Monday, 21 September 2015


I have long wanted to do something with the dried seed heads of the Welsh poppy (Meconopsis cambrica), which has proliferated in our garden walls and paving. Sometimes they weather to look like tiny wizened hands, but here I have utilised their resemblance to the hulls of boats, or dugouts. The backing, from which they set out on their journey, is a section of an old wooden measuring rule. The work is, of course, extremely fragile, as strong only as the dried stalks, the symbolism apt for the current (and horribly recurrent) news which inspired it, of desperate people setting to sea. The words on the top of the piece (Forþon me hatran sind / Dryhtnes dreamas / þonne þis deade lif / læne on londe) are taken from the Anglo-Saxon poem, The Seafarer, and though written in an entirely different context, they are fitting. There are many translations of the words; my own version is: 'Dearer to me my Maker's blessings than this fleeting mortal life'.

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