Yggdrasil revisited…..

Yggdrasil revisited…..

In my final year of university I made ‘Yggdrasil’-a standing stone based on  Norse mythology and after my visit to Orkney.

It stands 132cm high and is a mixed media piece built around a wire frame. The hole is significant- we visited the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness who have a collection of work by Barbara Hepworth including ‘Oval Sculpture’, from 1943.Having also seen her work at the Hepworth in Yorkshire and studied her at university,her use of form remains inspirational to me.

                      ‘Oval Sculpture’, 1943
Margaret Gardiner (1904-2005) ,the founder of the Pier Arts Centre was a close friend of Barbara Hepworth and her second husband Ben Nicholson. Gardiner visited Orkney during the 1950s and established the centre to support art in the islands  and also to act as a venue to display the portion of the private collection she donated.

In the meantime I’ve started researching for my next body of work &  I came across holed stones-in Penzance,Cornwall but also existing in other locations..’Men a Tol’ is derived from the Cornish language meaning ‘stone of hole’….

The circular stone is 12 foot in circumference .There are various speculations & stories including that it may be part of a burial chamber or part of a stone circle.Up until the 18th century the holed stone was said to have curative powers and people passed through the stone to cure rickets, rheumatism and tuberculosis. It was also considered to be an astronomical device for solar cycles and a symbolic site in fertility rites…..

I have a strong feeling that the stones are going to remain important in my work….a case of the rolling stones! 

Information was obtained from the following: www.pierartscentre.com/permanentcollection.html



  • Joe Miller

    Interesting stuff Helen. I wonder if there's any connection with the tradition of camels passing through the eye of needles here? It always seemed to me that metaphor was deeper than it first seems.

  • Helen Acklam

    Hi Joe,I don't know on that issue however my friend who practices alternative therapies explained how important stones were in ancient times as they were used for cleansing water,curative powers because of the vibrations from the stones and earth….Certain stones were therefore placed in positions after dousing the land to find the spot where there would be optimum benefit….

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