Sweeney's wild shelter

wild shelter, concept and build, Kevin Langan
poem-labels, Alec Finlay

This shelter for Sweeney was constructed at Jupiter Artland, on Sunday 16 June, with the help of Richard Paterson and Arran Brown, with a helping hand from Bobby Niven, and Luke Allan. Kevin has written about the build here.

The form that Kevin chose was inspired by IHF's Temple of Apollo, which rests nearby, on the font of the wood.

          AN ASK




  after Arne Naess

          /  \

          RUDE BED


for Sweeney


        \ /


       / \

for Déirdre Ní Mhathúna & Hayden Murphy

           AN ANNUAL
             OF JUNE


One of the many visitors to the build was Déirdre Ní Mhathúna; she reminded me that today was Bloomsday, the annual celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses. We talked about the way traditions, which always seem remote, are sometimes seeded in the present, as with all the kidneys breakfasts being eaten for breakfast today, in honour of Leopold Bloom.

While we were chatting I noticed that Deirdre was playing with three twigs in her fingers, and I realised they kept settling into the same bird-like form that Hanna had suggested I should draw, for the imprint left by Sweeney's aviform footsteps.

While we watched the shelter taking shape – the branches being tied and braced into scaffolds, the first ferns being added to the roof – I was reminded to ask Deirdre what she thought would have been the form of her namesake's 'sun-bower', built for her by Naoise on the slopes of Glen Etive.

Deirdre's theory of the sun-bower

   built by Naoise

of willow
& hazel withy
with a covering
of royal ferns

   to shelter Deirdre

Another visitor to the build asked us how long the work would take. Kevin explained that each shelter was built in a day and slept in for a night. This prompted the visitor to recall an old Welsh law for us,  tai y nos, which decreed that if a family could build and roof a house within one day, dawn to nightfall, then the land around it would be theirs to keep.

The hutters slept in close proximity to badgers, browsing roe deer, and statues.

More information on Kevin Langan's 100 wild huts project is available on his blog, here. This was the 21st to be constructed and slept in. 

A few days later Ken Cockburn held two school's poetry workshops in the woodland around the shelter.

Alec and Kevin are collaborating on a bower for Duke's Wood, which is discussed by Alec and Amy Todman here.

photographs by Alec Finlay & Luke Allan

A 360 degree photographic document of the build can be viewed here.

Our thanks to Jupiter Artland for their support.

Bothan Shuibhne | Sweeney’s Bothy

Alec Finlay & The Bothy Project

commissioned as part of Creative Scotland’s

‘Year of Natural Scotland 2013’

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