- Installation (mixed media)
The work consists of three distinct elements:
broken wings - mono-prints on paper
(Somerset Satin) Size 56cm x 76cm.
nevermore - a quilt of feathers
(cotton, thread, goose feathers) Size 300cm x 150cm.
empty nests 4 x found bird’s nest
(moss, sticks, grass and various other natural materials) sizes: smallest nest 8cm diameter, largest nest 45cm diameter.
The raven is often associated with death; as a harbinger of tragic news, a foreteller of loss to come. In Poe’s tale The Raven, the bird symbolises the narrator’s grief and memories of his lost love Lenore who has recently died. In my take on Poe’s story ‘the lost Lenore’ is nature - the world we live in, the earth and air we both depend on and paradoxically take for granted.
The birds’ nests are from a forest in North Karelia in Finland where I stay every summer. This seemingly remote, peaceful sanctuary is a locus of transient movement, functioning as a quick resting place for many as well as a short time home for others who migrate there from different places and ecologies. Migratory birds arrive every spring to make their temporary homes and by doing so connect the forest with many different corners of the world. Their nests are magical architectural creations, each unique to their own species. These exquisite creations are abandoned by the end of the summer and raise questions about the temporality of home and its endurance. When looking at the empty nest one cannot but wonder about what happened there, who lived there, where are they now and how they are living.
This quilt of feathers is a real labour of love and was made in collaboration with my identical twin mums. (My mum has an identical twin sister who has always been like another mother to me). The quilt consists of thousands of feathers hand stitched onto cotton, creating an exquisite talisman of protection, love and hope.
I have used a common fashion accessory, the feather boa to symbolise the ecological crisis our world is facing and the hubris of humankind in the face of this. The images depict the feather boa suspended in flight either soaring through the sky exhilarated by the beauty of flight or falling, feathers scattering around anticipating inevitable destruction.
In these images the feather boa also leads the mind to contemplate ecological catastrophes – of birds covered in oil, their feathers stuck together…