From the Art Hut

Trench T. Watercolour by Karen Wallis.

(Annie Wright Photography)

(Annie Wright Photography)

This year the Art Hut hosted four artists: Jeanne Bouza Rose, Diane Eagles, Karen Wallis, and Annie Wright.

For the first four weeks of the excavation, Annie Wright took photos of the diggers and the stones, portraying “Life in the Trenches”, as part of her collections of ancient heritage sites.

She says in her blog: “Here, I view my photographic task as that of a mapmaker defining boundaries, spotting relationships and providing an echo of a time thousands of years ago where people of purpose and ingenuity constructed a world of both eloquence and beauty.”

Later in the season, Diane Eagles returned for her second residency.

(Diane Eagles)

She is inspired by the design, firing, use and disposal of Neolithic Grooved ware pots at the Ness. She used her artist residency to think about place and the connection of the Ness to the Orkney landscape and the Neolithic sites around it. 

(Diane Eagles)

These Orkney raw clay works, entitled Found, reflect upon foraging for food and continue the earlier theme of Feast from her 2018 residency.

(Jeanne Bouza Rose)

Found, echoes the skeuomorphic possibilities in the Ness Grooved Ware pots, cordage, netting, basket forms and imprints. This led her to experiment with heather and other locally found basket making material, Orkney willow, hazel and flag iris.

Her collected objects, pots and baskets were then displayed and recorded, giving a nod of recognition to deposition seen on the Ness to form the collected images, Hallowed Earth, which featured as Instagram posts and at the August Ness open day.

Jeanne Bouza Rose spent the whole of last season painting the huge painting that has recently been seen in the Highland Park shop in Kirkwall.

(Jeanne Bouza Rose)

This year, due to unexpected demands in the shop in Stromness, she was only able to come to the Art Hut for a day or two each week. She nevertheless managed to produce landscapes in watercolour and oil pastels expressing her view of the colours of the life once there.

She spent the first open day encouraging visitors to make drawings of the site and rubbings from a Chris Gee reproduction stone.

Claire and Sigurd in Structure Twelve entrance cell.

Claire and Sigurd in Structure Twelve entrance cell. (Karen Wallis)

Jeanne also managed to host two visits from Stromness poet, Yvonne Gray, who was the renga master for various dig volunteers, for the creation of two rengas (an ancient form of Japanese poetry).

It is hoped that these will become the second volume illustrated with Jeanne’s artwork of rengas composed at the Ness. Jeanne also hopes to spend more time painting on site next year.

Structure Eight. (Karen Wallis)

Throughout the season Karen Wallis continued her ongoing project, documenting the archaeologists’ everyday process in sketched drawings, plein air paintings, and recordings of conversations and ambient sounds.

This material is being combined into a film.

Site director Nick Card by Structure Twenty-Six orthostat. (Karen Wallis)

Towards the end of the dig, Karen showed the first 30 minutes to the diggers, projected on to the back wall of the barn where the wheelbarrows are kept. She plans a world premier of the complete film on site next year.

The current edit can be seen on Vimeo at However, the film is not intended to be the only outcome of her residencies.

Karen is becoming more deeply involved in her aim to contribute to the archaeological record at the Ness, and so she will be back on the dig next year to continue her investigations.

Works by the artists were available in the site shop, which raises funds for the Ness. Visit their websites for more information and contact details.

Jeanne Bouza Rose –
Diane Eagles –
Karen Wallis –
Annie Wright –<

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