From the Art Hut – connecting…

By Diane Eagles

Owing to the dig being cancelled this year because of Covid restrictions, I moved my residency to daily Instagram posts.

I had been working on ideas for the residency during the year and I shared these in the Instagram posts and developed the work further during the two weeks.

Initially I wanted expand upon the works from the last two years residency, exploring site specific works, and looking at the possible ways that Grooved Ware pots were used at the Ness site through ritual deposition and placing (seen in my Instagram posts from 2019 ‘Hallowed Earth’ @edens_clay). Grooved ware is also connected with gathering together for conspicuous feasting from hunting and gathering (seen in the exhibition of two groups of work Feast and Found). Additionally, Grooved ware pots show a variety of styles and colour and their often skeuomorphic designs echo and hold pattern associated with weaving, basket making, cordage rope, nets, stitching etc.

Replicas of ‘fishing net’ style of decoration and ‘stitching’.

Plant-pot style Grooved ware pot, deposited upside down, and an image of lifted pot in the finds tray. Composite pot design; the wide variety of Grooved ware styles discovered, may indicate groups bringing pots to The Ness for gathering and feasting.

Two posts focused on the evidence for coloured grooved ware pots, black white and red decorative elements and the potential link to decoration at The Ness with painted stone and with the stone carved lozenge design showing up in pottery ornamentation. The paper, Analysis of coloured Grooved Ware sherds from the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney (Card, Jones, Towers and Odling 2019) was a huge help with this.

The proliferation of small ceramic thumb pot finds and clay balls raises questions about vessels for holding or processing coloured pigment such as red ochre for decoration on clay and stone. I have become a bit obsessed with ‘micro’ thumb pots! A number of my smoke fired replica ‘micro’ Grooved Ware pots are available for sale, £20, with proceeds to the Ness.

The final posts pick up the evidence for textiles and cordage seen imprinted into some of the pots, as supportive mats whilst making the pots or accidentally catching the potters clothing. These exciting , recently confirmed discoveries open up future experimental possibilities connected to weaving of natural fibres and textile production. Lets hope I can be back on the dig in 2021.

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