A course of study with The Archaeology Institute at Orkney College in 2017 and a subsequent visit to some of Orkney's rich archaeological sites prompted a period of research and exploration into the physical and cultural environment of the Orkney Islands.
Inspired by some of the best preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, this series of books, documents a six month period during which time I worked to develop texture, surface and form through mark-making, mono printing and book making.
Over twenty books were individually and meticulously collaged to encapsulate the light, shape and form of the Orkney landscape and to respond to the timelessness and permanence of place.
Working within a traditional concertina book form, each piece unfolds to reflect a narrative interpretation of place.
A series of screen printed books accompanied the collection which was first shown at the Artists Book Market at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in February 2019.
Each book measures:
Open 8.5 cm x 60 cm
Closed 8.5 cm x 9 cm
Walking has always been integral to my practice. There is a freedom that comes with walking. A clarity of mind open to composing thought in solitude beyond the demands and pressures of the everyday, moving with time as opposed to racing against it. Travelling through the landscape, is an exploration, the only true way to experience an environment. Once the walking body is unwrapped and unlocked, accessible to the wide spaces, it is time to paint. Paintings made after a period of walking are thoughts born of movement , findings, discoveries and transformations.
All the interesting things that occur on a walk are splendours lying in wait, reversals of perspective. It is impossible to be alone when walking, the feel of the ground underfoot and the shape of the hills retrieve the simplicity of presence, awakening inherent recognition. The secret of walking is the availability of mind, mindful of what the senses are experiencing in any environment.
The secret of drawing is looking. Looking reverts the old into the new, the familiar to the unfamiliar. Looking is an acknowledgement, a freedom to see beyond our own horizons.
A walking journey from the village of Iona to St Columba's Bay on the southerly coast of the island.Wax resist, acrylic ink
My practice has involved 'excavating' some of the invisible layers which exist within the places around the area where I live. What's in a place, its archaeology, social history and multiple layers of distinctiveness? What can we find out from the past that can enrich and embellish the present and the future? How can display inform the kinds of relationships that people have with objects and places, and how can these displays provide meaningful and personal connections between people and the communities in which they live?
These are just some of the questions which have driven my practice and which have inspired me to explore the rich diversity of my environment. Imaginary findings from a hypothetical fieldtrip emerged as a result of this exploration. In this book constructed objects take on the form of archaeological artefacts challenging and questioning conventional archaeological roles, posing the question of what we consider to be valuable. In a 'tongue and cheek' challenge of established scientific measures, it is an attempt at offering new dialogues and ways of thinking toward an 'archaeology of the imagination.'