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GUEST BLOG - StoneScape: An Artists Tribute to Caithness Flagstone

“You have seen our website, you know our products but how would an artist find use for a piece of Caithness Flagstone? This guest blog has been written by the talented Lisa Poulsen, of Inspired By Caithness, who shares her take on an alternative way to use natural stone.

— Norse Stone Team

I adore Caithness stone, so I photograph it. I love landscapes, especially vast open ones, and so I photograph them too. Through digital processes, I squish photographs of stone and land together, before printing the results for others to frame and enjoy.

Hello! My name is Lisa Poulsen. Although here in my hometown of Thurso in Caithness, I’m pretty sure I’ll be referred to as “crazy stone lady” in time. Let’s be honest, there’s only so long you can get away with ogling at stone pavements and walls with a camera before a more appropriate label emerges. Speaking of labels, design is my trade but I’ve recently swapped the ‘designer’ hat for a more roomy ‘artist’ one - all while working under the business name Inspired by Caithness.

Caithness is often referred to as ‘the lowlands beyond the highlands’, its landscape is wild, open and largely unspoilt.

I find when the daily grind gets a bit much, come horizontal rain or shine, exploring the county brings out my inner child. It encourages me to slow down and appreciate the surrounding textures and light. Even while rambling around hidden gems for the first time, it’s openness feels welcoming and familiar. Its a soothing experience, similar to Nan Shepherd’s description of exploring the Cairngorm mountains:

 “Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.”

   - The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

My artwork pays tribute to the wide open landscape here in the Far North of Scotland as well as the stone that helped to form it.

Caithness flagstone has been used as a building material for thousands of years and, thanks to its beauty, strength and durability, is widely used around the world today from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to the Ground Zero memorial garden in New York.

Each layer, surface and edge is completely unique. Each piece plays its part in a 400 million year old story. I see sky, sea and land in the colours, textures and gradients of Caithness Flagstone. And through digital processes, I capture photographs of the stone’s texture from various locations including harbours, beaches, pavements, walls and benches and coordinate them with sections of a landscape photograph. Stone and land are digitally fused together across endless layers to create a single piece of art, or StoneScape. Each StoneScape breathes a new lease of life into the stone’s timeless story and adds depth to the simplicity of this land.

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