Artist In Residence
I’ve been Artist in Residence at Dr. Neil’s Garden – known as Edinburgh’s ‘secret garden’ – since the end of May, 2021.
Beginning my time there by attuning to the garden with my senses and with early inspiration from poets such as John Clare and Kathleen Jamie, I have gradually become woven into the fabric that is the delicately-balanced tapestry of plants, fungi, friend and visitor constituting this special place and something in me has shifted.
A friend and poet, Christine De Luca and I began to meet and talk under the shelter of the great trees in the garden. As the year unfolded and against a backdrop of a rapidly changing world, richly deep conversations – between plants and plants, between plants and us artists, between time and space – began to emerge and, in turn, to bring about perceptible shifts in consciousness.
The nature of these conversations has been evoked through a body of drawings and paintings by myself and poems by Christine and have been reflected upon through a short film by Martin Burt, of ‘Native Film’ and a series of meditations, envisaged by Dr. Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain at The University of Edinburgh and exhibited at Thomson’s Tower, in the heart of the garden, from 19th -26th June, 2022.
A last iris, late in the season,
still holding every hue:
through all the blues and greens,
tinctures of mauves and violets;
colours from Caspian,
tints of the old Silk Road,
tongue to tip,
a fine-veined tracery.
Its tissued withering is
a gathering into itself;
a reprise of its first unfolding
and just as lovely.
Time reshapes the works of love:
a conversation of petals tuned
to the season’s rallentando.
Our wrap of memory sustains
such fragile futures.
A sufficient quantity
The atoms of the wild rose petals
dance before the eye, create
a heart-shape in the mind, and with
the merging of two such probabilities
(where is the eye? where is the rose?)
decide they like the certainty
the rose brings to the blind.
Sufficient in size is the tiny wild rose
sufficient in staying power: a day
a transience. And the perfume
whose secret atoms break all bounds
all probabilities, conjures a presence.