The World Is Not Here For Us Alone (2022)
This short film acts as an introduction to a collaboration I had with poet Christine De Luca, during my time as Artist in Residence at Dr Neil’s Garden in Duddingston and is an attempt to create a distillation of our experience into something easily accessible by others. A special place and something of an oasis close to the heart of the City of Edinburgh, this garden was created in the 1960s by the Neils, both local GPs, as a space where they encouraged their patients to help with gardening tasks or just to relax and find healing of body, mind and spirit in peaceful and beautiful surroundings. A physic garden was later developed to commemorate the Neils. It lies on the rugged lower slopes of Arthur’s Seat, between Duddingston Kirk (dating from the 12th century) and Duddingston Loch and continues to be tended devotedly and knowledgably but is neither formal, nor manicured.
We started by simply spending time in the garden, often together, looking and learning.
“The most precious gift we can offer is our attention”
– Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk
“Attention is the beginning of devotion”
– Mary Oliver, poet
I spent many hours drawing and painting in all weathers and sharing my work with Christine and, almost always, she responded with a poem. What ensued is a conversation that includes but which transcends what can be spoken, as we looked deeply and with tender attention into the heart of this one place, that has something to tell us about all places, about the world and our place in it.
Deeply focused as we were on the wondrous entanglement all around us, and insulated for a short while from the now overly familiar barrage of news and views, perhaps we found ourselves to be, momentarily, suspended in a state of grace.
“… it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theologian
We are indebted to the following for their support: Claudia Pottier, Head Gardener at Dr. Neil’s Garden and to the Volunteers and Trustees. Our deepest thanks go also to Dr. Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain at The University of Edinburgh, the Art and Spiritual Understanding project at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, and for financial support from the Templeton Religion Trust. Our warm thanks go to Martin Burt, of Native Film, for the application of his attention and skill, throughout.
Another Thing to Think About (2021)
This video has been inspired by an Artist’s Book and a piece of music, “Another Thing to Think About”, from the album “Hope” (2020) and was made in collaboration with Tomáš Liška (musician) and Alan McGowan (artist/videographer).
The Artist’s Book itself began its life as part of my response to the death of my parents and, in particular, to losing my mother at the start of the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020. The words and feeling of Poem 449 by Emily Dickinson also played a significant role as part of the earliest inspiration for the book. I am filmed wearing my mother’s wedding ring, slowly turning the pages of the book in response to the mood evoked by the music.
Wee Wire Head (2020)
This is a 3D portrait made using bonsai floristry wire by one of my students Jeanne, of her classmate, Cindy. It seems to have effectively summed up everything that is wonderful about an amazing programme that is offered by Leith School of Art to High School pupils in Edinburgh and taught be me. The School’s Outreach Programme affords to a selected group of talented but disadvantaged young people a unique opportunity to gain new skills and confidence with which to progress towards a future in the creative arts and beyond their existing aspirations.
Artist: Jeanne Magloire, Leith Academy, Edinburgh
Music:“Safran” by Tomáš Liška on “Invisible Faces” (Animal Music, 2017). Musicians: Tomáš Liška, David Dorůžka, Nikola Zarič, Efe Turumtay, Kamil Slezák.
LeithLate Virtual Studio Tour (2020)
Brigid Collins invites us into her studio at Albion Business Centre, Edinburgh as part of LeithLate Virtual Tours, launched in Summer 2020.
Artist: Brigid Collins
Music: “Questions” by Tomáš Liška on “Invisible Faces” (Animal Music, 2017)
LeithLate Virtual Tours were made in collaboration with the Culture & Community Mapping Project, with funding from Data Driven Innovation and Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh.
Art at Stirling University (2014)
In this short film I am interviewed by filmmaker Don Coutts for the Art Collection at Stirling University, about one of four pieces of mine held in their collection, a painting titled “And listing deep…”, inspired by “The Bower” by Kathleen Jamie (in “The Tree House”, Picador 2004) who, at that time, held the Chair of Creative Writing at the university and whose work was then being celebrated in an exhibition in The Pathfoot Gallery at the university . Answering questions about this painting leads me to talk about wider concerns in my work.
Film by Don Coutts and Emma Dove with music by Colin Steele.
An experimental film piece, made by artist, Brigid Collins, in collaboration with artist film-maker, Graeme Gerard Halliday and sound artist, Pete Nixon and inspired by a poem, “Casting and Gathering”, by Seamus Heaney, in “Seeing Things” (Faber and Faber, 1991). Premiered at The StAnza International Poetry Festival, in St. Andrews, Scotland (2010), as part of an exhibition of work by Brigid Collins, “Threshold Markings: ‘Poem-Houses’ and Other Forms”, the film is concerned with aspects of the creative process – those personal to Collins and, also, universal – and how these appear to be made to move, so gracefully, from a place of contradiction towards a sense of resolution, within the imagery and language of the poem.