A Scottish Migration

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?

“Born in Greenock, Scotland.” This is the grave stone of one of my ancestors, which I found in the graveyard of an old church in South Carolina, in the U.S.

Neither do I. No idea. Family lore does not seem to record these details. So, I decided to make this documentary film, to discover where our ancestors left from, what it was like there, and why they left. The working title is, “A Scottish Migration – Why They Left.” The focus is on immigration from southern Scotland, south of the Clyde River. Ship building on the Clyde is being looked at, and ships that sailed in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Why did so many people live in southern Scotland, and what was their life like at the time? I will be shooting footage for the documentary at locations around the Clyde River and Renfrewshire, Scotland. I am interviewing Americans of Scottish descent and historians from both countries for the project.

Location of Greenock, Scotland and the Clyde River

In the 1700’s a lot was happening on both sides of the Atlantic. The industrial revolution, George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, and the trade of slaves, cotton, sugar and tobacco. Goods arrived in Scotland on the Clyde river, in the shoreline town of Greenock, or further upstream at Port Glasgow, which was built to be the port for the city of Glasgow. Glasgow is even further upstream, and was unreachable by large ships. Ships left the Clyde river too, carrying Scots, either willingly or unwillingly. Although ships left from ports all around Scotland, the majority left from Greenock.

Migrants did not need a passport in those days. They would leave Britain on a wooden sailing ship, called a “packet ship” and travel in great discomfort for many weeks. The American Revolutionary War slowed migration from Britain around 1775. In the mid 1800’s ships started using steam. Travel across the Atlantic on a “Steamer” was much faster. Migration to the US continued.

Are you of Scottish descent? Would you like to participate in a short interview for A Scottish Migration documentary? If so, call Ellen at 703-328-8046.


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.