Image above: Modules of peat, stacked for the winter in a herringbone pattern. Isle of Lewis. Photograph by Angus Mackintosh. Various sources online.
The process of stacking peat is labour intensive and involves multiple processes. First the turf is sliced off, then the peat is cut using a Tairsgeir – peat iron – the first layer is laid parallel to the bank that is being cut, and subsequent deeper levels are laid on top. A unit of measurement along the peat bank is called a ‘journey’. Once the peat begins to dry they are stacked into small structures to dry before being transported and stacked.
Online image taken from: (https://thewhiskeywash.com/whiskey-styles/scotch-whiskey/getting-know-scotch-whisky-islay-skye/) note: peat is used in the drying/smoking of the barley before distilling.
A peat stack is usually 2 metres high and ranging in width from 4 to 14 metres (http://www.ambaile.org.uk/detail/en/28975/1/EN28975-peat-cutting.htm). They are described as a work of art, and the shape as resembling a croft house or an upturned boat.
This week I have begun working with crank clay and interacting with the samples collected onsite and taking the clay onsite.
All photos Affleck, Lenzie Moss, various dates October.
Clay drying in the Moss.
I took clay to work with on site, I took impressions and pressed leaves and other material into the clay.
I took the clay back to the studio to let it dry enough to stack in a Rudhan – set of 4 peat blocks leaned up against one another such that wind and sun hasten their drying (Gaelic) Pg 44, Peat, turf and earth, Landmarks, MacFarlane Robert.