Why They Left: A Scottish Migration

See the Film website:   scottishmigration-film.com

Are you an American of Scottish descent? If so, do you know where your ancestors landed when they immigrated to the United States? What port of entry? Do you know what ship they came over on? How about where they left from? Do you know which port it was in Britain?

“Why They Left: A Scottish Migration” is a documentary film that tells the story of the first large group to migrate to the United States, the Scots.

Most people think of the romantic Highlands as the place our ancestors came from. And many did. But the purpose of this documentary is to explore where the majority of Scots migrated from – the Lowlands of Scotland. Most Americans of Scottish descent don’t know where their ancestors came from, why they left, and on what ship and where they arrived. These details have been lost to the generations. This film tells why the Scottish Lowlands became so crowded, and what life was like there. The reasons that caused people to leave everything they knew, climb aboard a crowded and dirty ship, and sail in unspeakable squalor for many weeks to start a new life, penniless, in an unforgiving land.

One man, William Gregory, left his family’s rug weaving factory in Kilmarnock in 1807. He boarded a wooden sailing packet ship and sailed to Alexandria, Virgina. The house he raised his large family in stands in Alexandria today. This film tells the story of how William overcame fever epidemics, the war of 1812, and the civil war, and became a leading citizen in Alexandria, while regularly visiting his home town of Kilmarnock to oversee the import of the factory’s rugs to Alexandria.

Ellen Hamilton shows us port cities of Port Glasgow and Greenock, nestled in the beautiful scenery of the River Clyde, where so many people left from, never to return. The busy Ocean Terminal port in Greenock has changed since the late 1700’s, but it is still a vibrant port today for shipping containers and tourist ships.

Hamilton interviews the Scottish author Derek Alexander in the 600 year old, beautifully preserved Newark Castle, by the River Clyde, to learn about how how that area became a major seaport for Glasgow.

Lance Malamo, head of the Office of Historic Alexandria talks about how Alexandria started out as an important seaport town and place where Scottish migrants started their lives in America. Americans of Scottish descent are interviewed, to find out how much they know of their family’s past.

Map of Scotland



Christmas Hannukah Video

The Yellow Dot Christmas Hannukah video is done and up!
This year, I got a high definition video camera. So, for the holiday video I thought it would be fun to include some comments from some of the people who I have been working with lately.
This video includes an animation which I created using software for 3d animation. The 10 seconds of the animation took 11 hours to render!
Let me introduce you to some people I know. Click on the video to hear their own and varied holiday messages!

New Ad

This the ad I created for the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting pamphlet. I’m looking forward to the annual breakfast meeting on December 6th.

December 6th also happens to be “Nikolaus Tag” in Germany, or “Saint Nicholas Day” where the kids go trick or treating, and get goodies in their sock that morning, supposedly put there by Saint Nick. Sounds familiar.

I am offering to create motion graphics holiday emails for people or businesses, for a unique, personalized greeting. The art could also be used for printed holiday cards too.

Yellow Dot Designs: Print - Web - Video

Holiday Market Video

Here’s the promotional video for the Holiday Market of Del Ray Artisans:

This is using the illustration that I did for the card mailer. For the video, I animated the illustration slightly, using a camera placed in 3d space (although the illustration is 2d), I zoomed in on a curve to the front door. Then I used still images with slow zooms. I did a color change animation to Christmas Tree lights. Video is a great way to get the word out about an event. With YouTube you can posts links to the video in all your social media, blogs and website. YouTube allows for great search-ability, since it lets you put keywords in with the video, that helps people find it when searching the internet.

The market is this December for 3 weekends this year, on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria.

First Interview Video Up!

With the thought of creating a video for a nonprofit organization, I called Street Sense in Washington, DC, to see if they would be interested in collaborating on a video. They don’t know me and said they’d rather create their own branded videos. So I figured I could create a video and see if they would be interested once they saw it. So this Summer I approached the man I saw every week at the Del Ray Farmers Market, selling Street Sense, and asked if he would be interested in a documentary video being done about him. I found out his name is Wendell, and he enthusiastically accepted.

I went straight to Margaret Kennedy of Old Town Productions, who used to work as a “1-woman-band” video reporter for VOA Television doing international work. Margaret helped with the interview, and taught me how to transcribe the interview, and create a script. She did the interview while I held the camera. I worked with Wendell on the wording for the intro text, and he asked if we could mention his GoFundme page and his public speaking. It seemed like a great way to get Wendell’s word out on those things so I helped get the GoFundme page launched, and Wendell is now hopefully becoming famous!

Holiday Mailer

I’ve been so pleased to do some projects for the Del Ray Artisans. This is a group that I was involved with when they first started out in the early 90’s. I had just moved to Alexandria, and it was a great way to meet people in the neighborhood. Since they started, the group has grown so much. I recently helped out with the new website, and was amazed at how many programs and offerings they have.Postcard Mailer for a Holiday Market

Here is the design for this year’s Holiday Market over at the Colisanto Center on Mount Vernon Avenue. Every¬† year they have wonderful hand-crafted items for sale by local artists. This is a two sided card that will be mailed out and distributed widely to promote the event. The new website that I helped their Technology Director Dawn Wyse Hurto produce is delrayartisans.org.

For this card I did an illustration of the Del Ray Artisans building, and a rough sketch of how it sits at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue. They’ve been putting up a Christmas tree at the intersection, so I had to add that. The title on the card is hand-inked and scanned into the computer.


Book Cover Design

This book cover was designed for a book of poetry by Catherine Jagoe, for Settlement House publishers. Catherine is from England and many of her poems describe places that I had recently visited in Britain! I worked closely with Larry Moffi of Settlement House and came up with, I think, a striking design.

Book Cover Design by Ellen Hamilton

Charts and Graphs

Yellow Dot Designs has been busy working on a large project involving creating many graphs and charts using the data. The power of software is amazing. Mastering the capabilities of any program really helps project go quickly and easily! I’ve been working on pie charts, bar charts, scatter graphs and radar graphs. All designed to work together in a large publication.

Sample line and scatter graph combined

Ellen’s Christmas Video for 2015

Here is a short 43 second animation which took me many weeks to do – I think I started in … October? November? I started with a tree illustration, which I made 3d using 3d software called Cinema 4d. I added 3 lights, one being sunlight. I tried to keep the background dark, so the ornaments would glow. I spent about 2 weeks fiddling with the glow and luminance and reflectance of the ornaments.
Then I decided it might be easier to make my own music, rather than trying to find free music online. A week or two later… Though the music is far from perfect, it actually took many re-do’s. I only have very basic tools – just my computer keyboard really. My parents helped me remember how to read the music. The electronic versions of instruments that I used were a Steinway Grand piano, a “pop flute” and a regular flute played with lower notes than a real flute could actually do. But I liked the sound it made.
Well, here it is.