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All at Sea



I walk the tide lines of Broulee Island with journal and camera in hand, following the mollusc tracks across the rock platforms, mapping the watermarks and erosion lines. I get lost in the tiny details, a constellation of patterns, texture and line. I collect kelp holdfasts on the beach and take them home to float around my studio. Often, the smaller round holdfasts look like little faces with large round mouths, screaming for attention. They have come unstuck, tossed about in high seas and washed ashore. A metaphor for the relationship most of us have with own environment: untethered, disconnected. In a rock pool on the north side of the Island I found a small shard of broken china. It’s surface covered with crazing lines, weathered with an age of saltwater. These lines mirror the patterning on our skin and echo the watermarks on the rock platforms around the Island. I began embroidering this pattern into my work a few years ago, unconscious of the link to skin or china. It referenced nets and vectors, a way of connecting microscopic forms. Funny how things come full circle…. Pardon the pun! As for circles, they reference the moon - mother of tides, a clock face, a compass, a mirror. We are Narcissus looking down at our own reflection; too busy to notice the ripples of change we create in the environment around us, either oblivious or bewildered by the control we have, or don’t have, over our own future. Anna Atkins, an English Botanist, created the first Cyanotypes of British seaweeds and I have come to love the idea of the blueprint in all its connotations. A plan or model for others, a design or technical drawing, which for me creates a conversation across time with another woman, a scientist, mapping her environment, making sense of her world.

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