Brigid Collins

Artist and Educator

Listen to presences inside poems,
Let them take you where they will.
Follow those private hints,
and never leave the premises.
― Rumi


Materiality is central to my practice, which has evolved into a deep investigation into the spatial and tactile qualities of poetry. Considering words themselves as a material, I explore the textural layers that I encounter within poems by translating these into drawings, paintings, collages and mixed media sculptural forms, ranging from books and ladders, to unique forms that I have developed and call ‘Poem-Houses’. These ‘Poem-Houses’ have evolved as a result of my experience of poems, as ‘things’ which feel very much like ‘rooms’ and in which I am able to spend time exploring the possibilities of mood and meaning that are part of the atmosphere there and around whose delicate edges, insights and alternative or new meanings begin to suggest themselves. 


My work becomes a visual refrain – an echo, of sorts – responding to what I have found in such places by means of a process that feels to be almost archaeological and to apparently be reconnecting with how it all began for me. 


As my process continues, the raw material that I have discovered inside a poem transmutes into and gradually becomes a delicate interweaving of words, natural forms, tissue, wire, thread, wax, with found and other materials, as if by some kind of alchemy, so eluding definition and transcending boundaries of categorisation.

Such an unfettering of my “attitude of mind” (see Kathleen Jamie’s poem) has encouraged me to cross boundaries that are perceived between disciplines, ‘allowing’ me to work with media such as video and porcelain clay to create short video and ceramic pieces, through which I experience a liberating feeling of ‘flow’, my natural curiosity piqued by all that I do not know… 


Brigid Collins

From The Bower by Kathleen Jamie
in The Tree House (Picador, 2004)

“Brigid Collins’s works, incorporating watercolour, wire, tissue, gauze, gold leaf, beeswax present…delicate interior worlds…where gold embossed fragmentary text provides a gateway to interiors of the imagination. The choice of materials and construction; veins of leaves, delicate papers, precious metal and frayed edges are on an intimate scale, encouraging closer examination and contemplation of the work.”

– Georgina Cockburn, writer and art critic