The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick was recently awarded status as the National Marine Centre for Scotland expanding their remit to include wider conservation and education activities exploring marine habitats and wildlife. I was invited to share my seaweed pressings in an exhibition held in their main cafe and gallery celebrating the wider shoreline they inhabit.
The pressings and prints on show were all gathered from the beaches extending either side of the Seabird Centre and from further along the West Beach. The exhibition runs until 26 Jan 2016. Prices range from £125 to £350.
Edge of the Sea exhibition of my original seaweed pressings and new giclee prints opens 3rd Oct and runs until the 30th Oct at Hangar Art Gallery, Fenton Barns, North Berwick, EH39 5BW (tel: 01620 850 946).
I will be at the gallery today, Sat, 3rd Oct from 12 noon – 4pm. Stop by for a glass of wine and see the show!
I have been working on new pieces for two exhibitions in East Lothian this autumn; one at Hangar Framing, Fenton Barns starting 3 Oct and the other at The Scottish Seabird Centre, from 11 Nov – 26th Jan 2016
In the interim, sewing and stitching with friends has encouraged me to look at designs that work across different mediums. One unexpected but inspiring source has been an instructional Chinese watercolour book on how to paint carp. The text is obscure, but the illustrations demonstrate fluid compositions weaving patterns of objects, line and colour, as well as judicious use of whitespace, to create a harmonious whole. Not as easy as it looks.
The translucency of goldfish reminded me of the many late summer leaves of Delesseria sanguinea and Phycodrys rubens that have fallen from the sea recently… and so I have waded in.
I was lucky enough to see the exquisite exhibition of Anna Atkins’ seaweed cyanotypes at the Stills Gallery in Edinburgh in May.
The exhibition’s purpose was to explore the history and art of photography, and the small inner room of the gallery was devoted to a collection of original images from her seminal work British Algae; Cyanotype Impressions (1843), the first book to be illustrated by photography.
Anna Atkins was one of those quite amazing women known affectionately as the Seaweed Sisterhood – a group of both trained and self-taught botanists and phycologists who collectively classified and catalogued the seaweeds of the British coast in the mid-1800’s. Anna, in printing and publishing her book, also established the first use of photography for scientific illustration.
Her cyanotypes are very simple juxtapositions of blue and white, illustrating the shape and form of her botanical collection but with a lovely sense of artistry, harmony and balance. The work goes well beyond a scientific recording and evokes a sense of the aesthetic appreciation so often at the heart of collectors’ work of that era.
I had a go at creating some cyanotypes of my own pressings in a short workshop held in the darkrooms of the gallery. Not in the same league as Anna’s, but a pleasure to experience her process and thinking in creating this wonderful body of work.
This weekend marks the end of my first exhibition at the Gateway Gallery of the RBGE. Many thanks to all at the Botanics, especially curator Kirsty White, who have made this show such a success. A big thank you too to Kate Eden for joining me in our talk on Victorian seaweed collectors on the 13 June, to BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme for their support, and to all those who came along to see the show and wrote lovely comments in the guest book.
Many of the pressings both on paper and in acrylic are now for sale – if you are interested, please send me an email through the Contact page.