Edinburgh- Up Close and Personal

Our time in the enchanted highlands was certainly beautiful, but it was soon time to move on to the final leg of our UK odyssey, Edinburgh. We piled into the vans and spent most of the day returning to Glasgow, collected the rest of our luggage and hopped on a bus for the hour or so ride to Edinburgh.

The character of the city began to be apparent on the bus ride. Light brown stone buildings with a distinctive air of respectability about their design. A short cab ride from the bus station and then a slight delay while Vickie went off to get us checked into the University of Edinburgh dorms which we rented for the rest of the week. It was a long travel day.

Although the pace in Edinburgh wasn’t as quick as in London, our time was filled, especially as our final critique loomed. Spare time was spent refining our models, working on the computer in Photoshop and Rhino and completing our plans on exactly how to make our piece during our week back at Tyler in Philadelphia.

Edinburgh goldsmith Andrew Lamb gave very generously of his time (and limited space) for a studio visit. His work, all made with hand fabrication techniques, is considered some of the most innovative new work anywhere. He talked about his process, showed us his models and tools, talked about how he made his materials and we were even permitted to handle (carefully!) some of his pieces.

Andrew spoke about studying in Italy with Giovanni Corvaja. When I looked up Corvaja later, I realized that his was one of the pieces in the Victoria and Albert that really captured my attention. What I realized even later that Corvaja lives and works in Todi, a medieval town I visited when I was at Temple Rome. I wanted to scream. So close and I had no idea! One more reason to go back to Italy sometime.

We visited Edinburgh Castle and also rode one of the double decker tour buses to get oriented to the City. The National Museum of Scotland was another enjoyable location with a large variety of art and artifacts. It was the first place I was able to take photos of some of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Edinburgh Castle
For me though, along with meeting Andrew Lamb, the highlight of Edinburgh was our visit to the collection repository of the National Museum. Here we were permitted to see the Museums collection not currently on display, shown to us by the curator. I was thrilled when she told us we were permitted to take photos, but even more so, when she pointed out that if we wore rubber gloves we may hold individual pieces.

What a thrill to examine and hold these works of art and be able to have discussions with the piece right in front of us. We talked about techniques, documentation, individual artists and even collectors. The highlight for me was probably the kinetic bracelet by Friedrich Becker. Created with multiple ball bearings, this piece gives the illusion of two balls spinning around each other on a rotating plate. Check out more of his work in this video. It’s mesmerizing.

Our final day with Roger and Helen culminated with a goodbye group dinner at a pub, watching the World cup as the US lost to Germany. Many pints and haggis disappeared during our last dinner together.

One last free day in the UK and I found myself out shopping for last minute gifts. Vickie took me on the “sweater tour” through the Grassmarket area, checking out the lovely cashmere and designer knitwear available. I was thrilled to be able to find a perfect Harris Tweed vest for Gwen. The next day we were out bright and early for a shuttle van to Glasgow where most of the group flew back to Philadelphia. It was good to be home.

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