There are a number of themes which run through my life, some going back to early childhood. From a young age I loved to draw and paint and to make things. While still at primary school I kept an account of my pocket money in a little book. These interests have transformed over the years. Now they come together in my work for the earth.
I grew up in Edinburgh and attended James Gillespie’s High School for Girls. We were often reminded we were a select group, as did Muriel Spark’s Jean Brody, based on a former teacher at the school, remind her group of chosen girls, la creme de la creme. I left with enough Highers and O Levels to give me what was then a Qualifying Certificate, which allowed me to go to University. My fascination with the human body led me to graduating with a B.Sc. in biological science from Edinburgh University. Later I graduated from Bristol University with a post-graduate qualification in Social Work. Then much later I went on to study painting, sculpture and work with glass. Since 1998 I have taken an artistic approach to working in the landscape and since 2015 extending to the sacred landscape of London.
1970 to present day
Following graduation, I worked for a year as a research assistant in the Sleep Research Unit at Edinburgh University. I became dissatisfied with this as I felt dissociated from people and realised I wanted to be more connected with my fellow human beings. It also seemed to me at the time that there must be more to consciousness than electrical activity in the brain. My quest for knowledge and understanding continues and has become a way of life.
Work with children and young people
1971 - 1975, 2001 - present day
My wish to gain a qualification in social work led me to work as a house parent in a school for seriously naughty children. This was like jumping in the deep end. After 15 months I moved to the Camphill Community in Bieldside, Aberdeen and took on looking after a group of special needs children and practiced music therapy. I then helped to start a small Camphill Community for young people of mixed ability in Bristol. These places were all based on the work of Rudolf Steiner and were an opening into my connection with the spiritual. Since 2001 I have worked with the Alliance for Childhood, an international network of people and organisations which want to help children to experience a heathly childhood through play and creativity. My move to London has opened up more possibilities for direct action to help bring children and young people into the awareness of policy makers and developers.
1971 - 2014
Community turns out to be a strong theme in my life. I lived in a number of community settings before moving to join the community at Hoathly Hill in Sussex in 1981, initially with the idea of staying for two years to learn about money. In the end I was there for 33 years and certainly learned about money and many other things as well. I realised how closely connected money and emotions are and how debt is a big factor in the destruction of our environment. I was involved in a major restructuring of the social and financial arrangements, set up a centre within the community to help people find their creative potential, helped to manage the design and building of the Community Hall and project managed the installation of a biomass boiler system. I have since moved to London and discovered a new, more loosely knit community where all the previous skills I learned regarding housing, finance and project development are standing me in good stead.
I love music and at school I had the ambition to become a musician. I learned the flute and played in the Edinburgh schools orchestra. I worked with music therapy for a time. A visit to Florence was the catalyst for me to take the arts, including architecture, seriously. I studied clay modelling and sculpture, colour and glass carving. This then transformed into the social field with social sculpture, inspired by Joseph Beuys, and then artistic work in the landscape.
Painting and sculpture
Work in the landscape
Bookkeeping and Money
A bit of German
Vague knowledge of Croatian
Distant memory of Latin