RoseCrossing, Inc.

Orkney is a grouping of islands just north of the Scottish mainland. It is a place steeped with prehistoric, Pictish, and Viking history. It is all sky, rolling lands, heather, puffins, cliffs and oyster catchers. Arriving on the mysterious Orkney Isles via ferry or plane, from any major city in Britain, you will immediately notice the clarity of air and beauty of the clouds. These Islands abound in wildlife, history, and subject matter for art. Birds are aplenty and the air is filled with their sound. Seals will stare at you from the surrounding waters. The sky and its daily dance of clouds, sun, rainbows, and mist will constantly delight and challenge your experience.

Orkney has a population of around 19,000 spread out across 19 of the 70 surrounding islands. The majority of the islanders live on the Orkney Mainland . There the two main towns. At the northern end is Kirkwall, with a population of around 7,000. At the southern end is Stromness, with a population of about 2,000. Many other residents come from the rest of Britain and others have found the magic of Orkney luring enough to entice them away from other European countries. It is an island with variety, interest, and spirit.

Orkney is also an island deep with the history of man’s relationship to the land. While continuing to be a largely agricultural community, it is filled with historical sights of interest. From the Neolithic, the Picts, to the Vikings, there are stories to hear, ruins to investigate, and museums to visit There are four UNESCO World Heritage sites within a 10 mile radius. One can truly travel in time while driving the winding roads. Both of the major towns have well arranged museums that document the islands’ changes over time. The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness houses an important collection of twentieth century works of art and has just undergone a complete restoration.

While looking about the landscape of Standing Stones and chambered cairns, you will easily find material for any kind of artistic inspiration. The sea will rush up and surprise you. And while inspiration immerses you among the standing stones and stone henges, the bird life will astound you. Short-eared owls, Arctic skuas, and the elusive puffin can all be sighted. Oyster catchers and all the gulls of the world seem to settle down for a bite or two in the well harvested hayfield. The cliffs will draw you to them and the chorus of nesting seabirds will have you stand in disbelief as you just know that you are part of a documentary.

In addition to the annual festival like the St Magnus Festival, the cultural life of the islands is enriched all year round with a large number of groups actively participating in the arts. Traditional music is alive and well. Numerous crafts artisans have relocated to Orkney. There are seven major jewelry workshops and designers creating designs available throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. World class painters, weavers, and musicians live on Orkney year-round. There is even a world class restaurant with a four-star rating. Most restaurants serve local produce and fresh caught seafood.

Orkney Arts Adventures and RoseCrossing,Inc. seek to arrange the most varied of week-long workshop experiences. It is all about helping you to uncover your stories. Slowly, and unknowingly, you will find your story by seeing and being immersed in the beauty of the life on the island of Orkney.

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© 2006 Jeanne Bouza Rose
© 2007 Jeanne Bouza Rose