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‘Biodoodle’ this Christmas

Alice Mullay and Emma Perring at last month's Back from Beyond launch concert at Mareel.

ISLANDERS are being encouraged to brave the winter weather by taking to the great outdoors and making a “spontaneous creation” over the festive period.

It is part of the Back from Beyond project, run by Alice Mullay and Emma Perring, which is aimed at encouraging people to draw artistic inspiration from visiting some of Shetland’s most scenic areas.

They want people to embrace the concept of “BioDoodling” – which could encompass “a pattern in the sand, a sculpture made of grass, an arrangement of driftwood, a tower of plastic bottles…whatever you find yourself doing”.

Perring said Boxing Day was “an ideal time to get out and about after the indulgences of Christmas” – and, thanks to sponsorship from The Camera Centre, there is a carrot in the form of a free canvas print of their creation for one lucky “BioDoodler”.

To take part your creation must be made between Boxing Day and 1 January, photographed and then submitted via email to backfrombeyondshetland@gmail.com

The wider Back from Beyond project, funded by Scottish Natural Heritage as part of the Year of Natural Scotland, was launched with a concert at Mareel in November.

Fair Isle is one of eight locations included in the project.

It aims to encourage people to explore some of the islands’ many spectacular and remote landscapes and, if you are suitably inspired by the experience, create something new. Locations include Noss, Hermaness, Muckle Roe, Foula, Fair Isle, the South West Mainland, Eshaness and Fethaland.

Last month’s concert showed off the fruits of bringing musicians, groups and poets from various backgrounds and ages to eight of the isles’ most scenic locations. From that spawned new pieces of music, songs and poetry, which were then recorded, mixed and mastered at Mareel – with photographs and video used to complement each piece.

Among those taking part were The Revellers, who recorded their track Lower the Rope at Hermaness, Da Shanty Yellmen, Freda Leask, and writers Laureen Johnson and Paulo Ritch.

Perring said she was encouraged by the “organic, word of mouth” manner in which people have welcomed the project – its website receiving over 2,000 hits in only a fortnight.

She thanked those who had been involved in last month’s concert, several of whom talked of enjoying the “expanse of clear thought” provided by getting outdoors.

Perring hopes that Back from Beyond might unearth “some incredibly creative people who’ve never had the opportunity” to express themselves artistically.

Elements of the project are to be featured at the Glasgow Film Festival on 22 February.

• To learn more about “BioDoodling”, and about concept behind Back from Beyond, visit www.backfrombeyond.org