Scaphium is a response to a place and event that I have only imagined. It began when tropical botanist Dr. Peter Wilkie from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, gave me a selection of beautiful dried fruits that he had brought back from an expedition to the rainforests of Malaysia. He told me about the tree where the fruits came from, and from that conversation the idea for this work was born. The work is a complex hanging of 100 porcelain forms inspired by the intricate fruit of the large tropical tree in the genus Scaphium that grows in the rain forests of South East Asia. Replicating these fruits in translucent porcelain, my installation captures the moment when the tree releases its papery fruits allowing them to flutter to the forest floor covering it in a thick carpet. As if in a tropical breeze, the piece continuously and gently moves with even the slightest breath, encapsulating the fragility and beauty of this event in the life-cycle of the tree. Scaphium was used to highlight the importance of protecting the special location where the tree grows and the real threat of deforestation that it faces. This was the focus of a series of combined talks with myself and Dr. Wilkie. Using the work as a starting point, we spoke to many groups including local school children about the importance and place plants have in our complex interconnected natural world.

“It was Lorna’s joy and enthusiasm for the specimens I was bringing back from the tropics that convinced me that through her art I might be able to tell the story of my science. It has been a truly inspiring partnership and it is clear that by celebrating the pure beauty of the natural world through her art we have managed to engage a wide audience with the science undertaken at the RBGE and its role in helping protect our natural world”. Dr. Peter Wilkie.

The work was first shown at the exhibition Making Space, Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh; and the Meffan Gallery Forfar; and I was then invited to exhibit the work at the 2017 Cheongju International Craft Biennale, S.Korea, as part of the U.K pavilion with the Crafts Council, British Council and Craft Biennale Scotland.

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