Mountain Ash Down

This morning, a large mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia) fell in the grounds of St. Augustine’s, bringing down the railing and a part of the wall. The tree was brought down by Storm Ali.

The roots were lifted, the trunk snapped, the crown fallen over, blocking the width of the walkway on the Derry Walls. This tree looked out over the Bogside, and even though I’m a botanist, I hadn’t paid it any heed until it had fallen. It is smashed there now, sundered at the knees, xylem and phloem ripped.

The exhibition opens in two days time here. There is a storm outside, and it is calm here inside the studio. My three weeks on residency are nearly up. I have rediscovered my practice, and the joy and fear that comes with that, the hours staring at  (no) work, the hours napping on the studio floor, the rhythm of a day’s work, batting away outside distractions, the countdown to an exhibition. I  have been thinking about studios a lot, as places of work and also refuges that need to be nurtured. Artists can’t exist without studios. The work made here during this residency is experimental, testing ideas of scaffolding for drawings and celebrating the studio environment.