Felicity Bristow and Susie Wilson first began their residency in 2019 working the land from their garden shed at Plot 55b at Craigentinny Telferton Allotments. However due to the lockdown in March 2020 the artists continued to work together, though apart, developing a growing project sending seed to each other and other participants to grow, later harvest, and collect seed from. Out of this their ‘Growing in Isolation’ project developed in 2020 involving a postal exchange. Touching the earth, planting the seeds and tending the growing plants was something positive and hopeful for many people in the growing community, in such an uncertain and anxious time. The seeds became the focus to their work and made them realise the importance of ‘the seed’ to this commission with them in 2019 establishing ‘The Seed Library’.
The delight and quiet of spending time growing something and protecting it as it matures was felt to be very rewarding by many people growing in isolation. The Seed Library received generous donations of seeds from plot holders at C&T allotments, as well as from UK-wide network of other growers which they have continued to share throughout their project.
The Plot55b residency project culminated in 2021 with the publishing of an artist bookwork bringing together the various elements the artists had encountered and experienced through the period of working engaging with the allotments. It is record of a very fragile time globally whilst focussing on the detail of the growing of a seed, and what that process brought to so many as this uncertain and difficult time.
LIST OF WORKS & EVENTS
‘Wassailing’ at Plot 55b, Craigentinny Telferton Allotments
8 March 2020 – A celebration of planting two new apple trees on Plot 55b. With apple themed verse, song and toast to the new trees followed by a walk to wake the trees at Craigentinny & Telferton Allotments for a bountiful growing season in 2020.
Planted exhibition Art Walk Porty Hub – September 2020
Alongside Seed Walk, Meadows Yard Nature Reserve
& Book Launch Plot 55B Art Walk Porty Hub
Growing in Isolation window installation Portobello Library – August 2020
Seed Walks, Musselburgh Lagoons – October 2022
Felicity’s site-specific work is an exploration of line, narrative, material and the pervading spirit of place or ‘genius loci’. Felicity is fascinated with words, with making, researching and exploring the physical structure of books and buildings site specifically.
Felicity studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art (1993 – 99) and qualified as an architect, practising in Edinburgh until 2008 while also teaching part time at ECA (2003 – 07). In Summer 2016 she completed a MA in Contemporary Art Practice, with Merit. She now lives and works as an artist in the Scottish Borders developing her own research-based practice in her WASP’s studio (Selkirk) and works part time for the Creative Arts Business Network (CABN) in Selkirk and North Light Arts in Dunbar.
Susie’s work examines the relationship between the hidden and the seen both metaphorically and physically. Exploring the book form enables her to combine print, paint and collage in a more sculptural way. The intimacy of holding the book, each page hiding then revealing the next, creates an atmosphere that is deeply personal. She is interested in this sense of revelation. Layers of translucent paper, stitched and cut into, obscure the forms and images creating a tension between the various areas reflecting the delicacy, fragility and subtlety of the subject.
Susie Wilson graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1992 with a BA (Hons) Degree and PostGrad. in Drawing and Printmaking. She won two scholarships to Athens School of Fine Art (1990) and to Seville School of Fine Art (1992) to study printmaking. In 2001 she gained a place on the CATS course (Creative and Technical Skills Programme) run by the Print Studio at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Her work has been shown in many group exhibitions in Scotland, most recently at WASPS, Patriothall, Edinburgh (2012), MacNaughtans Bookshop, Edinburgh (2011), Society of Scottish Artists (2012),Visual Arts Scotland (2012), Andrew Grant Gallery (Edinburgh College of Art, 2011), Dundee Contemporary Arts (2002) and Meffan Gallery (2002). Her books and prints have also been exhibited abroad in India (2010) and the USA (2011). Her work is in the collection of the City Art Centre, Edinburgh Fine Art Library and Edinburgh College of Art. She has taught Printmaking and Artist Books at Edinburgh College of Art for ten years and also teaches in adult education and schools in and around Edinburgh. Recently awarded Sally Schofield Memorial Prize, (Visual Arts Scotland, 2015) and Nancy Graham Memorial Book Prize (VAS, 2014)
Images by: Elle McMaster