Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Door is Wide Open


It has been a long time since I blogged about my professional life.  I will now take this nugget of time to get you all up to speed.

After a long 4 years at college I graduated after finishing my Scottish Identity class where I spent a month traveling the country learning about the people, their culture, national identity, and personal drive.  I learned many things about how people (myself included) attach themselves to a culture, idea, or country.

On a personal level being Scottish myself I wondered where my family was from or what it would be like if my family had never left.  I'd like to explore making artwork that explores the concept of loss of speech and identity.  I can recall visiting Sabhal Mor Ostaig (a Gaelic speaking college) and I felt removed because even though my heritage places my family there I have no tongue to speak it.  I was removed from my own land and that because I didn't speak it and I didn't belong there.

When growing up I felt the same way with people who spoke Finnish in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (UP). (where I'm from)  They had a home language to speak with family and friends and you just feel like an alien from a different country who looked different and couldn't speak their language.  I felt like such an outsider to a culture I couldn't tap into because of a language barrier.

At Sabhal Mor Ostaig I felt just as removed and that same isolated feeling that I had as a kid.  I tried so hard to speak it, my tongue felt like it had lost all ability and my frustrations with the language swelled.  They told me that the language wasn't like English or German (a language I dabbled in at college).  In addition it would take years to understand it.  I put it on my long list of things I need to explore more.

A excellent book I found at the Scottish record office in Edinburgh relates to this.  It's called 'Glencoe and the Indians' it's about American Indians and the Scottish.  I feel a strong connection to the displacement in this book because of the Scots being removed form the Highlands in the Sutherland Clearances and a displacement of Indians in America in relation to the cultural displacement in my life.  I suspect my family to be removed from the Highlands and my own suspicions of Native American in my blood.

Venture to even further connect the displacement feeling to the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.  As a Yooper going to school downstate I have encountered people who maliciously insult my culture as a Yooper.  Examples are: Why don't you crawl back across the border? or  Don't you marry your own cousins up there?  Although I will never forget, You have running water up there?  The Upper Peninsula in Michigan is viewed as England views Scotland.

I envision a typographic related graphic creation on an image of Sabhal Mor Ostaig about feeling displaced.  Even though you are in a place you are disconnected because of a language barrier.  You can travel thousands of miles to get to a place and you should understand because it's in your blood but everything's in a foreign language.

In other realms of life I got a job with AmeriCorps VISTA at Lansing's Mid-Michigan branch of Junior Achievement this past November.  Junior Achievement is program that promotes financial literacy in public school in classrooms K-12.

Being in Lansing has and will help me connect with getting more work related to my field.  I am very much looking forward to it.  As for right now I'd like to keep the craft a live by creating logos or brands for non-profits free of charge. (because I am unable to make any kind of wage in VISTA)  This would be a time for great experience and help work on my portfolio.  For now I have a million concepts to work with and now it's time to focusing in and making a exciting project.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

So many things

So as many of you know that I am over in Scotland currently. My stay has been quite enjoyable. As of yet we have stayed in the following places: Berwick, Stonehaven, and now Dunkeld (though just for the evening). The wireless signal has been weak in most parts of this country (which is why I haven't blogged near as much as I would have or rather should have.

We've studied many things including themes of place, belonging, and a enriched resonance of spirit. The sights are inspiring and breath-taking. There are so many things to see and pictures do not capture this place. I feel like taking pictures is almost an insult to the landscape: trying to capture this epic place with my lens. The colors don't speak as well, you can't smell the salty air of the North Sea in the Mearns. Or the electric life of Berwick which has a large town feel with a small town mentality.

Puzzles of Scotland's past speak loudly around every corner, every bend has something to offer you. You touch the ground and you hear the voices of so many peoples come and gone. Standing Stones, Castle ruins, hidden ebbs and flows of the land. Think too quickly and you may just miss a cathedral that Lewis Grassic Gibbon is buried at (along with many a Cruickshank). I wish I could bottle this and give it to my mother: the ultimate mother's day gift of a lifetime.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cruickshanks of the Past

You are never going to believe what I've found. Birth records, death records, marriage records, immigrant records, of my great-great grandfather Edward F. Cruickshank. His son, Edward W. Cruickshank, his son Albert Cruickshank, who is my grandfather.

I found that he was born in Toronto, Canada. He lived in Midland, MI and was buried in Beaverton, MI with a lot of my other relatives. The trail ends here for now because the obituary I've found doesn't say who his parents were. I have many leads that he may have come from Nova Scotia and that his ancestors are buried in St. Andrew's United Church Cemetery in Elderbank (Formerly Little River). From there I've found on that there are 1,500 other Cruickshanks (with various spellings, ex: Crwikschank) this is a website calling all Cruickshanks!

On there is an article I found that there were many Cruickshanks in Nova Scotia... as said the listings at the cemetery there in Elderbank. It makes sense because Nova Scotia stands for New Scotland. I can access the passenger lists from Scotland to Nova Scotia but until I can find someone I'm related to I'll just bookmark that tool. (On a side note I did find there is Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. This makes me feel like being an artist was something more then what I was called to do but something I was meant to do. Imagine that they have a MFA program for what I would like to do. There's a thought!)

On a slightly different topic, Cruickshank belongs to the Clan of Steward. This clan has 7 kings of scotland making it the House of Steward, this is the longest house in rule over Scotland until the birth of Mary Queen of Scots. (And I'm geeked because I know who that is cause I own the Elizabethan movies with

Cate Blanchett). I keep trudging forward, there are still so many things I have yet to explore before I leave this Friday to go over there. Yay, royalty and clansmen!

More to come and keeping you posted,

A. Cruickshank

Friday, March 25, 2011

A. Cruickshank Design

Hello Readers,

As of yet I have linked my professional artists website: to this blog. I am transforming this blog into less of a personal space for things and more of a place for what I create. This will still include my poetry but also new projects I am working on. I will also include photos.

I would also like to take this time to announce the opening reception to my senior show in the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery on Alma College's campus. It it's April 9th (my birthday) 2-4pm. You should come there will be refreshments, yummy refreshments.

April 7th is also Honors Day on Alma's campus, there aren't any classes. The day is filled presentations by students. I present twice on that day. Once for senior show, where I will give a talk about my work. The second time being for Pine River Anthology which is a publication by the college that me and the other student graphic designers work on in conjunction with the english department. This year our theme is Pinion, which means feather, gear, and wing.

I'll keep you posted as the date comes closer to graduation.