Perth College Art Students' BLiSS Sculpture Depicts Loch Earn's Heritage
Three Perth College UHI art students have collaborated on the design and implementation of The Three Sisters, a 3.5m steel fishing rod and clan tartan fish sculpture commissioned for Lochearnhead to complement the award winning BLiSS trail of art installations.
The work of art is the brainchild of BA Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice students, Miami Mohsin and Shayna Mclean, and HND Contemporary Art Practice student, Amy Butler. The sculpture concept was singled out following a business project set by BLiSS trail creators, Loch Earn Tourism Information (LETi).
"The name of the sculpture came easily - Three fish species, three clans and three female artists," said Amy Butler.
The theme for the installation, at Lochside Cottages' jetty on Loch Earn, was based on Visit Scotland's tourism "Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017". Course lecturers Yunior Pedromo and Simon Reekie encouraged students to work with businesses to solve problems from design to delivery.
The winning concept and structure was based on the student teams research of clans, history, heritage and the habitat of Loch Earn. "Miami, Shayna and Amy presented a concept to us in favour of their plastic bottle bench and cork floating Loch Earn water spirit ideas. Participating students worked well, however, The Three Sisters stood out as a strong concept, relevant to the theme, well researched and professionally pitched," explained Yunior Pedromo.
Suspended from the large rod are a native brown trout (source of food in the area for generations) a rainbow trout and a rare pike, crafted with professionally turned wooden heads, fins and tails and incorporating Celtic carvings. Middle sections sport local clan tartans of MacLaren and MacGregor - who still battle, albeit in the annual BLS Highland Games tug-o-war in Lochearnhead - and Cameron of Lochiel, representing the BLS Highland Games' president and land owners Angus and his wife Ollie Cameron (née McLaren).
Artist Shayna Mclean, who led the research, explained "The rod symbolises fish as a source of food, hobby and sport keenly practiced today. Wood represents the ancient and new forests around Loch Earn. We learned that beech and cherry were best for ease of carving, strength and their ability to survive Scottish lochside temperatures. Steel, often found in fishing rods was galvanised to enable a strong stable structure. Tartans represent clans and sheep, a source of food and yarn for decades. The Celtic symbols are based on historic inhabitants and their environment".
The artists combined their strengths and skills to complete the project tasks, overcoming hurdles to bring their sketches and mock ups to life. Skilled experts and materials were sourced including Perthshire based: Meddicks Blacksmiths, wood turner David Gray, wood carver Andrew Moore and Isle Mill fabric manufacturers. LETi collaborated on funding with additional sponsorship from Cooper Cottages, Balquhidder Mhor Lodge, Briar Cottages and Lochside Cottages. The signpost was sponsored by Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.
Miami Mohsin helped to pull the project together co-ordinating components, working with suppliers and building the fish structures. "I enjoyed visiting Isle Mill tartan fabrics, she said. "We are grateful for the company's support and the time that sales director, Bill Wheelan, spent showing me around."
LETi Chair Kim Proven said "We are so proud! It was a pleasure to work with Perth College UHI and three inspiring artists of the future. A fantastic contribution to our award winning BLISS trail of art and architectural installations created for the pleasure of walkers, cyclists, and other people touring the area, as well as the locals."
Whether you are into the great outdoors, art or clan heritage, Miami, Shayna and Amy hope that The Three Sisters will reel visitors in to Lochearnhead to photograph their historic work of art, the latest addition to the BLiSS trail, all year round.