In 2008 I was awarded a creative development grant from the Scottish Art Council. During this time I started to look at the cognitive processes by which we process and interpret information. This is still my current project.
Primarily carved in stone, this takes the form of a natural history collection called Natural History: The Broom Cupboard. The title refers to a notional broom cupboard in a cognitive house, and it stores the indeterminate things that are not easily categorised or else somehow, misfiled. I decided to look at natural history because of precedents for natural history collecting, and a tendency for most collections to display a story . Also because of a history of taxonomic confuse, and misinformation.
By a process of researching and then through the rigorous carving of my specimens in full anatomical detail; like some sort of primitive anatomical sculptor, I try to promote a paradigm - craft of seeing - of the process by which we study the world around us, collect the evidence, and attempt to file it away despite a tendency for the true nature of things to retain its opacity. In other words, we comprehend the true nature of the whale, but continue to file it away with the rest of the fish in the sea. We will never fully credit the bandicoot with having its own nature, but always regard it as a collection of parts primarily borrowed from other animals, and a coral will forever be some sort of plant.
I have been helped on my way by many people and institutions, and would particularly like to say thank you to the JD Fergusson Trust for sending me on my travels, for research in 2012. Mary Parrish and those other staff at the Smithsonian museum of natural history , who spent so much time with me on my visit researching the Burgess shale.
The Inches Carr Trust for awarding me with a craft bursary in 2013, to continue with the Burgess Shale Project. Finally and as always, Marcus Paine and all the brilliant staff at Hutton Stone. For stone, help, common sense, and everything!