Work Case Studies ‘take a cup o' kindness’

Bookwork ‘take a cup o' kindness’ 2016 (limited edition of ten)

In December 2016 I made a small bookwork for the Edinburgh Printmakers winter exhibition Time Is All Around. This show was the result of a collaboration between St Columba’s Hospice and Edinburgh Printmakers. When faced with a brief that suggested I create work on the theme of ‘mortality and humanity’ my first instinct was to run for the hills but personal experience of Scottish hospices and an appreciation of their value reeled me in.

When dealing with death—for let’s call a spade a spade—words often feel inadequate. Death is certainly a ‘difficult issue’. But one word kept resurfacing in my mind as I tussled with many aspects of the remit for this show—that word was ‘kindness’.

What’s the point? A question I often ask myself. Down at the unyielding bones of things love and kindness feel like the point. 

So I’ve made a small wordless concertina book. Sharing a drink is as old as the hills and a global gesture of friendship. From something as plain yet vital as a reviving glass of water through warming cups of tea and coffee, fizzy toasts at ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’ to a galvanizing brandy in extremis, we take a cup o’ kindness1 to share the burden during bad times, celebrate together during good times, reminisce about old times and often simply to spend time with those we love and care for. Cheers.

1 From the Scots poem Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns, 1788

Time is All Around took place at Edinburgh Printmakers: 28 October - 23 December 2016 followed by a satellite show of selected works at St Columba's Hospice between 18th January and 27th February 2017.