Seams and Embers, manipulate Festival 2014, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Claire Lamond
Claire Lamond (director/animator/writer/photography/art) Ewan McColl (music), Sylvia McGowan (singer), Mattie Foulds (sound mixing),Anne Miller (costume assistance), Will Anderson (compositing assistance), Kate Charter (foley and smoke)
John Kane, Linda Lawrence, Alistair Moore, Richard Thomson, Tom Young (voices)
Running time

A wee diamond of a film hewn from Scotland’s coal’s history.

Seams and Embers is a beautiful stop motion illusion in textiles and other materials. It shows the life of a young miner Jim, leaving home with his ‘pit buits on’ and heading to the mine with his father and other men to go in the cage to the earth’s bowels. Jim’s mother is left at home to run the domestic side of family life. As the pit wheel ceases to turn, Jim is shown as a dignified old man, feeding his scone to a pigeon on the window sill.

Lamond’s work is subtly political without sloganizing. Her 1/5th size hand- made figures puppets are remarkably human with perfect detail in their costumes like the frayed cuffs of their jerseys and the neatly wrapped snap. On the same principle used by the recent Scottish BAFTA nominee, The Happy Lands, a film about the 1926 miners’ strike in Fife, the voices of real miners were used in the film’s background adding poignant authenticity to the bijou piece.

Scottish film and puppet maker, Claire Lamond, created this utterly beautiful 6 minute film during a 6 month residency at the National Mining Museum Scotland at Newtongrange in 2012 which was created in 1984, the year of the Miner’s Strike whose anniversary it is this year. Lamond’s film was part of the Iconic Artists in Iconic Places project funded by Creative Scotland. It’s showing in this year’s manipulate Festival chimes with the Joe Corrie Project and the re-run of the National Theatre of Scotland’s adaptation of Joe Corrie’s play In Time o Strife that mark aspects of Scottish mining history.

The film, that was a Bafta Scotland (animation) 2013 nominee, was introduced by independent animator Iain Gardner who hosted a 20 minute interview with the exuberant Lamond followed by a q & a session. During this, Lamond cited British animator Suzie Templeton as an influence in her work. Her meticulous eye for detail is a fine salute to a master (mistress?) animator. Lamond is involved in a new project with Fife Cultural Trust that involves a story about WW1: another timeous piece to be anticipated.

8 Feb, 6.05pm