Jenny Pope, John Muir Open 2019, North Light Arts, Dunbar

John Muir Open 2019
Dunbar Town House
organized by North Light Arts

I was part of 2019 John Muir Open and awarded a bursary to make a new body of work.

I created new work in response to the brief of ‘Dialogues of Change’.

My work had been about psychological issues and ways that change can be made and I created a series of new work looking at the positive aspects of being in nature, as well as on the mix of emotions around climate change.

I created a series of tools called “Sunrise Gatherers” and these were specific to particular beaches along the East Lothian Coast. The inspiration came from my early morning walks along Portobello Beach, and the idea of trying to capture a moment at a particular time and place, and I liked the idea that each place would need a slightly different tool. I really enjoyed crocheting the nets for the ‘Sunrise gatherers’, it was very therapeutic and absorbing and I am reminded of the joy in making using a repetitive process. It is important to me to enjoy the making of my art as much as the end result

I also wanted to make some of my tools move and worked with Hannah Cameron at Eagle Lab, based at Codebase, in Edinburgh, to help me with kinetic solar powered sculptures. We hacked some solar powered lights to make my ‘Hope Energisers’ spin. It is the start of an experiment to have sculptures that move, and that people can interact with.

I also created a series of “Greta Thunberg Amplifiers” as I think she is a fantastic source of inspiration and call to action. Earlier in the year Greta Thunberg was almost unknown and when I explained to people what was inspiring my work they looked blank when I said her name. How things changed. She was speaking a truth that resonating amongst many. I am now more comfortable saying climate crisis, climate emergency. I am also aware of the need to be kind to ourselves and each other as we attempt to make sense of our personal and collective responsibilities. I am aware of the need to connect to nature, what we feel is precious we are more likely to value. The wild open spaces as well as the weedy corners.

I am also interested in creating tools that have an impossible use, like ‘Wave Gatherers’ where the objects are a metaphor for our ability to control the environment.

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