Heriot Toun in autumn

7 Short Sails - Sail 5

Louice Lusby Taylor is a visual artist and her work is influenced by landscape as well as contemporary architecture and urban spaces. She is particularly interested in responding to the specific character of place or space within which her work sits. This means that she often develos her practice in-situ. She does two dimensional work as well as installations and public art work projects.

Hjorleifur Stefansson is an Icelandic storyteller, living and working in Borgarbyggð near Reykjavik.

Andrew Parkinson was born in Orkney in 1968 and studied drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1985 - 1989. He lives and works in Stromness, Orkney.

Tim Chalk lives and works in Edinburgh unmder the name 'Chalkworks'. His studio produces site specific artworks for a wide range of contexts working with, among others, architects designers and museum curators. Over the last year Tim has been exploring sundialling and sun sculptures and this forms the basis of his contribution. Special thanks to "The Cast" for permission to use their recording of "Da Day Dawn" from their album "Green Gold".

John Glenday is a Scottish poet who does not "belong to any school of anything – there is no conscious, theoretical basis behind [his] writing; poetry is simply the best possible medium [he] can find, under the circumstances, for saying what needs saying". John Glenday is the author of two collections. The Apple Ghost won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, and Undark was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation (both Peterloo Poets).

Kim Edgar is a piano/guitar playing songwriter who released "butterflies and broken glass", her compelling debut "urban folk pop" album about the beauty and broken-ness of everyday life in 2008. Nominated Album of the Week twice at Radio Scotland, the album also received critical acclaim in national and regional press.

Andrew Mackenzie was born in Banff, Northeast Scotland, and graduated with an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in 1993. He lives and works in the Scottish Borders. His work has been exhibited extensively. His most recent solo exhibition "Cross-section of a Cascade" showed at Sarah Myerscough Fine Art in London, July 2008. He has another show there in 2010. This year he received a Scottish Arts Council award towards research and development, so is currently spending a lot of time thinking about reservoirs, footbridges and disused quarries.

Artists Involved

Louice Lusby Taylor (Sweden)
Hjorleifur Stefansson (Iceland)
Andrew Parkinson (Orkney)
Tim Chalk (Scotland)
John Glenday (Scotland)
Kim Edgar (Scotland)
Andrew Mackenzie (Scotland)


To view some of the works on this page you need to have the latest Flash or QuickTime players installed.


Download both here:

Flash Player ›

QuickTime Player ›

Louice Lusby Taylor was sent the following images and text to respond to:



strength, solidity, security...uncertainty

a harbour, a haven within an enigmatic framework

Louice Lusby Taylor's response:

0500 general situation, a vigorous depression approaching. ....veering increasing veering increasing.....perhaps


Hjorleifur Stefansson's response to Louice Lusby Taylor's work:

And then the Merman Laughed

Once upon a time, in a little village on the shores of Iceland, there lived a fisherman with his wife. He lived the same way his father had, and his father, waking up early every day to row his boat to the place where his forfathers had fished. There he lowered his line of baited hooks and waited.

This day was no diffrent than all the ones behind him, the weather was beautiful and the sea was calm. After a while on the glittering sea it was time to pull in his line and see the catch of the day. In came the cods, one by one until it was time for the very last hooks on his line. Then, down in the blue, something big began to emerge. "A shark," the fisherman thought happy, for a shark he could sell for a small fortune and who knows, maybe even buy something nice for his pretty young wife. He drew this big shadow closer and closer until he realised that this was no shark! In fact it seemed that he was pulling in a man just like himself! But as he pulled this being in the boat, he soon realised that this was no man, but a merman. Shocked, the fisherman stared for a while until he managed to ask the merman; "what on earth are you doing on my line?" "Well" said the merman, "I was on my mother's roof, fixing her chimney, when one of your hooks caught me and you dragged me to the surface! Now let me go at once, my mother will be worried sick!" But the fisherman paused. You see, he had heard his father speak of the mermen, and from him the fisherman knew that mermen can see things hidden to us humans. So he said to the merman; "you are coming home with me, something tells me you can come in pretty handy." The merman gleered at the fisherman but said nothing and the fisherman headed for home.

They reached the shore beneath the little village in the afternoon and the fisherman pulled his boat ashore. As soon as he turned around to look at his house, his dog came running, as fast as it possibly could, and jumped on the fisherman, barking, drooling, mad with happiness over seeing it's master safe and sound. "Dumb dog!" the fisherman grunted and gave his dog a mighty kick. The dog ran away howling and hurt. Whahahahahaaaa!!! The merman laughed heartly at the fisherman. "What are you laughing about you idiot" cried the fisherman, not to happy about being run down by his dog and then laughed at on top of it! No response, the merman climbed out of the boat and sat down, grinning, on a rock near by. He watched the fisherman gutting and cleaning his catch of the day, not uttering a word.

Finally, when the fisherman was good and ready, he told the merman to follow him home, and the merman obviously had no choice but to follow. They walked through the village and up a little slope that would take them to the doorstep of the fisherman's house. Half way up, the fisherman stumped his toe on a little mound and fell flat on the ground. Whahahahahahahaha!!! The merman walking a few steps behind the fisherman laughed again, even harder this time. The fisherman got up, very mad and with a thing or two to share with this creature laughing at him, when he noticed his wife coming out of his house to great him. He forgot all his troubles there and then, ran up the little hill and in to his wife's open arms. Bwhahahahahahahahaha!!! This time, the merman roared with laughter, so the whole village could hear. "Never mind him," said the fisherman to his young, pretty wife who had eyes like small plates over this creature, "he is acting like a mad man, I have no idea what is wrong with him. I am sure however that he will do us good my dear." In they went, and the wife gave them a warm, good meal, the fire was warm and bright and soon the merman warmed up. "Fisherman" he said, "if you take me out tomorrow, to where you pulled me in, and let me go, I will tell you why I laughed at you." The fisherman who was all soft inside from his home brewed ale and his pretty wife waiting in bed for him agreed, and they shook hands before going to bed.

The following day, the fisherman remembered his promise and did exactly as he had promised, for he was an honest man to the bone. Off they rowed in the first light of the day. When they reached the waters where they had first met, the merman said: "You are a good man fisherman, and now I will tell you why I laughed at you. The first time was when you kicked your dog. No creature alive has ever loved you as that dog, you being it's only master and it's love for you unconditional so kicking it was incredibly stupid. The second time I laughed was when you stumped your toe and fell over, for you see, buried under that mound is a chest of gold which no man but yourself can unearth. As for the third time I laughed, well, let's just say that when the blacksmith comes by, he is stopping a bit longer and going further into your house with your pretty wife than he should be. Now go home and look for something you don't see there every day. And with a splash the merman was gone, leaving the fisherman with enough on his mind. He didn't even bother to fish that day, he just set right off home.

When he reached the shore he saw seven grey cows, the prettiest he had ever seen grasing around his house. He soon noticed a boil on their noses and remembered his father speaking of the sea cows as the best in the world and how to keep them on land. He grabbed a stick off the ground, calmly found his way to one of the cows and burst the boil on her nose. The six left then ran as fast as they could to the shore, jumped in the water and dissapeared into the deep. The one he had caught however followed him home, and curiously watched him unearth what turned out to be a big chest full of gold as the merman had promised. He kicked out his cheating wife (and the blacksmith) and is to my best knowledge still alive, happily married again, well and wealthy, drinking every day the best milk anyone has tasted in Iceland, and not forgetting to give his dog a pet or two, every now and then.

Andrew Parkinson's response to Hjorleifur Stefansson's work:

Yole - Night & Day

Andrew Parkinson

Tim Chalk's response to Andrew Parkinson's work:

Beach Timepiece

John Glenday's response to Tim Chalk's work:

Only a leaf for a sail

Only a leaf for a sail, and before us,
look, the impossible ocean of it all;
squall and storm; lash and flail; the
unnavigable, the hungry, the whole
perfect unstarred bleakness of the
world, as though a dark we feared had
been made real and cold and tidal, and
the lifted green black ragged face of its
hand to pull us, pull us down, and what
chance would you say we had, so
small, only the two, my love. Just me.
Just you. But give us a leaf for a sail,
and suddenly, somehow or other,
everywhere’s possible.

See the poem in PDF format with it's intended layout

Kim Edgar's response to John Glenday's work:

Nothing To Hold Onto

There once was a man who sailed out to sea
In a boat with a leaf for a sail
No anchor to drop
And when the wind blew
He had nothing to hold onto
Nothing to hold onto

The morning he left, all the villagers grieved
For they all knew the power of the sea
And the one he loved best
Stood wringing her hands
Whispering "Winds, blow him back home to me,
Winds, blow him back home to me."

He was taken by the ocean
He gave in to the ocean
He gave himself to the ocean

There's some that would say that he left unprepared
No provisions or charts did he take
But he readied his mind
And leased it from care
For he knew he'd a journey to make
He knew he'd a journey to make

And now he is sailing in waters so rare
Afloat on the beautiful sea
And though they can't see him
They know that he's there
And one day they'll all be so free
One day they'll all be so free

Andrew Mackenzie's response to Kim Edgar's work:

Andrew Mackenzie

Andrew Mackenzie

Andrew Mackenzie

© Heriot Toun Studio 2021 :: All Rights Reserved :: Heriot Toun Farmhouse, Heriot, Midlothian, EH38 5YE

Website by Eskymo New Media Design