Jenny Mackenzie Ross
Jenny studied Fine Art (Sculpture) at Newcastle University has worked in a number of different studios and potteries before setting up Northshore Pottery at the Mill of Forse in 1993.
Throwing is often central to her work, sometimes but not always for functional purposes, and as a starting point in the creative process.
Her studio is a converted Oatmeal Mill which was bought as a ruin in 1993. The ground floor is studio space and subsequently, alongside her husband have renovated the upper floor to become a family home.
The Roots of Rob Donn by J M Ross
When first thinking about this commission to create a sculpture in response to the work of Rob Donn I felt I had a problem. There was a feeling of dislocation from Rob Donn’s world.
By seeking out the places that he knew well and looking at the same mountains and birch forests, I found an understanding of his life, but without being able to speak the Gaelic language, and with the distance of time and culture, it was not possible to access the complete pictures contained within his verses.
Then I found a poem, an excerpt of which I have written below. The poem in its entirety is about a different kind of dislocation, a gulf that could not be bridged. It was about the barrier of Social Class that kept Rob Donn separate from the woman with whom he had fallen in love
It is unrequited love for thee that deprived me of my reason
It remains as lively with me as in your presence,
Teasing and provoking, wounding me to the heart.
All through the day I am in turmoil,
While it grows in me like a tree.
This incredibly vivid image became the basis of my piece.
Once I had completed the form of the root, I cleaved the sculpture in two in to represent this separation of souls.
But the image of a root also chimes with the times of Rob Donn, when Rob and his community literally grew out of the landscape.
The cutting, splitting and firing of the piece has also turned the sculpture into a landscape, an image within an image, echoing the cliffs of Ben Hope, and the gorges where familiar burns tumble down to the meandering glen of Strathmore.