FIRE FESTIVAL OFFERINGS
For each of the eight Fire Festivals that take place around the year the artist Gawain Morrison will produce an offering, which may be a piece of art, some music, a poem, or something site specific. The starting point for these offerings is the Summer Solstice & you can read more about the inspiration themes here.
SUMMER SOLSTICE OFFERING
Express yourself, enjoy & celebrate what you have.
The Cathedral Quarter is the cultural heart of Belfast, with arts organisations, venues, galleries, and amazing street art produced by local & international artists. I wanted my Summer Solstice artist offering to celebrate this beautiful creativity & the potency of life in the area whilst referencing the Ogham Grove that launched me on this journey.
Druids marked the boundaries of their areas with the characters from the ogham tree alphabet, leaving notes to those who would journey the same path. I wanted to highlight the areas of the Cathedral Quarter that have become natural areas for street art & where nature is growing back in between the art, theatre, music, circus and dance.
Look Up, Look Around, Look In was the phrase attached to all things Ogham that we produced, to pay attention to the spaces we live our lives in, whether we have let them decline, want them to thrive, feel they need some love, or are spaces that embody the creative energy of our communities.
I created a stencil of the Ogham Grove logo so that I could spray it in these locations. Using an eco-friendly pigmented chalk paint, typically used for outdoor temporary marking, I sprayed the logos using the solstice colours of red, gold, & orange. These will remain for as long as the natural world of rain, wind & shine allow them to stay.
Happy solstice folks!
Celebrate the sun & the harvest
My artist offering for the first harvest of the year, Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is some beach art on a beach on the north coast if Ireland, where the sun & the light are beautiful (when it actually shines!)
I wrote out a sentence using the Ogham characters at the end of the beautiful Benone beach, and I'll let you work out what it says if you check the ogham tree alphabet section.
Happy Lughnasadh folks!
AUTUMN EQUINOX (MABON) OFFERING
The second harvest & the balance of light & dark.
My artist offering for the second harvest of the year, the Autumn Equinox, also known as Mabon, is a piece of music that I've composed. I've been making electronic music for over 20 years and I wanted to make something that gently absorbed you whilst you listened, celebrating the light days that we're enjoyed and the waning to darker nights that are approaching us.
Have a wonderful Mabon festival.
The End of Harvest & the Beginning of the Dark Half of the Year
My artist offering for this Fire Festival, & the theme around it, is based in photography & the potential for ‘picking up’ the faint images & shapes of ghosts & spirits in photographs, when you maybe wouldn’t see them with the naked eye.
I walked around the Cathedral Quarter, to locations where the Ogham Grove or Fionn's Window have taken me, in the hope of identifying spirits at this time of year when the boundaries between worlds are at their thinnest.
These photos are what I discovered on my journeys. Happy Samhain.
Celebrate Life in the Darkness: The Shortest Day
My artist offering for this Fire Festival, & the final offering for 2022. The theme for this is my personal fascination with the Ogham writing system and the pagan way of living that understood the harmony and circularity of the world they were part of. It was a recognition of the cycle of nature, the sun and the moon. I wanted to create a piece of artwork that could be tattooed on my arm as a sleeve. I wanted to take the theme of the Ogham Grove as the basis of my design thinking, and sketched a bunch of different styles and placements for tattoo concepts, and after several ideas that didn't sit right I inverted the scribbled artwork, and as soon as I did that it just felt right.
After this initial sketching, I approached Helen McDonnell in Skullduggery, on the Dublin Road, in Belfast, to ask if she could help me design this sleeve. Helen was good enough to suggest that the best in Ireland, to take this initial idea to produce something beautiful would be Wagner Basei, of True Black Tattooing, in Dublin. Wagner took a look at my original sketches & in his gentle way said he'd take a look at it. What he then produced, from a couple of basic sketches was absolutely amazing, and over three sittings, he produced this amazing piece of sleeve art. His design was to build on the notion of the calendar wheel with Irish swirls and a surround of the sun and it's rays. The geometry of nature and of the solar and lunar cycles were represented in Irish knots and repeating geometric patterns, so this is what inspired the patterns on the sleeve surrounding the Tree Alphabet primer image other the Yew and the Elder Ogham characters.
This is my final artist offering (with Wagner producing & delivering the sleeve art on me as a canvas) for this particular project & it has been an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing people to bring these pieces of art to life, and to learn so much more about the original pagan culture that we are founded from in Ireland. Hopefully we are all becoming more aware of how we should live in the world.
Happy Yule to you all.