Previous AA2A Artist

Alex Gordon

Project summary:

My work is multi-disciplinary and often site-specific. Undertaking the AA2A Scheme provided the focus for making a suite of work based around walking, writing and collecting that I had been thinking about for several months.

In 2006 and 2007 I travelled to the northern most tip of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, to visit a friend, and fellow artist, who had moved there from Worcestershire a couple of years previously. I spent many hours walking the unique landscape jotting down notes, composing Haiku, and collecting natural and manmade objects. I found sheep skulls, horns, jawbones, ribs and vertebrae dotted amongst the dunes. I filled my coat pockets with fragile rabbit skulls, a cormorant skull and beak and tiny bones from an unidentified bird. Along one of the huge, white sand beaches I collected colourful nylon rope and tried to capture some of the landscape and atmosphere in words:

Turquoise waves crash and roar round island shore, white spume, gold sand stretch evermore.

In a charity shop I bought some reels of locally made tweed the colours of which reflect the almost treeless landscape. Purple and gold heather, dark rich peat, winter reeds and grasses. I decided to free knit one of the reels in a single strip from beginning to end. The resulting structure, displayed in a linear progression, with some of the found objects, can be viewed as a metaphor for the journeys to the island and for the research and development of the work.

Further individual pieces of work have been made from some of the found bones and other ephemera. A small, dainty structure made from the bird bones resembles a fantastical sailing ship. Many people associate bones, human or animal, solely with death. In fact, throughout much of human history bones have been associated with reanimation and rebirth. They can be seen as a symbol of spiritual renewal as well as a memento mori. By using them to form new structures I have given them new life and new meaning. This work I have titled separately as 'Bone Play' (image not available).

'From Moor to Shore (detail)'
knitted tweed and found objects including a rabbit skull