The Road to Tobermory

The Road to Tobermory

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'The Road to Tobemory', a mixed media contemporary artwork by Michelle Rumney in the form of a 7-Circuit Labyrinth, Scottish road atlas pages on paper, photo showing a detail view of the artist's finished unframed work

In the second of the labyrinth series, I started with a large scale UK road atlas I’ve had for years. These days my iphone often gets us from A-B, so there’s an element of nostalgia already in using something so antiquated as a paper map.

I was drawn to use the pages I’d never needed – somewhere I’ve never been before – a kind of virtual travel while tracing the path of the labyrinth itself, so I separated out all the pages that showed Scottish roads. Visually these seemed more appealing too, with the vast expanses of highlands and the constant presence of miles of coastline too – lots of greens, blues and soft browns on these particular map pages.

I started with the Goal, which in this case is a collection of islands and some very narrow and winding roads to get there – the only road in and the only road out in reality too, which seems fitting for this labyrinth.

Incidentally, the pattern for this labyrinth dates from 1563 and is a design by Thomas Hull for a garden labyrinth, planted with herbs – they were popular in Elizabethan times. The 7 paths represented the heavens “Earth is placed at the centre, then, moving out, the spheres are the Moon (the fastest), Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (the slowest).”

In tracing the path through this piece, I used mainly by-roads – red roads on the map (no motorways or bypasses!) – which in Scotland rarely have a straight in them – these wind, wiggle and meander all the way creating a lively sort of line. I love the way it dances through the pathways in this labyrinth.

The walls of the paths are in this case all made of sea – there’s an abundance surrounding Scotland. I liked the idea of something as fluid as water acting as the container for the meandering path. The result is quite colourful and at the moment I think the blue of the sea is possibly too dominating, but I need to leave it a while to let it settle – it’s on the wall of the studio at the moment.


The Road to Tobermory was last modified: July 23rd, 2020 by Mi

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