Is this the beginnings of a eulogy for the ash?

somewhere nowhere blog

The ashtree growing in the corner of the garden was felled. It was lopped first. I heard the sound and looking out and seeing it maimed there came at that moment a great pang and I wished to die and not to see the inscapes of the world destroyed any more.

Gerard Manley Hopkins from Journals and Notebooks, (Excerpts)*

Split ash, CockermouthYou only need to read the first brutal sentence of this small paragraph to begin to feel a sadness. A familiar tree, seen day after day for year upon year, felled. While still growing.

Reading this short paragraph instantly brought to mind the coming decimation of the ash population in the UK. It’s true that the future can’t be predicted, and it’s not clear just how long the trees may take to die, or how many may escape the illness. In a conversation with a tree specialist last week, we heard…

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Full Spaces


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There is a stillness that belies the fluttering of broken wings.

Travel to Riga in Latvia between 26 March and 31 May and you will be able to experience an extraordinary exhibition at the Stradins Museum.

poster Riga

Fabrica Vitae and

A touring exhibition about the fabric of life inspired by Andreas Vesalius 1514-1564

The exhibition aims to question what we consider the role of Art and Anatomy to be today by reflecting how it is perceived now and its possible path in the future.  Five hundred years ago Vesalius was at the vanguard of anatomical research – Fabrica Vitae evokes his spirit in pushing the barriers wide open to examine new frontiers.

For the exhibition, Alternative Perspectives: Genius Loci (fly), was selected for inclusion in the Stradins Museum venue. 


Paradoxical interconnectedness: Alternative Perspectives: Genius Loci (Musca domestica) contemplates a fractured reality where the relationship between the natural world and the anthropocentric compass reveals a dishevelled mourning. The housefly’s compound eye forms the corporeal structure for housing a window in which the planes of light and perspective are confused.

The duality of being: where science and art informs and nurtures our quest for expansion to the physical and metaphysical worlds that we inhabit, whilst the magnitude and monumental narrative of the planet ignites wonder, yet conversely, endows a sense of insignificance to mortal man.

Digital photomontage printed on aluminium

500 x 500mm

Open Ears

somewhere nowhere blog

The sound of the curlew’s song looping in the cool air was a cause for celebration last week. And then the sight of its familiar inverted ‘W’, wings in mirrored arches led by a curved beak, added to our joy.

It seems like a simple thing, and in some ways it is. In other ways, it’s not. The sound not only heralds the coming of spring and tells us that this pair of curlews has survived the winter, it also taps into an ancestral place somewhere in our brains that once formed sonic maps to place us in time and space. It reassures us that the seasons are going as they should be, that the chill winds of winter’s tail will soon blow themselves out, and our own life cycle is continuing.

Curlews aren’t the only ones that bring tidings in their song. Blackbirds greeting the dawn; blue tits chatting…

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Immortal Worlds?: The Tale of Captured Light

Illuminating evidence that the future for us is dark – Immortal Worlds? collaboration with Dr Simon Park

Exploring The Invisible

Low temperature system Low temperature system

Low temperature system Low temperature system

Low temperature system Low temperature system

Low temperature system Low temperature system

Bacteria exhibit an astonishing metabolic diversity, which exceeds that of all animals, plants, fungi and higher organisms. Their invisible, and often overlooked activity, sustains all of the life that we can see as bacteria contribute, on a global scale, to all of the Earth’s life-sustaining natural chemical cycles.

The Winogradsky column is a simple device for culturing environmental bacteria and is an elegant means of demonstrating their vast diversity and complex interactions.   Invented in the 1880s by Sergei Winogradsky, the device comprises, a column of pond mud that has been fortified with a carbon source and a sulphur source. The column is exposed to sunlight for a period of months to years, during which aerobic/anaerobic, and sulphur gradients form. All of the bacteria in the mud column are present initially in low numbers and are thus not visible…

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Immortal Worlds?: September Update 2014

Stunning differences revealed between the temperature differential.

Exploring The Invisible

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System Low Temperature System

High Temperature System High Temperature System

Immortal Worlds? is a collaborative project between artist Jac Scott and myself, with our initial investigations being funded by an A-N New Collaboration Bursary. The focus of the project is on mapping the unseen, but vitally important world of bacteria and, particularly how climate change will impact on these organisms, which underpin all of the Earth’s many diverse and living ecosystems. We aim to create innovative and collaborative studies that will not only experimentally and critically engage art and science, but will also spark debate about our rapidly changing world. Our initial explorations…

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Designing Flowers For A Bee-Less Future

A world without bees?

Exploring The Invisible

The flower inthe  dark with the bioluminescent light guides clearly visible The flower inthe dark with the bioluminescent light guides clearly visible

The same flower in daylight The same flower in daylight

A flower that looks like any other flower in daylight, but turn off the lights and its unique engineered bioluminescent light guides become visible. Specialized cell structures  on the flower called lumocysts express the luxABCDE genes from the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum giving the flower tissue the ability to make light. The quality of the  light produced by these bacteria, and now the plant, is unique and it  has powerful  lure-like qualities so that when bees become extinct, the plants will attract and be pollinated by night-flying insects like moths. Night feeding carnivorous plants might also be developed though this technology.

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In the not too distant future it is predicted that wars will be over basic natural resources such as water. In these fascinating articles we are reminded how we continue to abuse this vital resource and ignore the impact of our behaviour on its supply and quality.

wave man stare

It’s the Small Things

The joy of life expressed here so poetically that it makes you smile…inside…outside. Feel good read this. Feeling bad read this.

somewhere nowhere blog

stone pine coneFour years ago, we collected a pine cone hard as stone. There were no gaps or spaces between the folds of the cone and it sat in my hands heavy as a rock, but unlike a rock, this weight was full of promise. Full of trees.

This cone – the perfect container for seeds of the Stone Pine – rested silent, heavy, dormant on our windowsill. It sat there for months, then for a year, then for another. It moved house, changed locations, then took its place in a group of three cones on a plate painted with a sunflower. Silent, heavy, sleeping.

pine cones on a plateThree years passed and then it changed. The cone shifted in its woody way from stone to flower – unseen by our eyes, its fronds had opened like petals, and around the cone, on the green and yellow of the sunflower plate, were the seeds. Silent…

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Today, is a special day.

Sometimes fate plays its hand and contrives to make a culmination of various unconnected events happen on one day – today is such a day. Celebrating my birthday is normally marked quietly, it’s an age thing more than any big statement about the anniversary of my birth, (although a few years ago I was up in a glider learning how to fly on my birthday).  So, the weeks pass and my husband and I agree to take the day off work,  (we usually try and do this each year – one of the perks of being self-employed)  and then my editor emails that the ship is arriving on 11 May with a cargo of my latest book about sculpture and that the launch date will be 12 May 2014 – my birthday!

So world here it is…

The publishers are offering £5 off the rrp, so it is £20 on their online shop and free UK delivery.


The Language of Mixed-Media Sculpture is both a survey and a celebration of contemporary approaches to sculptures that are formed from more than one material. It profiles the discipline in all its expanded forms and recognizes sculpture in the twenty-first century not as something solid and static, but rather as a fluid interface in material, time and space.

Topics covered:

  • It gives insightful revelations of the creative journeys of ten renowned sculptors
  • Useful technical information on a myriad of processes and materials
  • Twenty-eight international sculptors showcased
  • Inspiring imagery with over 200 colour photographs

The collection of exciting and dynamic international sculptors to feature in this new book includes: Andre Woodward, Catherine Bertola, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, Liliana Porter, Mary Giehl, Marilene Oliver, Pascale Pollier, Kate MccGwire, Niko Neelova, Michael Shaw, YaYa Chou, Yuebin Gong, Peter Freeman, Rachel Allen, Eliza Bennett, Awst & Walther, Andrew Burton, Noam Ben-Javov, Ricardo O’Nascimento, Stelios Manganis, Mark Houghton, Jac Scott, Janet Curley Cannon, Cath Keay, Liz West, David Chalmers Alesworth, Dorcas Casey, Jacob Dahlgren and Andrea Hasler.


My first book is still available too


Textile Perspectives in Mixed-Media Sculpture celebrates the prodigious sculpture created by artists who operate on the interface of mixed-media sculpture and textile art. It reveals the inspirations, influences and creative journeys of over thirty contemporary artists, and explains the practical processes and raw materials they use.
Introductory chapter contextualises textile perspectives in mixed-media sculpture and discusses elements that concern the sculptor in the twenty-first century. Illuminating text on the creative journeys of contemporary artists. Informative technical information on creating sculpture from plastic, rubber, plaster, metal and paper. Insightful profiles of over thirty contemporary artists specializing in mixed-media sculpture.


A Brief Microgeography of The Eden Project I.

Looking at things closely…differently.


The microbiological world is a vast domain of life occupied by organisms which are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Because of their diminutive size, its denizens are largely ignored, yet in terms of impact and numbers, they represent the predominate form of life on earth. In fact, in the familiar settings of our towns, cities, and built environments, microorganisms have established overlooked, yet thriving and complex ecologies. Microgeography, seeks to highlight these microbial communities, that find a home within our built environments, and to explore the relationship between an urban environment and its microbial and human inhabitants through informed observation, and via a variety of playful and inventive strategies. Its aim is to take pedestrians off their predictable macroscopic paths and jolt them into a new awareness of the vast, but nearly always overlooked, urban microbiological landscape. The process also invites the observer to question the…

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