Friday, April 18, 2008

Alan Lees in The Scots Magazine

There's a lovely piece in the new edition of the Scots Magazine - an article by Hannah Adcock about Alan's woodcarving and willow art work. Oddly enough, we switched on the Scottish television news this morning to see a shot of Alan's huge carving of 'Tam and Meg' at the Burns Centre in Alloway. Alloway's 'Auld Haunted Kirk' is being reopened today after extensive renovations, and the film crew were obviously looking for an interesting indoor shot. The carving has - sadly - been a bit of a sore point for us since the shop which comprises most of the centre has been using it as what probably amounts to the most expensive 'point of sale' fitting in the history of the world. This huge and beautiful carving that represents many months of work for Alan has invariably been surrounded by souvenir miff maff - tartanalia in other words. We have had various enraged Australians and Americans fetching up on our doorstep to complain that they wanted photographs of themselves with Tam and Meg, but couldn't get close enough to the statue. And this is a woodcarving which is meant to be stroked and touched - half the charm of woodcarvings is in their tactile quality. Latterly, because the future of the centre was in doubt, and because the carving is very firmly set into the floor, we had even begun to wonder if whoever took the centre over might decide to chop it up. However, since the National Trust are set to take over Burns Centre, and undertake extensive renovations, it doesn't look as if this is going to happen. Alan has offered his advice - essentially the statue would have to be moved (with extreme difficulty) and stored under cover - it's made in lime, so can't be left outside - until a new setting in the new building can be found for it. We noticed to our amusement that the statue appeared to be completely in the clear today - perhaps for the benefit of visiting dignitaries?

The First Minister is due to be in Alloway for the opening - good for him. Was Alan invited? No way. However, I may be sending a wee note to Alec S, pointing out that the statue has been somewhat sadly treated over the years. I don't have a picture of it online, so can't post it here - but I'll post one of the impressive willow stork instead.

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