Sixteens

Sixteens: for Isobel is a project featuring simple, formal arrangements of related found objects, made for Northlight Dunbar 2012, and presented at the Beach Hut, Dunbar Harbour.

I developed the practice of making Fourteens in summer 2010 as part of The Road North. On my daughter’s fourteenth birthday I was on Skye while she was in Edinburgh, so to mark the occasion I picked, arranged and photographed fourteen yellow ragwort heads, and e-mailed her the image. This soon became a way of enabling Alec Finlay and myself to focus on things we came across – including berries, flowers and mushrooms.

Two years on, and I’ll be with my daughter on her birthday. But I’ve been making Sixteens anyway, sixteen related found objects arranged as a four by four grid, and photographed in situ. I’ve made sixteen such arrangements and photographs, retaining one item from each, which is displayed in the beach hut alongside the photos. The items compose a seventeenth Sixteen, derived from its predecessors (just as in a ‘crown of sonnets’ the fifteenth sonnet is composed of one line from each of the previous fourteen).

I made eleven Sixteens before my week in Dunbar, on recent trips to Moray and Orkney, and the remaining five were made on a walk along the John Muir Way east from Dunbar towards Torness power station.

With thanks to Angus Reid and Lorna Irvine for their contributions.

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