colour a bowl for us. We had taken some unfinished bowls with us to show the different stages so we were able to give her a sycamore bowl, with carving on, but no finish. The pigment went on beautifully and we look forward to seeing what it comes up like once it is oiled.
As part of our support for the dig I purchased a square. Anybody is welcome to do this. The site has been divided up on a large aerial photo into squares and for £10 you can purchase one. We have an area of buttress in structure 10. You leave your email address and keep tabs on what is found in your square. A brilliant idea to raise money and interest.
The next open day, and the last for this year, is August 21st 2016 and we will be there and are really looking forward to it. You can also look at their website which has a daily dig blog, besides lots of other information about the Ness of Brodgar site.
As for us we are open as usual daily throughout the summer and regularly in the winter. Michael will be in his workshop and welcomes people to go and have a chat.
However on Friday we are off to Michaels home Island of Sanday as he has been invited to judge at Sanday Agricultural Show, great fun.