Meet Claire MacLeod, Outlandia Artist in Residence.
Although I now live locally in Lochaber, the opportunity to take a residency at Outlandia is attractive to me for two reasons. Firstly, through my experience in climbing and making mountain films, I am acutely aware of the difference between living near natural mountain landscapes, and actually spending large amounts of time in them. Many of the subjects of my films (often climbers or other sportspeople) have clearly developed very close relationships with natural places due to the time they've had to spend there in their sporting endeavours. I have found myself envious of this extended time in nature. Although I have drawn on experiences in nature in my artistic work, those experiences are generally short-lived. Secondly, the location of Outlandia in particular is ideal for a project I would like to explore. A few years ago I produced a series of podcasts on Glen Nevis, highlighting interesting stories of its natural history and its people. The stories of people who have lived in the glen through ages and generations was especially interesting, and having studied these stories and met some of the people who have lived in the glen in the past century, I cannot fail to see the place in the context of these stories. This is especially true when walking across the Peat Track, past the pathway into Outlandia and down into the glen. It is because of the Nevis area that I moved to Lochaber and is a place I hold very dear. I have been on the Board of Trustees for a charity called Friends of Nevis since 2011, whose aim is to help the local community look after and manage Ben Nevis and the surrounding landscape. In the past year I have enjoyed exploring grafted calligraphy and would like to work with words and stories from people who have lived in Glen Nevis, giving them a
voice, using text and textiles. Although I am mainly involved in design and film, I would welcome the opportunity to explore stitched word further.