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flow country


The current body of work is based on a vast area of peatland bog known as the Flow Country in the middle of the counties of Sutherland and Caithness. The Flows are an ancient land, rare and tender and full of unexpected plants and wildlife which all thrive in the acidic terrain. The Dubh Lochans form aerial pool patterns over the land and mirror the sky. The colourful sphagnum moss which forms most of the peat, pushes out of the water forming distinctive hummocks, like miniature islands in the pools which are bursting with plant life and in turn comes the insects and wildlife.


The bog seems to quiver with life with plants low to the ground, vibrating and moving in the north winds. Sundew plants wave their pink spikes, fatally attracting insects as big as damsel flies and Bogbean leaves and stems populate the pools creating zig zag shadows on the water. The Bog Cotton waggles in the breeze and stands out as white dashes in the richly coloured landscape often likened to a Persian carpet in appearance. It is made up largely of moss, heather, lichens, deergrasses and other plants and flowers. The longer you stay out in the land, the more rewarding it is, as insects such as dragonflies and water beetles appear, newts and frogs dart in and out and birds pop up and down from the ground.


The bog is also as dangerous as it is beautiful, the pools can suck down animals into the depths and children were warned not to go near the '' black pools '' for fear of falling in. I find this sinister side, the element of danger strangely exciting like daredevil events harking back to childhood on the farm. I am also inspired by the work of a mid ­nineteenth century baker from Thurso known as Robert Dick who was a botanist and a geologist who roamed the length and breadth of Caithness in his spare time discovering the plants, fossils and the geology of the area for his own delight though achieving little recognition for his discoveries at the time.


Large drawings, etchings and paintings are utilised to convey a sense of being in the land and appreciation of the impermanence of such landscapes.



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