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UISDEAN CARVES OUT HIS PLACE AT HEBCELT
21 May 2015
His work has seen him sculpting kings and queens, but Uisdean Paterson’s crowning glory will come this summer when he takes centre stage at one of Scotland’s leading summer festivals.
Uisdean has been commissioned by the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival to produce a new and iconic piece or art to help mark the event’s 20th anniversary.
The completed showpiece will be displayed at a prime location within the main arena in the grounds of Lews Castle during the festival, which runs from 15-18 July.
From his home at Aird Tong in Lewis, Uisdean combines his day job as a joiner with a passion for creating wood sculptures. His works, including a life-sized bull and a fisherman, already feature in Stornoway and complement other sculptures of a range of wildlife.
He has also produced a number of one metre-high versions of the famous Lewis chessmen, including kings and queens, for sale.
The commission for HebCelt will feature a 6ft x 4ft wood and stained glass sculpture depicting three heads in a vortex surrounded by knotted Celtic patterns. It is based on a design by the celebrated artist and teacher George Bain, from Caithness.
Uisdean credits Bain’s book Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction, published in 1951, as sparking his interest in sculpture and, in particular, Celtic art.
“After I read this book it got me into all sort of art. It’s something I really enjoy and spend a lot of time on – I don’t tend to watch the telly”, he said.
“I was delighted to win the HebCelt commission. I’m a fan of the festival and I am very keen to bring Celtic music and other forms of art together. It’s a great opportunity to have the sculpture seen by thousands of people attending the festival and draw attention to this art form and the whole Celtic culture.”
Uisdean works with all kinds of wood, including oak, pine, sycamore, elm and ash and uses a wide range of equipment in the process of his sculptures, from chainsaws to American chisels, hand-made adzes from Germany and Norwegian sculpting tools for the finer, more detailed work.
“Every material has a different property and is like carving in a different medium”, he said. “The artistic side is something I’ve developed in recent years and is just something I really enjoy and feel I should be doing.
“I want to get Celtic sculpture out there and having this piece displayed at the festival is the ideal showcase.”
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We were drawn to Uisdean’s concept due to its eye-catching design and association to the Celtic culture. It will be a spectacular addition to the main festival arena and a focal point for our multi-national audience.
“The idea of creating a new work of art was to intrigue, interest or amuse festivalgoers. This sculpture ticks the right boxes and I’m sure it will be a real talking point at this year’s event.”
Fabrication of the artwork has already started and it will be unveiled on site the week of the festival.
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