Sea-salt and resin bowl containing quartz pebbles.
Water-worn quartz pebbles were often included in ancient burials, from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages, usually being placed in the mouth or hand. It's thought they represented purity and re-birth.
I once found an Iron Age clay pot eroding out of a sand dune, which contained twelve rounded quartz pebbles. Archaeologists think this represented a memorial for members of the community whose bodies were lost at sea.
Salmon bones on a female mannequin head.
Goddesses and mythical females of the sea or water often have a common feature of being harbingers of death.
The section of the salmon skeleton that I needed for these bones is short, therefore many, many bones had to be cleaned and preserved to amass enough. They are a by-product from our local Smokery.
Resin skull, fish and animal bones.
This skull was placed under the sea for 18 months, hence the growth of barnacles and polychaete worm casts. The fish and animal bones were also under water, but for cleaning purposes.
It's a sort of reversal of roles, post-mortem.
Resin skull encrusted with polychaete worm casts. Fish bones and fish skeleton.
This is a response to the consequences of our management of the sea.
SALMON & SEA TROUT BOWL
The raw fish bones are suspended in a mesh container in the sea for a few months. This allows, crabs, prawns, shrimps and small fish to clean them very thoroughly. After further treatment ashore and drying, they are drilled and threaded. This bowl consists of 15 meters of bones when laid out. The supportive interior is red deer stag ribs.
The ‘mermaid's purses’ are beach finds, and in representing the sea, I chose these as a contrasting element, superficially in colour, but also due to the perceived and evolutionary differences between the salmon and shark families.
A sea salt bowl filled with 'sea hearts' or
'sea beans' - Entada Gigas.
These are seeds of a species of liana. These drop into Central and South American rivers, and thence to the sea. They then have an immense sea journey before arriving here, exchanging the tropical jungle for our cool, clear northern beaches.
Three sea salt and resin bowls containing salmon scales, cowries and violet sea snails.
All three of these occur in the sea around the Outer Hebrides in different ways; salmon are free-swimming; cowries live in the holdfasts of the kelp forests and are cast up in gales, along with their homes. Violet sea snails are an equatorial species very rarely seen this far north. They form bubble rafts and spend their lives floating upside down amongst their prey - jellyfish and by-the-wind sailors.
Iron cauldron with patinated copper coins.
The iron cauldron was found on the shore below a ruined croft house. It was placed under the sea for a year, during which time it became covered in polychaete worm casts.
Resin skull colonised by mussels and barnacles.
This was underwater off the east coast of
the island for two years.
I like the apparently random and capricious way the sea changes things, and in my experience, it's effect on this skull is unique.