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Can't see the trees for the wood
Collaboration with woodcarver, Gavin Smith, at his home in Corgarff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Slow Prototypes collaboration series, Scottish Sculpture Workshop, Lumsden Scotland, 2012

ARTICLE, Slow-prototype as Forms of Attentiveness and Escape by Paul O'Neill
To Visit please call 01464 861372 or email office@ssw.org.uk.

How can a collaboration between an incoming contemporary artist, and a local artist-artisan, happen beyond the default position of the first asking the latter to objectify an idea? How can the skills and practice of the contemporary artist affect the skills and practice of the artist-artisan, and vice-versa? How can the traditional hierarchical relationship turn into a collaborative one, with mutual input and affectation?

The Scottish Sculpture Workshop arranges a collaboration between myself and Gavin Smith, a local woodcarver, whom I've never met. Guided by intuition, we hike, charter a flight, eat, drink and work. We begin by clearing the barnyard, which is overrun with weeds and littered with large stacks of rotting wood. To salvage the boards, we stack them in the form of a 5-ton Arts & Crafts-style house. A tunnel leads to a staircase, which ascends to the roof, from which Gavin can overlook his clutter and view the landscape beyond. An injured bird finds shelter underneath the stack and new 6- and 8-legged tenants make their homes between the boards.




Drawings of intitial ideas and woodcarvings

Models for yard/stack reorganization

Conversations in flight