Living on the coast is to live a life on the edge of paradise, especially when living along a part of Scotland’s coast that has such varied wildlife.
On the small cliffs overlooking the beach where I prefer to walk are five nesting pairs of fulmars. A couple of days ago, I saw the first bullfinch raiding the buds from the orange pippin tree that we planted last year and thanks to the way that Rose and I have planned our garden – a mix of permaculture, allotment and wild meadow – we need our stereo cranked up to 11 to hear anything above the day-long birdsong.
Birds play a big part in inspiring my sculpture and when looking for a simple, natural pattern with which to create linocut patterns, it simply followed that I’d look to that magnificently-efficient tool, the feather. Evolved from lizard scales, feathers are an almost unparalleled feat of engineering that not only enables most birds to fly but regulates temperature, acts as the structure for a waterproof layer (the waterproofing comes from oils on the feathers) and is used for attracting mates. In thinking about what nature manages to pack into a feather ask yourself: how many folk do you know would look the part at the nightclub while wearing an arctic-grade down-jacket over a wetsuit with a thirty-foot carbon-fibre wing strapped to their shoulders?
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