Dorothy Jackson responds to the nature and history of the West Coast of Scotland

LOGO_IYS_en_Print_verticalMembers of Mesh  Artists Collective are dispersed all over Scotland from the Western Isles to the Borders. Each participant in the forthcoming Earthworks Exhibition is working with soil and natural materials in their location, to produce a large scale collaborative installation. All the components will be brought together in the exhibition in at Patriothall Gallery, in Edinburgh, from 25th April to 3rd May.

2-DSCF5441

Dorothy Jackson’s starting point for Earthworks was the peaty soils that are so common in the west coast. She first tried using peat itself, but it proved too heavy and inflexible to make a long hanging. So she worked with purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), the commonest plant of the peat bog on her croft. In winter it forms a tussocks of pale yellow leaves bearing a haze of long flower stalks from the previous summer.

1-DSCF5488

‘I extracted the plant fibres by retting the leaves in water, boiling them with wood ash or washing soda and then breaking up the fibres using a paddlebeater* and a household blender. I poured the fibres suspended in water into a 4.5 m long mould. When the sheet had dried out I lifted it off the mould.’

3-DSCF5639 adj 400dpi-001 (3)

‘To produce this ‘natural’ piece required a large number of mass-produced items, from buckets and bowls to clamps, weighing scales and a blender. The process has made me reflect on the interplay between nature and industry in my art practice. I hope that viewers will nevertheless get a sense of the peaceful simplicity of swathes of purple moor grass swaying in the wind.’

1-P1060730 adj

* thank you to Chrissie Heughan for use of her paddlebeater and technical advice http://www.chrissieheughanpaper.co.uk

For further details of the Earthworks Exhibition please refer to our exhibitions and events page.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s