100 Day Project Exhibition. ‘Birds off the Wire’ 2017. TENT Gallery, ECA, Edinburgh.

GIF animation made up of still taken of swallows in flight. Braevallich 2017.

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Swallowdip GIF
GIF animation of swallow diving and drinking from the pool in Corfu.

Cailleach. Painting on cow skull. 2017.


I found a near-bare cow skull in a bog near here around 3 years ago. Since then it has bleached out nicely in the garden. A shout out from the Edinburgh Beltane crew inspired this take on the Cailleach, to perhaps become part of a poster advertising their Samhuinn Fire Festival.

'Callileach' painted cow skull. 2017



Seeing between the branches.2017.


For a long while now I have been looking for ‘giants’ in the landscape towards a ‘vision’ project I am nursing.
During this time ‘looking’ I began to see many characters in the tree photographs (Treeinspired post) I was taking.
I photocopied background photographs onto cartridge paper and attempted to draw out what I could see. Great fun! In these first plays I used charcoal and pastel, fixed and altered by application of linseed oil. These are mixed mediums I am currently obsessed with and the intended medium for a future ‘Land Giant’ series that still lurks, unexpressed, in the back of my mind!

I found these mediums clumsy and unsastisfying on this scale, so have re-drawn/extended this series as A5 nib pen and indian ink. These are unfinished as I am delaying taking water to the photocopies. I know that I can, in theory, move the photocopy ink and create a wash effect, but am waiting for the right time and head space!


It really is not nothing.


My eyes tried to follow you,

Until I was dizzy with turning.

Cadences of expert flight.

Weaving and flipping. Spinning and stalling.

Scimitar wings slicing through the air

Chattering, through out it all, as if it was, really, nothing.




It was nearly impossible with my hand-held, basic , digital camera to ‘catch’ good images of swallows in flight. So I ended up taking 100s of full shots and then zooming in later in Adobe Photoshop and editing the tiny crops into a set of images.
The blurry exposure this gives the images seems to work quite satisfyingly. I experimented with home printing onto watercolour paper and am pleased with the small, monochrome cards I ended up with.

Watercolour paper flight cards. 60 x 80 mm.Watercolour paper flight cards. 60 x 80 mm.

All this ‘swallowing’ has been inspired by my decision to join the 100 days project. a NZ based project that inspired an artist in Edinburgh to see who else would like to exhibit their end product, in Edinburgh, in September. Yay, something real to work towards!

I enjoyed the idea of committing to one small, creative, discipline every day and wanted to find a way to use up some of my ‘collected’ materials.

A year ago I was playing around with turning recycled, pizza, trays (we have two boys, so I have collected ALOT of these over the years!). The process was fascinating and unpredictable and I ended up with a fun collection of ‘shrinky-dinks’ and a mock-up for a mobile.

Then I found out about how toxic styrofoam is and the gases that are released on heating in this way! I ditched the idea.

But the trays are still there. They never biodegrade in refill sites. There are no local recycling options. At least half the fumes are released from the Sharpie pens I used to colour these experiments! I drive a car and my husband is a mechanic. I still use my car despite being in full knowledge of all the toxic chemicals involved in the motor trade. I accept that this process harms the environment, but , in balance, feel that this small harm is nothing to the harm being done in this wall building, people damming world outside. And it will become something more than rubbish.

That people  have become little more than ‘waste’ in todays world is something that haunts me daily and I do my best to support all actions attempting to support refugees in this humanitarian disaster.

When I considered this project I recieved a clear vision of an installation/scupture piece, which could be displayed in very many ways, using wire and hundreds of these small swallows.

I have been searching for a way to deal with the immigration crisis for a while now, as it affects me deeply. Not one for producing overtly political art (although I have always admired it) this idea seems to keep on giving!

I will spend some other studio time playing within the entire theme of ‘Migration’.

Proceeding to play with this concept has now inspired a new poem and another piece I am considering using as the basis for an entry to a major competition. Deadline in 2 days. So much to do so little time!

Time to make like a swallow!