SAMANTHA M. GRAY
Being a born Orcadian, I have been surrounded by archaeology all my life, and have been hugely inspired by it. When the Ness of Brodgar was discovered, I was excited to visit the site when possible and imagine how the Neolithic people might have moved around the landscape.
I am fascinated by these prehistoric sites, the lines they make within the landscape, the natural elements, and the feelings that they invoke. We can only guess why these sites and monuments exist, and their meaning.
In the Neolithic it must have been an awe inspiring sight, even now thousands of people make their pilgrimage to Orkney each year to see what remains of these monuments.
In my creative process I make my own papers incorporating natural materials, some of which become artworks in themselves. Others I print onto, using lino-cut, monoprint and collagraph printmaking techniques. My handmade papers give a textured, organic feel and look to my pieces, which complements my subject.
For me, the Ness of Brodgar spoil heap dirt contains a kind of memory and essence of the Orkney Neolithic people. As an Orcadian, I feel a connection to this earth, and the people who have walked on the same paths as myself.
These handmade papers are made by mixing cotton linters with recycled packing papers, then incorporating Ness of Brodgar spoil heap dirt and Orkney sand during the papermaking process.
Each piece of paper is made individually, and therefore the colour and texture will vary. The papers are then printed on using a gelli-plate monoprinting technique.
As these prints are made individually and each one is an original, there will be variation in each print. This means that each piece of handmade paper, and each print, is original and unique.