On 15th May, the moment after requesting of Sally Reaper, Director of the Look-Again Festival and RGU Arts & Heritage team, the opportunity to exhibit at the Concourse Gallery in the Sir Ian Wood Building at Robert Gordons University, my Master's dissertation was put on hold in order to concentrate on the solo exhibition SPHAGNUM. Elements of which, will also be shown at my final Masters Degree Show in August.
The show took six weeks to plan from start to finish with help from collections assistant George Cheyne, a seasoned expert in the set up of the Concourse Gallery events, although, in reality, the show was a year in the making prior to that.
The exhibition depicts an overview of my visual research in Sphagnum moss including; the wet and dry Sphagnum moss macro photographs shot with a digital camera in the photographic studio at Gray's School of Art, with assistance from Technician Services Officer (TSO), Fergus Connor. A selection of the microscopic images showing the intricate structures and patterns within Sphagnum moss was photographed using the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences laboratory microscopes with assistance from TSO, Emily Hunter.
As mentioned in earlier posts within this blog (1) (2) (3) (4) (5), I have been investigating the Sphagnum moss gathered and processed in the North East of Scotland during the era of the First World War, which is depicted by an infographic map that shows some of the moss locations, the towns and the communities involved in this vital activity.
In more recent years up to 2019, looking at what is happening now with regards to Sphagnum moss in the North East of Scotland, there is conservation underway to reclaim many of the drained or depleted Sphagnum moss bogs or peat bogs. One I recently visited is the Red Moss of Netherley, Stonehaven, where evidence is seen of barriers installed approximately a decade ago in order to rewet the bog. The surrounding area now has lush green pools filled with recovered Sphagnum.
Fiona Swapp lives and works in Aberdeen. She has over 30 years experience as a graphic designer and botanical artist.
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