HANNA TUULIKKI: Self-Directed Residency, 2014

cloud-cuckoo-island In May 2014, I spent a week with Alec Finlay at the wonderful Sweeney’s Bothy in Cleadale. In the evenings, with the stove alight, we worked together on the Away with the Birds score transcriptions, sifting shapes from sounds.
Outside, in the day-time, I explored and began research for a voice-performance-to-camera piece – to be filmed next spring – as part of
Mnemonic Topographies, a new body of work investigating the land encoded in the song, the lore embedded in the land.

Photo: Cuckoo Flower, EiggPhoto: Cuckoo Flower, Eigg


This is a small extract from cloud-cuckoo-island a poem-cycle that sets the scene for the film:


cuckoo clock on a may morning

out-out   out-out   out-out   out-out    
                                   (four o’clock)

   the lady’s smocks gather [i]

   their petticoats waver     

up-up   up-up   up-up   up-up   up-up 
                                        (five o’clock)

   lords-and-ladies [ii]

   in the grassy paps
      finger the sky


gob-gob gob-gob gob-gob gob-gob gob-gob gob-gob   
                                                                      (six o’clock)                                                         

   hawks his froth [iii]

   and bends the

suck-eggs   suck-eggs   suck-eggs   suck-eggs   suck-eggs   suck-eggs   suck-eggs
                                                                                                               (seven o’clock)                         

   stealing in the pipit’s nest [iv]
   waking the ragged
      robin [v]


gone-gone   gone-gone   gone-gone   gone-gone   gone-gone   gone-gone   gone-gone   gone-gone
                                                                                                                                           (eight o-clock)
shoes-off! [vi]

   snow’s gone

   and the faerie bells

[i] lady’s smocksCardamina pratensis is a springtime flower with white or lilac petals, associated with milkmaids, their smocks and cuckoos. It is known as the Lady’s Smock and Cuckoo Flower.

[ii] lords-and-ladiesArum maculatum flowers with glossy green leaves in spring. Its purple central spadix gives its name Cuckoo Pint, meaning ‘cuckoo’s penis’, an allusion to the cuckoo’s alleged promiscuity. It is also known as Lord-and-Ladies.

[iii] hawks his froth – The term cuckoo spit refers to a foamy substance that appears on plants during the spring and summer. The name comes from the folk belief that the cuckoo spits. However, it does not actually come from a bird, but is created by a small insect called a froghopper which is also known as a ‘spittlebug’.

[iv] pipit’s nest – According to Eigg-based ornithologist John ‘the bird’ Chester, the Meadow Pipit is the sole host species parasitized by the Cuckoo on the island.

[v] ragged robinLychnis flos-cuculi, meaning flower of the cuckoo, is a jagged, vivid pink, star-shaped flower of spring, commonly known as Ragged Robin.

[vi] shoes-off! – Hyacinthoides non-scripta, the Common Bluebell is a springtime violet-blue bellflower. Known in Gaelic as Bròg na Cubhaig – The Cuckoo’s Shoe, it has associations with fairies.

Alec’s blog from our trip
Hanna’s website

AMY WINSTANLEY: Self-Directed Residency, 2014

Gathering. This was my 25th year of visiting Eigg but the first time doing an artist residency.  It was a week of beautiful November sunshine, some visiting and socialising with an equal measure of solitude and thinking time.  It was a gathering of ideas, thoughts and material for my project I am working on towards a show next year.



I am interested in man’s relationship to nature, our significance and also our insignificance.  I wanted to explore my relationship to nature on Eigg.  This is one of memory, familiarity, playful interaction as a child, fascination and awe at its magnificence as a discerning adult.


The light up north this time of year is wonderful.  It enhances the autumnal colours of the land and makes for a magical feast for the eyes.  Rum glowed pink some mornings, the cliffs behind the Bothy burning a fiery orange in the late afternoon sun, the bracken singing its colour to the purple sea beyond.


Once you stop, look and take-in the natural surroundings, you can be witness to some amazing sights.  Acts of nature that happen whether seen and appreciated or not.   All this beauty, always existing, all the time.

DSC_0013 DSC_0120

In the Bothy library I stumbled upon Nan Shepard’s book “The Living Mountain”, a masterpiece in nature writing.  It does well to capture the poetic beauty of nature just being: “the mountain world ‘does nothing, absolutely nothing, but be itself'”.

I am fascinated at how insignificant one can feel within nature, how this in turn, and perhaps paradoxically, can make one feel happier, more present and in-the-moment.  As John Muir put it “Going out was really going in”.


Some sketchbook pages: