Having been in residence at Torquay Museums Natural History stores each week for the past three months, the show ‘In the Red – Nature in the Balance’ is now open every day (apart from Sundays) until September 3rd. I’m showing a range of new work in response to both the Victorian collection of taxidermy birds and the updated red list which now contains 52 birds, some of them so common it’s shocking to see them now classed as under threat. Birds such as the Herring Gull, the Sparrow, the Starling and the local Cirl Bunting are all now seen as being at risk. Exploring folklore, common names and stories about the birds as well as creating two new ‘tableaux’ with some of the original stuffed birds, I also created two new large drawings on gesso and a collection of photographs called ‘The Daughter Series’.
I’ve been visiting the museum once a week for the past five weeks and have worked out that in their natural history stores they have about 80% of the birds from the RSPB red list.
I’ve given myself a deadline to finish 52 sketches of the birds on the list by the time I’m installing work at the museum for the show which will open mid July. What I’ve noticed is how much better the drawings are when they’re from a real, albeit dead, bird. There are stunning things in the collection – drawers full of eggs, shelves full of stuffed birds and shells, coral, beetles and butterflies. To find out more read my blog at: http://www.torquay-residency.ghost.io
Having struggled to join the online world, a good friend has helped make this website which will evolve over the coming months to include regular posting about various new projects which are brewing for me during 2014.
[Reposted from the Flete Newsletter]
It’s that time of year again when artists all over Devon invite people into their studios for the Devon Open Studios event. I am taking part again this year and will be opening the Game Larder over the two middle weekends of September (for more information see below). It’s really like a pub crawl, only with creative stuff and tea instead; but it functions in many great ways, least of which is to have new places to visit and journey’s to take through the increasingly autumnal landscape.
There are some problems that come with working mostly with organic materials.
This morning I realised that as usual, my drawers of feathers gathered over the years have had some winter residents. My heart sinks each time I open a drawer to find the feathers lightly stuck together. And every time it happens I fail to get mothballs, which I have an instinct might help.
I’ve started gathering material for a new collaborative project. With the weather and storms in the last few months, there’s been an epic amount of detritus, flotsam and jetsam, drift wood, blowing up onto beaches. I always collect waste materials anyway, but now I will need to make even more of an effort and gather larger quantities in the coming months.
I have never really had that much love of fungi apart from loving to eat them. Then during the Masters in Arts and Ecology at Dartington college of art I met and worked with Dr. Christian Taylor, a mycologist and experienced leader of fungal forays, and together with my kids discovered a real admiration for these strange beings, to the extent that I’d like to start a fan club.
Staying with a wonderful family in Broome we learnt about Bower Birds, medicinal plants and a blockade attempting to stop a mining company exploiting some pristine land just North of the town. On our way up to Cape Leveque, an Aborigine-owned wilderness camp, we stopped and talked to the protesters and two bored kids were pleased to meet and play with our two. Driving on deep sand for 100kms we went through bush fires to reach the camp – so worth it, with phosperesence in the ocean at night and Treasure Island readings by the fire.