20 September, 2010

Stories Through the Barrows

Roger Hutchinson (2006). Calum's Road. Edinburgh: Birlinn. ISBN 9781841584478.
Surface wear from pushing the page into Calum's road.

Malcolm (Calum) MacLeod B.E.M. was a resourceful, determined and self-made man of the Hebridean Island of Raasay, Scotland. Out of frustration at the local authorities’ neglect of the task, he spent ten years (1964-1974) constructing a road with little more than simple hand tools and a wheelbarrow. 

Inspired by my own visit to the Isle of Raasay and Roger Hutchinson’s book
Calum’s Road, I have created three handmade wooden wheelbarrows, each with a story relating to the life and work of Malcolm (Calum) MacLeod (BEM) and his road building quest.

On three separate occasions, I will re-enact the journey taken by MacLeod, 1¾ miles from Craft Victoria – the same length as Calum’s road. The re-enactment will be motivated by MacLeod’s weight of duty and determination to achieve his goal.  Two of the starting points will be from past Craft Office locations - Meat Market, North Melbourne.  (1980-92) & Gertrude St, Fitzroy (1992-2001) to pay homage to Craft Victoria turning 40 years young.

Post (wheel barrow), 2010, red iron bark, oil, polish.
“In 1958...Calum MacLeod was by then the only postman serving northern Raasay, collecting the mailbag three times a week from a mail van at Brochel, carrying it on his shoulder along the broken footpath to be sorted at Torran, and then delivering to Fladda and to his family at Arnish”.  Roger Hutchinson, Calum’s Road. 2006
Carved into the tenons beneath the tray is the phrase Rathad Chaluim Gaelic for ‘Calum’s Road’.
Photographer, Jeremy Dillon.  L. 134cm H. 64cm W. 66cm

 Ruination (wheel barrow), 2010, spotted gum, oil.
Ruination is a wheelbarrow without legs. Those in authority passed in the responsibilty of building a road in the north of the island. The barrow lying on its side symbolises the ruination of Raasay.
The gunstock checkering on one of the handles is in reference to South Raasays history as grounds for game hunting and the Raasay raiders – (ex-servicemen whom on return tried to reclaim their crofts)
Once his mistrust towards centralised authority reached hatred he would pick up the wheelbarrow, bearing all weight of duty from surveying to construction to maintenance, determined not to set down until a road was built.  This accomplishment shamed those who neglected the north and provided longevity for the community.

Using wood from Urban salvage, the entire barrow is made from Spotted Gum, the wheel is made up of 6 lamination's each 1.5mm thick, the 7mm thin tray is constructed using angled dovetails with the frame pinned mortise and tenon allowing for seamless grain flow and structural integrity. 
Photographer, Jeremy Dillon. L. 141cm H. 56cm W. 52cm

Dry-stone (wheel barrow), 2010, red iron bark, spotted gum, untreated.
Like the Dry-stone holding walls supporting Calum’s road, the barrow tray is without mortar - no glue.
Dry-stone reveals the methods involved in its construction.  Pins holding the frame together can be removed and joints discovered.  The Spotted Gum wood of Ruination and the Red Iron Bark of Post come together in Dry-stone, linking Raasay’s north and south.
It was Calum’s grandfather who helped build the 7-foot high deer wall across the island (Rainys wall) and the skill of dyking has been handed down to him.
Photographer, Jeremy Dillon.  L. 134cm H. 64cm W. 53cm

Rona.(lighthouse), 2010, spotted gum, steel, untreated.
Made up of 116 Spotted Gum strips each 3010mm x 70mm x 2mm.  Steel ring suspended from I beam.  Slats are wood pinned to steel ring.
Based on the lighthouse Calum tended on Rona and a symbol of the earth he moved. It has a continuous narrative, emphasising ongoing duties, his disposition, often going around in circles pressing his case to the council for a road.
As you move around the space, a feeling of solitude is near - even with company. 
(if you walk around Rona 406 times, you will have walked 1 ¾
miles - the length of Calum's road)
Photographer, Timothy McLeod.  H. 317cm W. 220cm

Raasay (photograph), 2010, red iron bark, spotted gum, high gloss flex paper on diabond, danish oil.
Taken in September 2006 using an SX-70 Polaroid camera with SX-70 film. It was by chance that I captured the postal service using Calums single-track road approximately 40 years after he took to its construction. It shows the township of Arnish in the background.  Isle Raasay - old norse for Roe (red) Deer island
Photographer, Jeremy Dillon.  D. 3cm H. 133cm W. 25cm  

Wood Plane (tool), 2010, Red Gum, Spotted Gum, A2 steel, Untreated.
Krenov style wooden plane with 1 ½ inch wide blade, Red Gum body with Spotted Gum wedge and insert.
L. 21cm W. 5cm H. 6cm 
Plane Hammer (tool), 2010, Spotted Gum, Brass, Untreated.
Adjusting hammer for tuning wood hand plane. 
Photographer, Jeremy Dillon.  H. 29cm W. 6cm T. 2cm

Scraper Plane (tool), 2010, Red Iron Bark, A2 steel, Untreated.
Scarper plane for revealing Calum’s road within ‘wood envelope’.
L 12cm W. 8cm H. 8cm
Shoulder Plane (tool), 2010, Red Iron Bark, A2 steel, Untreated.
Plane for revealing Calum’s road within ‘wood envelope’ 
 L. 15cm W. 7cm T. 1cm
Wood Envelope (tool), 2010, Red Iron Bark, high gloss flex paper on diabond, Untreated.
Use the shoulder plane and scraper plane on the wood envelope to discover Calum’s road inside.
Photographer, Jeremy Dillon.  L 22.5cm W. 11cm T. 1cm  

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