Contemporary Art Practice Student Meg Miller used her intimate connection to Skye’s landscape, its ancient history and folklore, as well as an understanding of island life to create sculptural works for display in the Gray’s Degree Show 2019.
For her final-year project, Meg (47) has conceived a collection of sculptural works situated in the outside environment, forged using locally salvaged polystyrene. In contrast, she has established an inside space containing various assemblages, prints and drawings for quiet contemplation.
Meg says: “The work for this exhibition is intensely personal, yet at the same time universal: a deep mapping of the human condition. Inspired by beehives, sacred geometry, ritual and early civilizations, my main accomplices have been Apis mellifera (the honey bee) and gobar (the gift from the cow).
“My research is ongoing and very much rooted in everyday life. Extracting from a variety of resources, including archival materials, travel and time spent in nature, my work is comparable to a honeybee collecting vital essences from different flora. I gather ideas from philosophical, mystical and artistic disciplines alongside life experiences.
“My ideas are my pollen. I transform them into something more refined.”
Meg chose to study Painting but quickly changed to Contemporary Art Practice to work with other disciplines, and felt that the course allowed the freedom and fluidity to do so.
“It was imperative that I carry out my own exploration, unrestricted,” said Meg. “I decided to accept Gray’s offer of study because at the interview they were enthusiastic and encouraging of me as a mature student. When I turned up for the interview, I was greeted as the ‘Beekeeper from Skye’. They made me feel immediately at home, and took the time to really engage with my work.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the course; the whole experience has been extremely positive and has taken me to areas that have left me feeling both fulfilled and challenged.
“The tutors and technicians have been at hand to guide and support throughout the whole period, encouraging me to make the most of the facilities and any opportunities that became available.
“I feel as if my creativity has been nurtured in exactly the right environment. There has been a kind of symbiotic relationship between the students, the technicians and tutors whereby we learn a lot from each other by simply sharing. I’ve really enjoyed the freedom to investigate, gaining extensive skillsets, and building up friendships and connections over the last four years.”
Meg described her experiences over these last four years as a springboard for establishing a new practice back in her familiar environment on the Isle of Skye.
“It’s been a huge sacrifice in terms of shelving my other commitments – family, garden, bees, and yoga classes. However, everyone has been fully supportive, and I now look forward to catching up with all these things when I return home.
“Over the last couple of years, I have been preparing a new workspace in Skye, and after graduation I will be focusing on this project. In the future I hope to offer opportunities for other creative practitioners in the form of workshops and residencies, while continuing to work on my own practice and collaborations with others.”