Jewellery at the heart of Caithness Broch Project

Caithness Broch Project and Lyth Arts Centre have collaborated to install a broch-themed ‘Brochtober’ art exhibition. The exhibition, which will be held between Saturday 5 October and Sunday 3 November, as part of Lyth Art Centre’s Autumn programme, challenged both professional artists and the general public to create works of art based on brochs. Applications for the exhibition were sent in from all over the world, from Shetland to New York, with a wide range of styles and mediums used.

Kenneth McElroy, Caithness Broch Project’s director, said that the project offers, "a different way of looking at archaeology – though art and archaeology go hand-in-hand. It’s been fantastic to see the artwork come in, and see what people think of when they envisage brochs, how can they be adapted, manipulated and reworked.” McElroy has described the work of John Nicolson as an inspiration for the exhibition, and would welcome works based on Nicolson's own creations: "He was such a fascinating character - a self-taught carver and painter with a real interest in the past - an altogether more considerate antiquarian."

Suzie Mackenzie , Broch Circles.

Suzie Mackenzie, Broch Circles.

Charlotte Mountford, co-director at Lyth Arts Centre, adds, “We're really excited to be partnering with Caithness Broch Project to host this exhibition. We're always keen to explore how arts and culture can connect with heritage as demonstrated in our last two Summer Exhibitions and we know Brochtober will really celebrate our local history.'“

Beth Legg , Yarrows Brooch, based on brass brooch found nearby

Beth Legg, Yarrows Brooch, based on brass brooch found nearby

So far a number of artists have donated works to the project, including Ian Scott, Lisa Poulsen of Inspired by Caithness, and felt artist Penny Irvine. Caithnessian jewellers Lindsey Gallacher and Beth Legg have also produced brooches based on Nybster and Yarrows Broch.  

Lindsey Gallacher . Jeweller Lindsey Gallacher has a  studio and workshop  in Thurso.

Lindsey Gallacher. Jeweller Lindsey Gallacher has a studio and workshop in Thurso.

The exhibition will be open throughout October during Lyth Art Centre’s Autumn schedule, which also include a number of guest speakers invited to talk on the theme of art, archaeology or Caithness, in a series of a talks Funded by the Greencoat Stroupster Community Fund administered by Foundation Scotland. 

Speakers include Martin Carruthers, director of The Cairns Broch excavation, on Monday 14 October; John Borland of Historic Environment Scotland and Jo Clements of Groam House Museum will talk about Pictish Stones and Scrabster-born George Bain, the eminent proponent of Celtic art on Wednesday 16 October, while on Thursday 17 October Edinburgh-based historian David C. Weinczok will investigate the Scottish inspiration behind the popular Game of Thrones series.  On Sunday 27 October, families are invited to enjoy a hands-on day of art and archaeology at Lyth Arts Centre, with archaeological art by Kate Robinson, Iain Maclean and Chris Gee.

Kelly Munro , Keiss Broch Necklace.

Kelly Munro, Keiss Broch Necklace.

Submissions will be auctioned off at a later date to help raise funds for Caithness Broch Project. For further information, contact caithnessbrochproject@gmail.com. The exhibition with a launch from 4pm on Saturday 5 October at Lyth Arts Centre.