Year of the Bird

Year of the Bird

A celebration of Hybridity
22 February – 7 April 2013
To be opened by Rod Bennison, CEO, Minding Animals International.

Curated by Helen Hopcroft and Caelli Jo Brooker, featuring the work of Vanessa Barbay, Caelli Jo Brooker, Marlan Drew, Kate Foster, David Hampton, Helen Hopcroft, Pamela See, Emma van Leest, Trvor Weekes and Helen Wright.

The Year of the Bird is a group exhibition that explores how the selected atists use bird imagery as a bridge into a range of other discourses, narratives or issues.

Fashioning Feathers

An exhibition on the theme Dead Birds, Millinery Crafts and the Plumage Trade has been curated by Merle Patchett with artists Kate Foster and Andrea Roe, currently on show in the Royal Alberta Museum, Canada. Click this link for an online catalogue compiled by Merle Patchett:

Further publications arose (see writing)

Click here to download ‘stuffed bird attached‘ by Kate Foster and Merle Patchett


Click on the image to the right for a slideshow



The Biography of a Lie

A tailor-made collection of body jewellery for birds which were nearly made extinct by the plumage trade. The ‘models’ came from the Hunterian Zoology collection in Glasgow University. This exhibition was supported by Glasgow City Council, shown in the Lloyd Jerome Gallery in 2003.

Download ‘The Biography of a Lie’ exhibition text


Click on the image to the right for a slideshow



… the right to enter on to, roam on and pass over open country …

Aspens grew on me, as a wild presence exercising their right to roam. Aspen trees are fragments of the wildwood that extended across Scotland after the ice age. Thinly scattered, you may find a few remaining aspen stands in the southern uplands – in cleuchs beyond the reach of sheep’s teeth, or possibly surrounded by spruce plantation in dispirited clumps. Present in larger numbers, they can support a varied ecology. In leaf, aspens can be recognised by the way their thin-stemmed leaves shimmer and turn yellow in autumn.

Aspen Shadow

I learnt to recognise aspens in winter habit, locating the nearest ones to Over Phawhope Bothy. I was taught to propagate them by encouraging them to form suckers – in the wild they spread themselves as clones, commandeering what space they can. A stand of aspen is likely to be very ancient, yet comprised of young trees that defeat death by sending runners.Near Over Phawhope Bothy on the Southern Upland Way, you can find two new young saplings that I planted and will keep an eye on until they are established. In time, their movement and colour can enliven the line of conifers that cast a dark tone behind them. Perhaps with more time, aspen may provide avenues of growth within a changing climate.

Aspen Drawing

… the separation of individual ramets, or daughter plants, occurs by the death of intervening connections, known as stolons or runners…

acknowledgements to:
Geoff Hancock, Reforesting Scotland, Michael Matthews


Payamino Patterns

Payamino Project: Patterns

A team from University of Glasgow, did field-work in Payamino rainforest, Ecuador. Zoologists use patterns to identify different species in the field – using guide books, cameras, field notes, magnifying lenses. Through being in Payamino, we all gathered images and learnt new patterns.

Team-members contributed photos and drawings to send as a “thankyou” to the residents of San Jose de Payamino. Acknowledgements to the makers of Aquascribe for donation of water-hardy paper to print the posters on for Payamino residents.

You can download the pattern sheets here:
Payamino Pattern Sheet 1
Payamino Pattern Sheet 2

Lines of Enquiry

In 1907 the Geological Memoir for the North-West Highlands of Scotland was published, a marker point in the construction of geological knowledge. Following the Centenary Conference in Ullapool, May 2007, “Lines of Enquiry” were pursued collaboratively by an artist, geographer and geologist, taking an oblique view of how geologists make geology.

Download the Lines of Enquiry PDF

Download the accompanying text by Hayden Lorimer

Out of time

A cross-disciplinary exhibition inspired by the arts of taxidermy, June 2007, Hunterian Zoology Museum, Glasgow University

artists: Jethro Brice – Kate Foster – Andrea Roe
geographers: Hayden Lorimer – Merle Patchett
taxidermists: Dick Hendry – Peter Summers

out of time was an exhibition inspired by the arts of taxidermy, showing work by artists and geographers. It takes great skill to separate a skin from a body, and then to rearrange it in a lifelike form. Taxidermy is one way that dead animals are preserved for collections, giving animals an extended ‘afterlife’. Animals remains are transported into the realms of human culture – and if they are acquired by a zoological museum, they survive in a hushed and unruffled world, without daylight or changes in climate. Specimens may endure when a species becomes extinct or endangered, perversely becoming more valuable. Each of the different exhibits shows something taken ‘out of time’. We looked at those fine lines between life and death, nature and culture, the artificial and the real.

Download the Out of Time Exhibition Poster

Download the Out of Time Exhibition Leaflet

Glasgow Science Festival


The “MOORLAND BED” in Glasgow Botanic Gardens is a microcosm, a case study of processes. This work was made possible by a personal millennial award from RIAS in 2003.



A massive sandbag, made with the guidance of the 52nd Lowland Regiment in 2001.