In the village of Stanewick, folk love to talk. They love to gossip, to tell tall tales and to help each other … and when they have a problem no-one can solve, they look to the hills. But when they learn to tell the time, Nature has to come to the villagers to sort things out.

The Muckle Stane | Gilly Bridle, Jen Hadfield and Jenny Sturgeon

The work can be viewed on our YouTube, Facebook and Instagram TV channels, and is available to view online until Monday 31 May.

Watch online or see the piece in person at Bonhoga from Wednesday 7 April to Sunday 18 April - book a free ticketed timeslot for the screening at Bonhoga here.

The text is written and narrated by award-winning poet Jen Hadfield, who is interested in how we engage with different kinds of consciousness. The story is inspired by Jen's visit to the Faroes in 2019, and the importance of rocks in the Faroese landscape. People often build sheds and houses right up against immense rocks that have rolled down from the hamars on Faroes steep-sided mountains. What is the relationship like between folk and stone? Geology seems just as eloquent in Shetland, and Jen has been exploring particular named and otherwise charismatic rocks here at home.

The artwork takes the form of handmade light puppets and paper-cut animation by visual artist Gilly Bridle, whose work is synonymous with Shetland and Scandinavian landscapes and people, and who has been developing her live animation practice during lockdown.

The music, written and recorded by Jenny Sturgeon, provides a rich soundscape of melody and song which accompanies the film. The film score also incorporates field recordings made throughout the year in Shetland.

Words and Narration by Jen Hadfield

Paper-cut Illustration made and filmed by Gilly Bridle

Sound Design and Music by Jenny Sturgeon

Film Edited by Sam Wisternoff

Produced by Bridle, Hadfield and Sturgeon

Gilly Bridle is a designer and illustrator who likes to work with paper cut and collage creating bold imagery from her observations living in Scottish Island landscapes. Her home is on a sailing boat in Shetland, where she is inspired from time spent outdoors, sketching and watching. Gilly makes designs for her own range of products, for private and public commissions, and tutors adults in outside sketching workshops, sharing her love of quiet contemplation of environments. She has been experimenting lately with simple paper cut animations and finding connections between Shetland and the Nordic North.Gilly has created designs for the merchandise for the 2018 Shetland Wool week and has illustrated text in this years Shetland Wool week Annual. During lock down she made 4 short films for Shetland Arts to inspire and encourage folk to pick up their pencils and sketchbooks and get outside.

Jen Hadfield lives and writes in Shetland. Her second poetry collection, 'Nigh-No-Place', won the T.S.Eliot Award in 2008. Her next two books have been commissioned by Picador with 'The Stone Age', due out in 2021. The second, 'Storm Pegs' – is a provocative collection of lyrical essays that challenge the preconception of Shetland as 'remote' and explores exactly how we know Place. She helps students of all ages and levels of confidence and experience with their writing, at Glasgow University and currently in collaboration with Who Cares Scotland? where she creatively supports a group of young people to express their experience of the care system. Sometimes finding it hard to speak herself, she is committed to helping people write like they speak, believing that 'all livin language is sacred.' She is equally curious about what the wild world would tell us, if we could only listen.

Follow Jen on Twitter

Jenny Sturgeon is a Shetland based singer-songwriter whose music is rich with imagery and bound together by common threads of folklore, nature and the connection people have with the wild. She was recently nominated in Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2020 Best Acoustic category and in 2018 was nominated as Composer Of The Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards. Jenny's music has been played on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio 3, Radio 6, Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio Nan Gaidheal and STV news. Her song 'Charmer' was featured at number 9 of The Herald's best 100 songs of 2018. Jenny writes and performs in the critically acclaimed alt-folk band Salt House, in the audio-visual bird inspired project, Northern Flyway described as "like watching a David Attenborough documentary but with awesome music!". Jenny's most recent project is the audio-visual piece 'The Living Mountain' - inspired by Nan Shepherd's book of the same name.

Image credit: Gilly Bridle