The sea-pottery that covers her was collected around the shores of North Uist.
She was put underwater, in a cage, between two sandy offshore islands for two years.
As it took a very long time to assemble and attach her jigsaw of pottery, I got to know her face well. On wild, stormy nights I would sometimes think of her looking blindly into the racing current and waving seaweed.
SEA URCHIN LADY
At rare, very low tides, sea-urchins feeding on kelp get caught out, and are predated by gulls.
The gulls often have favoured feeding rocks, above the high-water mark, and I visit these to collect the smashed shells (known as ‘tests’).
I've learned that a huge amount is needed, both to survive all the polishing processes, and to cover all the curves and angles of a bust.
FISH BONE LADY
This bust was anchored under the sea on the exposed Atlantic side of North Uist.
There's something perversely fascinating for me in placing something as artificial and superficial as a plastic mannequin underwater for two years for the sea to alter.
EARTH & SKY
Peat bowl with hooded crow skulls.
The peat for the bowl was cut from a layer that formed around the time the Vikings ruled the Hebrides (c.11th Century).
Peat forms on the acidic gneiss of the interior of the island which I associate with the hooded (grey) crow, a bird of the far West and North West.
Driftwood and patinated copper. The driftwood is almost certainly North American. It's extremely hard and, counting the rings, several
hundreds years old.
During its long voyage across the Atlantic, ship 'worms' known as Teredo worms have somehow eaten their way through it. Teredo worms are actually a type of shellfish, a relative of the cockle. Wooden ships were sheathed in copper to safeguard against them, and I've used copper patinated in sea water as 'bark'.
SALMON SKIN BOWL
Salmon skin and salmon bones.
Finding Bronze Age whalebone bowls led to reading about ancient vessels, particularly the use of fish skin in Alaska and North Scandinavia.
The preservation and curing process is quite lengthy, but results in extremely tough material, as I discovered while stitching it together.