Alternative Realities ran at the Academy Galleries in Elgin in February, featuring a range of work, from film and painting to installation and sculpture. I showed a piece inspired by Whooper swan migration between Scotland and Iceland - combining ceramic, wood, wire, textile, sound and light - and entitled The Crossing (800 miles).
The piece is designed so that the netted and knitted natural fibres of the hanging cast moving shadows onto the wall and onto the half-concealed hanging porcelain vessels. Ceramic shapes on the ground make reference to the nest as a place rooted in the swan's memory. I like the way the piece takes on a life of its own as it moves.
It is poorly understood how Whooper swans navigate across the ocean. It is likely they use magnetic, star and sun compasses, wind direction and, when nearing the end of the journey, smell. It is believed they have to observe the starry sky and its rotation during their early life in order to develop the awareness they need. Each swan is able to find its way back to the precise place where its life began.
The Crossing (800 Miles) comes from watching whoopers in Iceland and Scotland.
It is inspired by the sensory awareness required for the long sea crossing, and the ways in which our own senses connect us. It includes knitted and netted textile and stones from both landfalls - Iceland and Scotland.