I was fortunate to spend an entire month on the Isle of Iona completing an Iona Hostel Winter Art Residency. I explored numerous bodies of work like The Stone Series but an important part of my daily experience was tied to my daily journeys walking around the island.
During my time on Iona I focused on a different way of observing. Instead of looking up, outward, and away, I spent time looking down, inward, and near. This shift in method helped to shake up how I observe the world around me and how I might consider representing it. Sometimes it was hard to focus on the closeup when the bigger view was so breathtaking, but taking the time to enjoy the smaller and more intimate moments with Iona helped me understand the island’s unique rhythm.
Most days I was fortunate to pack my backpack with lunch and a flask of tea, heading out for a walk to explore a part of the island. Sometimes it was about returning to a place I had visited before, and sometimes it was discovering a new place. The white sand beaches were a special pleasure to walk along, with plenty of boggy ground to sink into as well, and I particularly enjoyed hiking up to the top of Dun I during both a stupendously sunny day and a windy, stormy day.
There is an interesting thing that happens on an island, a visceral shift from singular to multiple, or inward to outward maybe? When looking inward towards the centre of the island is very different than looking outward to the endless ocean. Standing at the highest point on such a small island and seeing one fully surrounded by the water is also a very different feeling to being completely land-locked. To stand on a high-point and not see anything but more land is not necessarily more comforting. Both are a unique abyss.