Memory Messages – artist in residence /summer 2015

This weekend I start a grand new [ad]venture.

I have the honor and privilege of being one of the first artists in residence for The Shining Tree, a studio /gallery /garden founded on the principal of supporting & nurturing graduate artists, located in the beautiful surroundings of North West Cumbria, it is rooted in the rural.

Right up my street then.

So whats the PLAN?

I am proposing that my time spent in the studio and surrounding areas be spent creating an “accumulation of Gilcrux” a store if you will of what the village is visually, statistically, historically and topographically in relation to its surrounding area. This will be the fixed point of the village, as it is now, in the ever changing current of the community.

As part of this accumulation, I would like to create a kind memory store, compiled by local residents and visitors these biographical words will be used as “memory messages”. My initial intention was for these messages to be launched into or over the firth, by balloon /paper ship. However, research having done extensive research I have discovered that “biodegradable balloons” are not really what the purport to be. Wishing to remain ecologically passive I decided to send these messages across the Solway, hopefully by displaying them near Kirkcudbright using rice paper. The donations will also go forward for a limited run book.

Each “launch” will be uniquely tagged with archival no.s and info on how the “receivers” can get in touch with where they are found and a memory of their own. The memory will also be photographed, when physically displayed. Participants are welcome to release their own message if this is practical.


Memories are fleeting, often lost down the generations, just as ephemeral as the watery divide of the Solway Firth. All memories donated with be recorded, but many, if not most of the launches, will be “lost” to the weather and waters of the firth.

This is a half place, not land, nor sea, but it is a connection, and it is my hope that these memory messages can forge new ones across the divide.


What makes this residency all the more special for me, is the support and guidance I will receive from this magical place. And it doesn’t end there. YOU CAN SUPPORT THIS AMAZING PROJECT. The Shining Tree will also be welcoming Martin Hill as artist in residence all through August, and hopes to bring a further 4 artists based in Scotland and Cumbria over the next 3 years.

To do this you can support our indiegogo crowd funding campaign. There are lots of lovely perks for your generosity too!*

Thanks in advance, Helen

*Update 27/4/16: this crowd-funding campaign is now over. However, the work I produced during the residency can be purchased with 33% of the costs going to The Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal.


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