The Isle of Man is the only entire nation to boast UNESCO Biosphere status, reflecting it is a special place for people and nature. In our regular feature, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Jo Lewy writes:
The Isle of Man is the most beautiful place on earth, full of magic and wonder.
The rolling countryside meeting the glistening sea, the mysterious ancient monuments and breathtaking scenery are overwhelming and the famously welcoming community and quirky humour of its people always make me smile.
When returning from a trip I am always flooded with emotions as the Island comes into sight and I always find myself thinking of (and often humming) ‘My own dear Ellan Vannin.’
The Isle of Man was a feature of my childhood, as my parents met here on holiday in 1949, but, despite their love for the Island, we never visited as a family.
After their deaths, I became fascinated by their stories and determined to visit the place where their story began.
Little did I know that from the moment the plane landed at Ronaldsway the island would capture my heart and result in my moving to the island permanently and making it my home.
I am an artist and make narrative pots detailing stories of this glorious island and its fascinating people. I find humour in everything and also paint (mainly whimsical) scenes of the island and its very quirky nature.
The cottage is one of the last surviving Quarterland farmhouses in the island and while officially it dates back to the 1700s, there is thought to have been a dwelling on the site since the 1100s, so the sense of history pervades the cottage and visitors always comment on the magical feeling within its thick stone walls, sensing those who have lived there in former times.
Although I work alone in my studio at Grenaby I am surrounded by a wonderful community of fellow artists who are my ‘Grenaby family’.
I have so many favourite places on the Island: Bradda Head and Port Erin and, of course, the Bayr Ny Skeddan, the ‘Herring Trail’, which I have recently populated with ceramic herring waymarkers as part of the Silverburn Art Trail.
Ultimately, though, my very favourite place on this glorious island is my ancient cottage studio where I create my ‘weird and wonderful’ pots and paintings, most of them inspired by the island and its incredible wildlife. There’s always a cheeky Loaghtan or a funny seagull featuring in my work.
I am a member of the Isle of Man Creative Network of 70 artists. It is a wonderful group, and it organises exciting events for the island including the Isle of Man Art Festival in August and an exhibition at the Manx Museum called ‘Home’. We have recently created the Creative network virtual gallery on facebook.
We are all so lucky to live on this glorious island, where we can breathe the beautiful fresh air and appreciate the wonderful purity of its landscape and wildlife.
It is only fitting that we are a Biosphere nation and I only hope that future generations can appreciate and safeguard this status for our children and grandchildren…and their children.