I was raised in a clachan on the Isle of Arran, in the south-west of Scotland. The wildness of the landscape and climate were always a huge influence on my work, as was the isolation of the village, and the lack of mainstream cultural stimulus. From an early age, I developed a deep interest in spiritual and philosophical matters, as well as an intimate understanding of natural cycles and survival.
Throughout my schooling on the island, and then my art degree in Glasgow, I became increasingly disappointed with what was supposed to be education, and consequently with my place in the world. Inspired by my parents’ anarchic approach to life, and stimulated by there being enough wrong in the world to merit active intervention, I decided to follow a route to self-education, through travelling, working the land, living colourfully, free and adventurous.
During the 1990s, ill health brought a period of isolation and personal development. This resulted in large body of powerful imagery which began to attract a dedicated audience, and various collaborations. I explored my unique visual language, using an intuitive and spontaneous approach at all times. This time of low energy was followed by a period of barefoot adventure in Cyprus, which brought a new depth and richness to my visual work, and taught me a great deal about humility, living simply, and healing through positive thinking.
I use art as a means of understanding our relationship with reality; using archetype, and both personal and collective story/metaphor. Through painting, writing, and sharing of ideas, I am concerned with inspiring and stimulating energy. Working always out-with the mainstream, I’ve sought multifarious ways of presenting positive ideas for conscious change in the world. A postgraduate degree in Art, Space & Nature in Edinburgh (2007) helped to bring the various strands of my work into a coherent format, and directly influenced my ideas around a centre for inspiration.
Over the past ten years, I’ve developed the idea of an arthouse as a means of sharing the power of creative and positive consciousness. From a Cypriot village to the top floor of an Edinburgh council high-rise, then from a remote glen cottage in the Scottish Borders to an ancient house in an Italian hill town, I’ve been exploring ways to bring my work into the world in an effective context, whilst at the same time providing a space in which others can explore their potential. I’m keenly interested in the possibilities of radiating positive ideas and energy, and how these patterns of conscious growth can be applied on multifarious levels, to stimulate regeneration, abundance and development. I’m currently pioneering a new art-eco-spiritual community in this semi-abandoned medieval quarter in Italy, and developing a vibrant creative inter-cultural dialogue.
My artwork has been exhibited and bought across Europe and North America, and used widely in publications. There is a large collection of my artwork in the Glasgow Women’s Library, and I’ve published a range of art books. My visionary work is well known through projects such as in the Calder high-rise estate in Edinburgh (I was short-listed for a major social enterprise award in 2008), and Guardia Sanframondi – (the town in Italy where my arthouse and interconnected projects are currently thriving). I am also soon to present a book, ‘Spiralling Upwards’ based on the integrated philosophies that I’ve developed over the years.
My Reasons for Supporting Scottish Independence
Throughout my life and work, my interest has been in observing the underlying energetic patterns of all things, that more conscious choices can be made about the future. This has led to my being involved in various capacities in social regeneration, creating community and food growing; particularly in the fields of permaculture and integrated sustainability.
My reason for supporting Scotland’s independence are rooted in my instinctual awareness of what is positive, and what is sustainable. It is also based upon my understanding of the underlying problems within the Scottish psyche, and how these may be shifted by our taking responsibility for ourselves and our (both personal and collective) life direction. I’m particularly, actively, interested in how collective energy can be harnessed, and used to promote the well-being of all, rather than corporate and governmental directives controlling and limiting the choices of ‘the people’, by top-down intervention. I believe that our choosing independence is the only logical and responsible step we can take in this moment, to begin treading a more appropriate path, in every sense.
There is so much subtle suppression of our collective identity and spirit in our modern consumerist culture; we are pushed down to our knees under the crippling weight of imposed order and so-called ‘stability’, and led by the false and self-destructive logic of the need to consume. Scotland’s beauty, intelligence and ability has been crushed in the same way that all individuals’ beauty, intelligence and abilities have been on our planet, by the priorities of an increasingly Americanised materialistic direction, which the UK administration in London is desperately clinging to. As we enter this challenging phase in our cultural history, we also need to be aware of our responsibility on a global level: significant social-economic-environmental change is not possible by following the policy of a government whose values are rooted in war, fear and following the masses. And it is not possible to affect this change, on a global level, by heavy-handed administrative dictatorship: there must always be vivid local cultural identity, otherwise we are all turned into automatons, and made to function as cogs in a vast, sinister machine. Although it is clear that powers in the world are working towards the latter vision, with GM technologies, and tight corporate control of identity/freedom of expression, the wilds of Scotland – both in her landscape and in our vibrant consciousness – continue to be an oasis of clarity.
There is mounting and overwhelming evidence on all levels and in all areas, that Scottish independence is a better choice, and the stimulating dialogue which is growing in Scotland around the referendum is hugely inspiring; our people awakening, and finding their voice for the first time. At last Scotland’s political mind is finding its essence, after hundreds of years of first suppression, then indifference. I hope that this awakening signals the possibility that a people can work together positively to transform their reality, and I know that we in Scotland are a shining example of how people can use their own ingenuity, and work with few resources, to achieve marvellous things: it is time that Scotland shifted up a gear – to stand out as an example to the rest of the world, rather than joining the rest of the sheep plodding in a daze over the edge of the cliff.
My Rationale for Joining National Collective
I’m particularly enthused about the National Collective project, because it fulfils so many of my passions; from Scottish independence, to working creatively and cooperatively with other people. It is very exciting for me to participate in this incredible new dynamic, where the people of my country are using their talents positively to work together for a happier collective future, rather than being stuck in their own ruts of competitive commerce.
It gives me great hope to be an active part of a believable and achievable mission: it has been a source of huge frustration in my life and work, that visionary and alternative ideas are kept to the side-line at best, and at worst completely vetoed. It is seriously heartening to see the current tidal wave of new words and ideas flowing into the forum on Scottish independence, and sites like National Collective are fabulous ambassadors for both our independence cause, and the possibility of a more desirable future.