Scottish Totem Pole Project
Strathdon Totem Pole
Since Kenny Grieve's visit to Western Canada in 2001, totem poles have been appearing in Scotland. During 2002, "The Year of Wood", as part of Treefest Scotland, poles were carved at Bennachie, Strathdon, Dunkeld and the Dundee Flower Show, under the guidance of a group of Canadian First Nation carvers led by XwaLackTun. Local schools and craftsmen were involved in the design and carving. Since then the project has developed year on year, attracting significant funding from the Scottish Arts Council, and the support of the National Museum of Scotland, and involving many local groups and organisations. Brotus Rural Crafts is based in Fife and is the home of Kenny's greenwood roadshow reaching parts of Scotland that many never knew existed. He is one of the most generous guys ever to have come out of Aberdeenshire !
Brotus Rural Crafts website here
Wooplaw Woods are owned and managed by Wooplaw Community Woodlands - a charitable organisation run entirely by volunteers who believe it is important to promote woodland culture and keep traditional woodland skills alive.
Our aim is to manage the woods for the benefit of the local community - in particular education, training, recreation, and the sustainable production of forest products. That includes providing a year round programme of events aimed at promoting a woodland culture, making the woods available as a free venue for other organisations to run events associated with music, arts, woodland skills, wildlife studies and other cultural studies, and also providing completely open access for members of the local community.
Wooplaw website here
Community woodlands are extremely diverse, embracing all woodland types from ancient semi-natural woods to extensive conifer plantations, and ranging from less than a hectare to over a thousand hectares in size. Likewise, the communities involved range from crofting townships in the far north and west to small towns and inner-city communities in the central belt.
Some of the larger groups now employ staff to manage and develop their woods, while others are managed entirely by volunteers. Whilst the aims and objectives of individual groups vary according to local needs and aspirations, and the type and scale of the woodland managed, all are working to build sustainable, flourishing, creative, resilient and vibrant communities.
Individuals, groups and their own communities, are increasingly recognising woodland and associated activity as being an important part of their cultural heritage.
CWA website here or have a look at the video below which I made for CWA
Hebridean Galley Orcuan
As the tide went out on the shipbuilding history of Govan, many families in the community were left without work and meaning. Modern Govan has been left high and dry by this post-industrial legacy; roots are being lost, values are becoming blurred, and the fast-flowing current of modern life is leaving many behind. At GalGael, we have created a cultural anchor point around which local people are re-kindling skills, community and a sense of purpose. While our boats imaginatively reconnect elder and youth… people and place… urban to rural communities, the insider and the outsider… old ways and new… our past to our future. They serve as a powerful metaphor for transformation - recreating an inspirational folklore for the modern age.
I had known the late Colin McLeod, one of the main drivers of cultural activism in Glasgow from the Pollock Free State days. His wife Gehan McLeod and a truely dedicated clan of warriors continue the great work in Govan and beyond. This is an inspirational project. If you have free time in Glasgow, give them call and ask for a tour of their workshop in Fairley Street. One of Glasgows best known secrets !!
Great website here