I really should update the website more often. Perhaps I’m just not so good of a self-publicist? However…
This month sees the premiere, during Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, of Flotsam. Flotsam is a film submitted under the Ebb Tide Project: a venture between Shetland Moving Image Archive, Shetland Arts Development Agency and the Shetland Heritage Association. Its remit:
…to commission a series of films to be screened from 19th to 25th July on the Tall Ship “Glenlee”, at Riverside in Glasgow. This approach will tie in with the connections between Shetland, Glasgow and the Commonwealth countries.
Glasgow was once the seat of shipbuilding, and many of the ships built on the Clyde took Shetlanders all over the world, many to Commonwealth Countries. Men returned to Shetland with exciting tales and wondrous artefacts and some of these artefacts are held by heritage groups around Shetland.
The project sets out to use old stories of far travelled folk to inspire new film making. A commissioning brief for local film makers will be developed by Shetland Arts to create a number of contemporary short film; these will be creative pieces of film-making, inspired by stories, journeys, imagery and artefacts.
Flotsam’s selected artefact is a Skovi Kapp.
A Skovi Kapp was a Shetland name for a particular kind of bowl. The bowls were decorative objects, originally from Russia. i.e. Muscovy bowls, but also other countries accessible by boat from Shetland. They were made of wood, usually with a floral motif painted in black and red and were lacquered or varnished, and were brought as gifts.It is not known when the bowl ceased to be a decorative item and became a supernatural implement but it is said that witches used the Skovi Kapp in ritual to sink boats at sea, summoning a swell to capsize the vessel.
The last witch accusations in Shetland were Barbara Tulloch and her daughter Ellen. They were burned in the 1700’s in Scalloway.
The film shows a re-enactment of how a witch may have used a Skovi Kapp bowl and a suggestion of the fate of the person uncovered using such an artefact. One possible motivation for wrecking a vessel would be to obtain its cargo, hence the title of the film, ‘Flotsam’.