So what could be more relaxing than a tour of an art gallery?
From mid-January until last weekend, one of the local galleries was hosting an exhibition by Orcadian artists, who had been given the brief to create works of art around the theme of beach-combing and recycling.
My employers were sponsoring the exhibition, as it fitted well with our aim of promoting a reduction in the amount of material going to landfill, as well as encouraging some new ideas for upcycling and re-use.
Half a dozen local artists contributed to the exhibition, with materials including natural objects (shells, seaweed, feathers, bones and skate egg cases) and man-made ones (sea glass, rope, driftwood, metal and plastic).
As any creative talent I think I might possess is centred around the written word, the visual and tactile artworks produced for the exhibition filled me with complete awe.
Here's just a few of the wonderful things on display...
|Letter press blocks of themed words and paintings by Julie Switsur
|Driftwood furniture by Robert Moore
|Sea glass seahorse by Penny Martin
Eek! I had no point of reference for this sort of thing, so found it all rather daunting.
However, there was a thorny issue that had been bothering me for some time, so I used this as my muse and channelled my efforts in a different direction.
On Orkney, it is not possible to recycle the plastic tops from bottles. The plastic bottles themselves, yes (if they're Type 2), but the lids, no (even if they're also Type 2). Please don't ask, you'd only be opening up a huge can of worms. And, yes, we do recycle cans (the worms are able to look after themselves, providing they avoid the non-native, invasive New Zealand Flatworm, that is).
After rifling through some of the still unpacked boxes in the garage, I unearthed a photo frame and a sheet of sandpaper. Looking on the work Facebook page, I found a photo of said bottle tops, whilst Google Images provided the outline of a man-made shape.
So here's my comment upon humanity and its likely legacy to the planet...
|'Footprint in the sand' by me
So last week, passers by to Tense Towers could've been forgiven for wondering what the terrible noise was, as ELP was belting out from our hifi and I joined in on the choruses.
|The Sage by Greg Lake (album cover design by William Neal)
"I carry the dust of a journey, that cannot be shaken away.
It lives, deep within me, for I breathe it every day.
You and I are yesterday's answers, the earth of the past come to flesh,
Eroded by Time's rivers, to the shapes we now possess.
Come share of my breath and my substance, and mingle our streams and our times.
In bright infinite moments, our reasons are lost in our rhymes."
What a wordsmith.