How many of you know that 2009 is the Year of Homecoming in Scotland?
It sure felt that way last weekend when many of us gathered for two sensational events: a benefit whisky tasting hosted by William Grant & Sons distillers on Saturday night and a panel discussion the following day by four artists who have taught and studied at my favorite school: North Lands Creative Glass.
The whisky tasting brought over 60 North Lands supporters together to savor the flavors of Glenfiddich and Balvenie whiskys on the closing night of the gallery’s Due North Exhibition. Every question you might ever have had about the water (from the Robbie Dhu springs) or the peat or the process, was ably answered by Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador Ray Pearson.
Whisky is a lot like glass in many ways. Glassmakers are fond of saying that you can’t take a glass recipe across the street – meaning that every element from the source of the raw materials to the age of the furnace to the barometric pressure affects the final glass.
Whiskymakers are no different. But the rim of their glass is sure a lot tastier than the rim of ours!
Dessert arrived at the Bullseye Resource Center on Sunday….
…when Catharine Newell, Mel George, Deborah Horrell and Robin Provart-Kelly, moderated by BE’s own Ted Sawyer, took us all through slides and stories about their magical times at North Lands.
Robin’s images of the North Sea cliffs contrasted dramatically with Catharine’s views of the neolithic burial cairns…
Mel’s work in the Due North exhibition included this charming set of Polaroid-sized images that capture the essence of the drystone walls found everywhere around the county:
But it’s not all art and landscape at North Lands. Mel’s snaps of these culinary moments in the village of Lybster were some of my favorites.
If you’ve ever lived in Britain – or one of its former colonies – your mouth will probably water at the perverse memory of fish and chips or meat pies. And the pies from Mackay’s the Butcher just down the road from the North Lands studios are famous around the (glass) world.
So, if you hear the pipes “a-calling” in your head….maybe it’s a hint that you need to come to North Lands this summer.
(Or if you just want an awesome piper in the Portland area, check out Rob Barrick – our tasting wouldn’t have been nearly as tasteful without him)