All Mortal Greatness is But Disease exhibition sho

The Shetland Stations

A question I am often asked about my textile work is “How long did that take to make?”. A common answer (depending on the piece) is “between a fortnight and ten years”. The work I was commissioned to make by the Scottish Maritime Museum (SMM) and their exhibition All Mortal Greatness is But Disease is a good example of that. …

Overhaul

Overhaul

This work was made for the 2022 exhibition Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife. Whaling in the unpredictable weather of the Arctic could be dangerous. Storms would drive ice against and underneath whale ships. If the hull of a ship was damaged one way to repair it was to haul the …

Shift

Shift

This work was made for the 2022 exhibition Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife. Early whaling was mostly in the Greenland Fisheries, an area around Spitsbergen. Overhunting led to population decline and new whale populations in Baffin Bay and beyond were exploited until those were also depleted. Approx 25 x 20 …

Bounty

Bounty

This work was made for the 2022 exhibition Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife. Arctic Whaling was supported and encouraged by a government subsidy known as a bounty. In return for fulfilling a number of requirements the basic cost of a voyage would be covered. The amount of bounty changed over …

Success to the Rising Sun of Anstruther

Success to the Rising Sun of Anstruther

This work was made for the 2022 exhibition Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife. Early Scottish Arctic Whaling took place around Spitsbergen, an island between Norway and The North Pole. As there was a mistaken belief that Spitsbergen was linked to Greenland this was known as the Greenland Fishery whalemen referred …

Baffin Bay

Baffin Bay

This work was made for the 2022 exhibition Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife. As the whale populations declined around Spitsbergen Scottish whalers sailed around the southern tip of Greenland up the Davis Strait between Greenland and Canada to Baffin Bay and further north in search of whales. In 1830 a …

Baffin Bay

Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling

The Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife, is a delightful labyrinth of a place, located in a range of harbourfront buildings. Spending a long ‘Meet the Artist’ Weekend after the opening of my exhibition Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling the most common comment from visitors arriving at the Whaling Gallery where the exhibition was, was ‘It’s much bigger …

1820 edition of An Account of the Arctic Regions

Scoresby’s Arctic. It’s all about the whale!

My co-curator Fiona turned to me and said, ‘This isn’t an exhibition about Moby-Dick you know’.  I had bought a copy of the book for possible display in the exhibition, one of my 50 odd versions, the one that laid open flat best.  ‘But it is for me’, I replied. ‘I found William Scoresby through Moby-Dick.’ This is all about …

The Leviathanic Museum (Hull), Textile

The Leviathanic Museum (Hull)

In Chapter 102 of Moby-Dick Ishmael discusses the size of sperm whales and he uses one fictional and one real example (the sperm whale skeleton at Burton Constable) for his measurements. He also explains that ‘there are skeleton authorities you can refer to’ in order to test his accuracy. There is a Leviathanic Museum, they tell me, in Hull, England, …