‘Milk, Beef and Beer’
Diane Eagles – Artist in residence
Three ritual feasting vessels, entitled Milk, Beef and Beer, are endowed with symbolic references to Neolithic ceramics and the Ness of Brodgar.
They are coloured white, red and black, referencing the importance of colour on the site, and the items they connect to.
Milk is a pale Orkney clay, representing the purity and fundamental importance of milk. The clay incorporates lichen, winter cow fodder, gathered from the Ness of Brodgar standing stone. The surface is coloured with powdered, burnt cattle bone and decorated with a delicate, intricate Grooved Ware style embellishment.
Beef is coloured with a red iron Orkney boulder clay slip on a pale Orkney clay body, representing the strength and blood of the cattle. The clay incorporates fragments of burnt bone from the archaeological dig. The surface is decorated with thick, dominant cordons, emulating the shape of cattle horns.
Beer is black – the pale Orkney clay body coloured with a red boulder clay slip incorporating charcoal, representing the unknown and unseen, the unpredictability and intoxication offered by alcohol. The clay incorporates grain, blown out in places, which disturbs the ordered Grooved Ware lines the shape reminiscent of a celebration drinking cog or barrel.
The pot lids add another symbolic layer – a cooling, napped slate lid for Milk with meadow flower addition, a cow’s ear cover for Beef, and a coiled grass mat lid for Beer.