Tòrshavn Fort & Anna Iachino

Day 9 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today we were still in Tòrshavn and my day was very chilled out and soul-soothing.

I spent my morning in a lovely little cafe down by the port, sipping on a yummy marshmallow filled hot chocolate, eating sugary crepes, catching up with some loved ones via the internet, and updating my journal with scribblings and doodles.

It was just what I needed.

In the afternoon I went for a wander, and found myself at Skansin.

Skansin (literally: the jump) is a historic fortress in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands.

Skansin is located on a hill beside the port of Tórshavn. The fort was built in 1580 by Magnus Heinason to protect against pirate raids of the town, after he himself was nearly caught up in one such raid. The fort was expanded considerably in 1780 and went through a series of rebuilds for many years afterwards. During the Second World War the fort served Britain as a military base. Two 5.5 inch guns date from the British occupation, standing along with many older Danish cannons.

One of the Faroese lighthouses, the Skansin Lighthouse (Skansin international lighthouse), towers over the fortress, pointing the way to the capital. The strategic location of the fort offers tourists picturesque views of Tórshavn port, surrounding landscape and views out towards Nólsoy island.

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I headed back to the hostel for a spot of dinner, then we wandered back into town to meet with Anna Iachino.

Anna Iachino ia an Italian lyricist/vocalist and poet, born on January 22nd, 1961. in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Her strength is in her animated storytelling,  she sings and raps and performs spoken word, over the suberb bass playing and well crafted compositions of husband, Faroese bass virtuoso, Arnold Ludvig, winner of the 2005 Atlantic Music Event’s, Best Bass player Award.

Together they lead the band, MonkeyRat and deliver an original and powerful expression, rooted in Funk, with a little Reggae, Retro, Urban, Soul and hints of Jazz and Punk.

(read more)

Anna was great. She talked to us for ages, about her life, her music, Faroese culture, the music scene on the islands – I could have listened to her stories for hours! – and then a few of us went with her to watch her husband’s band play in the local music venue.

I completely forgot to bring my camera to this, which is a shame, as they were fantastic, and I would’ve liked to have filmed a bit! but alas, ephemeral it shall stay…. just this one photo I pinched from Lea Kannar of the band!

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More to come soon…

Chloe out.

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Birgir Kruse & Tota Arnadottir

Day 7 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today we were still in Tòrshavn and we had two talks from two fascinating Faroese people.

The first: Birgir Kruse who has a great knowledge on all aspects of the islands, and writes a blog called Birk Blog, which, unfortunately for us, is written in Faroese, a language not currently translated by google :( But you should still pop on over for a nosey, as photographs speak all languages, and his are brilliant.

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Unfortunately the space we met him in was a coffee shop, although lovely, it was quite noisy, and as I was sitting quite far from him, I didn’t quite catch all that was being said… but… I’ll do my best to give you a quick run through of a few things I learned from the notes I scribbled down!

  • The Faroese language has only existed as a written language for about 130 years.
  • It’s thought that if the Faroe Islands had belonged to Scotland the language would’ve been replaced by something more akin to Gaelic, and Faroese would’ve died out a long time ago.
  • There is a way of speaking known as “sweet Danish” which is a mixture of various Scandinavian languages, and allows for a mutual understanding between the nationalities.
  • The country is very religious, even in modern times.
  • All villages have a church that is representative of The Danish Church.
  • Religion also has a strong presence within the country’s politics.
  • Most Faroese people do not recycle. It’s not a part of their culture at present.
  • Fishing used to be the biggest industry within the Faroe Islands, but is no longer. They can’t do it cheaply enough, and there simply aren’t enough fish left.
  • The derive a lot of power from wind energy, and are currently attempting to develop power from water currents, but as it is a very expensive undertaking, it’s development is slow.

Birgir was a fantastic person to speak to, and I just wish we’d had a little more time with him, as I still had lots of questions!!

(photo below pinched from Birgir’s blog)

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Next stop was at the Faroese University for a talk with Tota Arnadottir, an expert on languages, literature, folklore, and faerytales… yes, I loved her! she was talking about everything I was interested in!!

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The fairytales in Faroese culture are younger than some of the older folk tales and ballads, and they have in some parts been appropriated from different cultures (heavy Celtic, Scottish, and Norse influences), yet still retain a Faroese flavour.

I was disappointed to learn that there are no written collections available as reading material – even in Faroese – as I would’ve loved to adopt that kind of book. Within the culture, stories are verbal, as with most, yet here they live on in the verbal a lot more than other cultures. Stories are told over shared meals, or sung in the ballads, and chain dances.

Tota then went on to tell us three stories… but as I visited the places the myths were created in, I’ll wait until later on to tell you these tales! One from Mikladalur about The Seal Woman. One from Tjørnuvík about the hidden people. And the third about Risin og Kellingin. So, keep on following this journey to learn those tales…

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The hidden people, or Huldufólk, are a large part of the mythology surrounding these islands. The Huldufólk are elf-like people who are larger than humans, grey in colour, with dark black hair, and live inside the rocks of the mountains. Although people no longer believe in these tales, there is still a respect for the hidden people. Large rocks, where they are said to live, are not moved or damaged for fear of angering the Huldufólk living within. Stories of those who have done us such, and met with a nasty fate, make for popular tales within the Faroes, and Iceland, where the Huldufólk are also present in mythology.

I like the idea of the Huldufólk and would like to work them into my work at some point. I also like them, in that they are a faerytale that makes sense. They are shaped by the landscape and by real life. They could be real. I like fantasy that is interlaced with reality, it makes for much more interesting storytelling. If you didn’t think, even if only for a second, that the creature you were being told about, or reading about, was real… would the story be as good? would you be enraptured? would that shadow dancing in the corner of your eye be quite as convincing? the shadows beneath the waves as enticing? If we believe, even for a second, that magic is real, the faeries exist… then they already do.

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Tota went on to tell us about the great ballads and the chain dance.

The chain dance is simple. Link arms, two steps to the right, then one to the left, all the while chanting the words to the songs. One person leads these chants, and traditionally it was such a person who also “wrote” the stories. Those with lots of experience make for the best leaders, and it is the leader who sets the tone, and rhythm for the dance. A good leader makes for a good dance, and vice versa.

These dances have been a great preserver for the language and the traditional stories, and although the style of dance is common throughout Europe, it is the Faroese who have maintained the culture of the chain dance above the others.

Now, it is becoming a little more difficult to attract young people to take up the tradition, but there are musicians, who are modernising the classic tales. Some purists find this detestable, but I think the adapting of tales to suit the tastes of the modern in order to preserve them and keep them alive is fantastic.

One such example is TÝR who have combined the traditional music with the contemporary…

The Faroese have a great music culture!

 

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Thanks Tota, that talk was fantastic!

 

I had a little wander around town after the talk, doing a little souvenir shopping, buying a TÝR CD, and stopping at our favourite cafe Brell for a quick hot chocolate before returning back to the hostel for dinner.

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Dinner… and salsa dancing in the kitchen!!

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After dinner, a few of us headed out to Sirkus for another night of fantastic live music. The name of the duo who played there completely escapes me, but they were great! and José managed to get a few good songs in with them too!

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The toilets in Sirkus have some awesome graffiti!!

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Another brilliant day!

More to come soon…

Chloe out.

Arrival in The Faroe Islands and a Cultural Night in Tòrshavn

Day 1 of my trip with The Clipperton Project to the Faroe Islands.

Today I travelled from Edinburgh to Vagar to Tòrshavn.

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I arrived in on June 3rd to Vagar airport, and we travelled from the airport to the island of Stremoy to the town of Tòrshavn, where we’re staying for the next couple of days.

I met 3 of our lovely group at the airport, and the rest shortly after we arrived in our accommodation. There was a group of 13 of us. We were a great mixed group, who I slowly tried to get to know over the following weeks… but at this point I’d sussed out that they were all so lovely! and were studying, and trying to achieve really interesting projects. I couldn’t wait to find out more!

This was the view from our window on the hill of Tòrshavn…

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And a cute wee lenticular cloud to greet us too!!

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We were lucky enough to coincide our first night with the Tòrshavn “Cultural Evening” which was a lovely night, spread across the whole town with different  events, pop up shops, talks, live music, dancing, food, etc. etc.

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We all wandered around, enjoying some pancakes, and free marshmallows. Taking in all the different shops, and art works.

We didn’t quite get round everything, as it was all so spread out, and the little group I was with mostly stayed to enjoy the live music. There are some stunningly talented metal musicians on the Faroe Islands!!

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Our merry crew enjoying some free beer :)

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But we did manage to see some traditional skills from viking-style people, including this woman casting tin into little pendants. I don’t know the technical terms for each of these tools, but she basically heated up the ingots of tin in the metal (I assume iron) crucible in the fire pit, and once molten, poured it in the stone mould. A beautifully simple way of casting metal jewellery, and I’m so glad this was the opening to my trip!

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We also caught this traditional chain dance (will talk more about this later on! stay tuned!) going on in the local music store.

 

Wonderful first day!

Chloe out.

Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking Tour at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall and some bonus shots of her signing my Coin-Operated Boy Vibrator Container!!!

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Those who know me, know how much I love Amanda Palmer…… a lot! So anytime she pops on over to our lovely little island, I’m always first in line for a ticket! This time it was part of her Art of Asking book tour (and quite possibly last tour for a quite a wee while… oh noes!). If you haven’t read the book yet, read it. Just go. Go now. It’s fantastic. Book link here. TED talk link here. Go now. Enjoy.

The show was wonderful. Slow-paced… a little sombre with all the sad song requests… but broken up with bouts of laughter from the hilarious Janey Godley and the pregnant lady song!!… and she did play two of my favourites, Delilah and Coin-Operated Boy… and I got to sit on the floor inches away from the stage… oh, and I met a lot of wonderful music lovers, from one of my lovely little meetup groups (p.s. thanks for organizing that Dave!)… ooo and most exciting was when she read out my question!!! Teehee I’m glad the alien barcodes are the price of the baby!… and I am also now the proud owner of an Amanda Palmer nudie pen.

Yup, awesome show was awesome.

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And if the show wasn’t enough I got to meet her at the kick-ass signing the next day in Waterstone’s. I don’t think I managed to say anything remotely intelligent to her, but I gave her a copy of my Coin-Operated Boy story, and my favourite hand-held silver brooch from that collection too! and she signed my box!!! I am now one happy jeweller!!!

Amanda if you’re reading this, I love you, I hope you like my story, and thank you.IMG_5923 IMG_5924 IMG_5928

And a bonus shot of the lovely camera-man’s feet!! Thanks!
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Thanks Amanda.

Much love,

Chloe out.

p.s. if you want to know more about my Coin-Operated Boy piece, pop on over here.

Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival 2015

My first Beltane Fire Festival…. and hopefully not my last! It was glorious.

The festival takes place on Calton Hill. It is a procession, which starts at the National Monument (know to Beltaners as the Acropolis) and proceeds anti-clockwise around the path meeting various groups along the way. The procession is driven by the beat of drums which urge it inexorably towards summer. At the procession’s head is the May Queen and the Green Man, followed by a cavalcade of characters who are intrinsically linked to them and their journey. Their destination is punctuated by various groups who either help or hinder their progress towards the Green Man’s fate and the May Queen’s destiny. After a dramatic stage performance signifying the inception of summer the May Queen and Green Man spark the birth of summer by lighting a huge bonfire. The performance then moves into its community phase. All the participants congregate in a place called the Bower. From here the finishing movements of the festival are played out in a dance of reds and whites. This is also where the home comforts of warmth, food and drink are provided to the tired and often very cold performers and crew. The boundaries between performers and audience then fades and the festival, performers, music and audience drift off into the night, taking away the memories of a unique and special event.” check out the Beltane Fire Society website for more.

Now time for the much needed photos! (a little NSFW if yer bothered by that kind of naked thing!)

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A hot, hot summer indeed!

Chloe out.

The Music of the Faery Queen…

Ever since the Dundee Wearable Arts Show I’ve had this song stuck in my head!

It was the one I picked out for my model to perform to. It has an ethereal and enchanting beauty… perfect for a faery queen.

 

It’s called The Secret of the Machine by Jherek Bischoff (feat. Caetano Veloso and Greg Saunier) from the album Composed…. which is a completely wonderful listen.

Click the cover below and check it out. It’s only $9 on bandcamp… which is like £5… a steal!!

 

Enjoy :)

Chloe out.

New Designers

New Designers = a huge trade show for jewellery graduates to display their final year work, and where people from the industry visit and interact with said graduates.

A rather wonderful experience. Was more than lovely talking to everyone who passed through about my work, you were all so nice :) And I now know how to hand up a display with foam in a really short period of time with limited tools! and how to dress professionally, and how speak to people without wanting to run away! and am more than a little jealous of all the stunning work at the show! so much inspiration in one place.

And a trip to London, so all in all pretty awesome!

 

My display all set up and pretty… even with concretesque blocks!

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Made myself a little Faery Wings inspired necklace to show off my work.

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Sexy exhibitor pass!

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A few photos from the opening night.

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Oh and let’s not forget, thanks you wonderful weirdoes for popping along! and thanks v.much for a lovely dinner :)

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To see more New Designers photos, check out the Twitter feed.

 

New Designers was ace!

I even had enough time to hang around London a little bit…

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The British Museum

Was so hot in there that I didn’t spend too much time inside, but the ceiling was epic so I did take a few wee snaps:

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Natural History Museum

Beautiful museum, epically busy, but free and wonderful! The gemstones hall being my favourite…. so much sparkly!!!

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Moody whale selfie…

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I have too much fun by myself…..

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V&A

*design drools*

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Wonderful week…. thanks to everyone involved. Much love.

 

Chloe out.