Greetings from Scotland! I'm writing this at 5:30 in the morning from my hotel in Glasgow. I'm jetlagged from a journey that spanned three days, one canceled flight and one missed due to some bad weather. i'm here, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm in Glasgow for the Craft Connected conference, which is being hosted by CraftScotland. It's still possible to register for the conference, which is being held on Saturday, August 27th at the Collins Gallery in the heart of Glasgow.
I've been here less than 24 hours, and Scotland is already blowing me away with its vitality, its history and its hospitality. One of the major highlights was a visit to the Glasgow Cathedral, an interesting palimpsest of historical periods, leaders and movements. I was especially moved by the stained glass windows in the cathedral, most of which date from the 1940s, '50s and '60s. They're austere, they reflect their medieval predecessors, yet they're infused with a strong sense of 20th Century design. The lancet windows above were particularly stunning--especially the central one featuring Glasgow's own Saint Mungo.
Iconography from St. Mungo saturates the cathedral--images of fish, bells, birds and trees are everywhere. There were other religious objects sprinkled throughout that weren't slavish replicas of medieval pieces. One of my favorites was a series of embroidered seat covers in the lower church that spelled out the bible verses from Genesis 9 that gave Noah permission to eat meat...something the Scottish take to heart.
Speaking of which...... I ended my day at the Ubiquitous Chip, an inventive Glaswegian restaurant that likes to honor Scottish culinary history by updating it and slicing and dicing it with other traditions. I had their venison haggis with "tatties and neeps" before heading back to my hotel for a few hours of jetlagged sleep.
In an hour or so, I'm off for an epic train journey through the Highlands to Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh today. God bless Scotland!