Artist in Residence 2012
Research and Development
Over the past few months I have focussed on some of the footprints left by life in the earth’s crust, and their interpretation within the Department.
Working with clay, I have explored the marks and traces of selected footprints and produced a couple of different collections from these investigations.
Palynologist Rob Daly is currently researching pollen and spores from the Paleocene period (approx. 55 to 65 Ma). The samples he is working on are from a meteorite crater, and show the vegetation and climate response just after the Cretaceous mass extinction 65 million years ago, which is when the dinosaurs became extinct. In describing these fossil spores, Rob used his cupped hands, as though he could hold the microscopic organisms between his palms. Rob’s research, coupled with the beautiful slides of palynomorphs, has inspired my first collection of pieces, experimenting with scale, marks and colour.
In the basement of the Department is the most amazing collection of fossils, curated by Professor Nigel Trewin. I was lucky enough to make drawings of Professor Trewin’s collection of fish fossils from the Devonian period, around 380 million years ago. The fossils were collected from the flagstones of Achanarras Quarry in Caithness, which was formed as mud and sand deposited in Lake Orcadie. These beautiful specimens have inspired my second collection which includes large bowls and jugs with marks and drawings printed in layers to represent the story of these fossils.
Many thanks to all those in the Department of Geosciences who have patiently endured my questions, particularly to Andrew Hurst for giving me the opportunity of Artist in Residence for this year’s exhibition, and to Rob Daly, Anne Wilkins, Nigel Trewin, Clare Bond and Dave Healey for giving up time to share their knowledge and their enormous enthusiasm for their subject.