Eddie Summerton - inspired by northern phenomena
Fine art lecturer Eddie Summerton started out as a painter. He now makes prints, sculptures, films, sound recordings, photos and books. He is also an entrepreneur who has worked on a variety of intriguing projects - many of which are connected to northern Scotland.
Corrour Bothy in the Cairngorms
During the past two decades, his work has been celebrated for its alternative formats. He's made many research trips, often by bicycle and tent, to the remote Highlands of Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Lapland. There, Eddie has made work and documented activities for future projects.
One of his most recent projects within Scotland is Shelter Stone. This project turns the idea of public art on its head. Not content with the usual things like vandal-proofed objects and sculptures, Eddie worked with the Mountain Bothies Association and brought around 50 international artists and students together to create a newsprint.
Made from 70 percent recycled midge trap waste, Shelter Stone aims to entertain and even to become a vital survival tool for those hunkered down in a bothy for a night.
The book sprung from Eddie's research and fascination with northern phenomena. He invited over forty artists and writers, each with an interest in the mountain landscape, to contribute to the project. Their works explore our relationship with the mountain landscape, in magical (and magickal), physical, spiritual, poetical, ritualistic, and environmental ways.
A team of volunteers are distributing the book to mountain bothies and shelters in England, Scotland and Wales. Some copies have even been taken as far afield as Iceland and the French Alps.
The book also has a dual role:
"As the project publication is printed on newsprint, it not only acts as a reference to our understanding of our relationship with the mountain landscape, but as importantly, as a survivalist tool for the walker and climber holed up in a bothy or shelter in bad weather, as a fire lighter, boot drier, draught excluder or toilet paper. Fire, water, wind, earth!"Eddie Summerton
Eddie has been involved in a number of other collaborative projects including 'Delayed by the storm' and 'Perennial Drift'.
Delayed by storm
This is a collaborative postal art project with writer Don Paterson. Each letter that leaves the Summer Isles (off the coast of north-west Scotland) on the boat to the mainland carries two stamps. One of these is the standard UK stamp, but the other is produced by the Summer Isles Philatelic Bureau.
Eddie helped the Summer Isles Post Office unearth stories of ghosts, selkies and spooky caves. He then used these to inspire stamps and a first day cover. Working with Paterson, he created a box-set of limited edition, screen-printed and hand-stamped postcards.
The buyer of these very limited hand-stamped text works by Paterson had to send cash to the remote Summer Isles post office, then wait for a storm to pass the island (this could take days, weeks, sometimes months) before the box was franked with “delayed by storm” and delivered.
In collaboration with the artist David Faithfull, Eddie collected snow at midsummer and midwinter from Coire Ant-Sneachda (the corrie of the snows), high up in the Cairngorm mountains.
The two artists used the snow to make 183 bottles of beer to hand out at an international print exhibition – 183 being the number of days between midsummer and midwinter. Each bottle had a numbered and dated label and accompanying beer mat.
The collector of the prints (the bottle label) had to open and drink the beer with both the artists. The currency exchanged was the meeting of minds.