Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Personal bone stories

It's really interesting how different people connect with different artworks. Often this is for very personal reasons. I shared some of my work from this project in a talk a few weeks ago, and it was fascinating how each person I spoke to had a completely different favourite image.

I was asked if I would make a print of one of the x-ray images with a cat's skull. Alison, currently undertaking research at the University into chicken breeds, asked me if I could make a small version for her. When I visited the Bone Lab yesterday to give her the print, she told me that her very first acquisition, years ago, for her own reference collection of animal bones was a cat's skull, which she dug up from the end of her garden and found it to be in a beautifully preserved condition but all on its own, just the skull, no other parts of the body. A little mystery to why it was alone. She still has the skull.

A little later I fell into conversation with Eric, who is researching faunal remains from North American sites. He said he had liked the drawing of vertebrae that I had made, and we talked about how I use this drawing in my visits to schools to get students thinking imaginatively about the shapes of the bones and how, by drawing them in certain ways or arranging them on the paper, they could evoke other things. These remind me a little of flying ducks.

We talked about some of the other pieces of work that I had shown in my talk and how he had remembered when he'd seen me making them in the Bone Lab, such as the photographs of fish bones. Eric is from Canada and asked about having a print of the drawing to take back home with him as something to remind him of his time here.

One of the things I used to find difficult with selling work through galleries is that you often don't get to meet the person who buys it. It's really special when you can talk to a person about work they like and discover what that personal reason is, it makes the work better. It's a curious thing that, once you have made an artwork and set it loose into the world, it takes on its own life and other people's connections start to make it more than what it was when you made it. In the end making art, for me, always comes back to a way of connecting with people.

I have another four prints available of the Schrรถdinger's Cat Reliquary, visit my Shop page for details.

Read more about researchers' projects in the Bone Lab here.

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