Dear Beltane is a project born out of a yearning for the sharing of stories and memories that is so much part of the Beltane Fire Festival. While we can’t share these stories in person, taking time to sit down and write them out offers a different kind of connection. Writing a physical letter in today’s world, dominated by electronic communication, makes it a physical manifestation of care, and to find one in your letterbox or by your door breaks up the monotony of days spent in lockdown. With this project we hope to restore a sense of physicality, community and history, to celebrate the places that are important to us, and each other.
Now the results of it are displayed in two ways: A digital exhibition to scroll and explore, and a physical map embroidered with all the spots marked by participants, to be kept in the BFS archives.
Participants who signed up to this project received a package each containing two postcards, one to return to us with a memory of a Beltane past, and one to send onwards to another person, to keep the line of postal joy going. The postcards feature a hand-drawn design of Calton Hill, on which people could mark the place that their memory referred to.
These letters went out to six different countries all across the world, and (much credit to all postal services) over 20 returned within three weeks.
Since this project has a very deliberate physical aspect, it was important to us to create an appropriate storage and display solution. The cards are now safely wrapped in a piece of canvas and are stored in a box together, with space for future expansion if that becomes desirable. The canvas also expands into a larger map, embroidered with the symbols people chose to represent their memories, for a tactile exploration option.
A plain text version of the postcards can be found HERE.