Katie Anderson

Artist based in South West Scotland; interested in people, places, materials and collaborative practice.

Tag: Environment

Sundials and the Tattie Season

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I’ve been growing an interest in sundials and other seasonal graphs, marking the passage of time, the use of the land, the growing seasons and the lighting conditions. Subtle shifts in our everyday environment that can go un-noticed as the years gradually shift through changing seasons.

The recent wild weather brought with it a renewed awareness of our surrounding climates, as journeys were cut short, events and activities postponed, bread vanished from the supermarkets and the news flashed amber – red – amber. With the wintery weather, everything takes a little longer, and children gather on snowy ridges, in parks and playgrounds, rendered new, interesting and white. Our immediate environments and places become new – whitewashed, the sound deadened slightly by the weight of the snow. It’s good to see places fresh. As the weather recedes, temperatures climb, and the snow leaves – it’s good to hold onto the sense of freshness and awareness, the paths traversed and routes taken, the potential and possibility in the ordinary, that arrived with the first of the snow.

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This sundial stone lives in Dumfries Museum and is a beautiful piece, locating itself by surrounding landmarks and distant places, marking the calendar months, as well as the zodiac, and various others.

In creating new calendars and place markers for Lochside, I’m hoping to include not just significant tattie places near and far, but also the growing seasons for different varieties of potatoes. The growth of potatoes, adapted from the original homes in the high mountains of South America to suit our climates and changing sun patterns, measure the passing of seasons and the changes in the everyday, from early Spring right through to Christmas, if you plant your late varieties carefully.

The tattie season is upon us.



After a hectic couple of weeks, a series of five wall murals have now been completed for the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, with huge thanks to painters Louise Todd and Kirstin McEwan for all their help. Each one is hand painted in colours complimenting the existing ward and departments palette.

The murals, which will form the backdrops for the main artworks to arrive in the New Year, have been placed in both A+E and Maternity, and are based on contour maps of various locations around Dumfries and Galloway, from Kirkcudbright, to Galloway, Annandale to Criffel – I’ve hopefully gotten a reasonable spread across such a large region, and happy with how they are looking.





This project is part of Staying and Waiting, a commission by Dress for the Weather to create new artworks for the waiting areas around DGRI, with support from the Holywood Trust.



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Works in Progress – Can’t See The Wood for the Trees

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It’s interesting how ideas grow and change as they develop. The growth of an idea from initial concept through the various layers is a bit complex in the artistic process. Pieces are added, stretched, shrunk, thrown out entirely; materials change, colour palettes shift and move, scale, size, and the actual point of the whole thing in the first place can get lost en route and magically reappear on reflection after it’s been at the back of a metaphorical cupboard for a couple of months.

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I am not a digital artist by any stretch of the imagination. I was dragged, kicking and screaming into the digital world realising post-graduation that an artist career without a computer in the 21st century was a physical impossibility. I love the insignificant and the small, indelible and slight mark of our hands to be left on everything. Illustrator and Photoshop, genius as they are as programmes, remove to varying degrees, the mark of the maker.

This project became an investigation into how best to hold onto this essence of artist. I’m sure a designer or illustrator could have easily illustrated this task, but stubborn as I have a reputation for, the idea of creating a repetitive image to be used across nearly 300 bedrooms was a challenge that appealed.

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The practical challenge, aside from the large scale repetition (image must be the same throughout all rooms – although this was negotiated to three variations by the end of the project), was the available space and shape available in each room – 800mm x 2500mm, and the material – digitally printed onto a medicare-approved plastic. This is possibly one of the least attractive materials I have ever worked with. The inspiration drew from the local area, and the view from the intensive care rooms to the back of the building, of forests, half hidden in the mist, and of – closer up – the tree barks, lichens and mosses that make of the close up detail of our woodlands.



Then came my introduction to the beautiful world of coloured vinyls, with thanks to Sam Sparrow, and later to Elite Display for helping me to get started with these designs.

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I LOVE coloured vinyl. It has a great smell, great tactile-quality and looks great layered up. (Please vinyl manufacturers, more colour variety in transparent vinyls though!). The grey vinyl was my absolute favourite. Too bold though, in their original colours, for the environment.

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Layering up by hand and enjoying the play between vinyl and mount board (difficult to view through these scans I appreciate) – the hand of the artist was still squeezing back in there. I loved the interface and relationship between the hand drawn ink lines and the glossy vinyls.

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So began a long battle with colour. And composition. And other things. Huge thanks at this point to Euan Adamson who spent some time in my studio scanning and copying multiple variations of works for me at short notice.

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And then again.

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Patience is a virtue. Or something.

Now give all of the ideas and work time to stew, slow-cooker style for a period of months before they are whisked off to the great digital printers in the sky.. or the South of England somewhere in this case.

If you’d like to see the final works, you will need to visit a sick relative staying in one of the bedrooms in the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary. This project is part of Staying and Waiting, a commission by Dress for the Weather to create new artworks for the waiting areas around DGRI, with support from the Holywood Trust.



Wave Decay, Sanctuary Headed

Really excited to announce that Wave Decay will be making a second appearance, later this year at Sanctuary. Having first created the sound and sculptural installation in collaboration with Justin K Prim last summer for Milkbank House, (details available here) the work is now being redeveloped for a new location in the Galloway Forest Park.

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Full details about the project at Sanctuary here

Running on the Backs of Whales

Beautiful weekend was spent in Galloway avoiding the rain showers, running across the flat and empty Solway, and revisiting the Stove’s Ferry Bell in Creetown.

Also, very excitingly, I went to check out a potential new location for an installation work later in the year. ‘Like the backs of whales’ was the general descriptor we went out on the search for.


And so it seemed. Huge granite spines crack open the surrounding greenery, heaving gently through the landscape.


There’s a tiny human (full size) for scale reference.

The surfaces and textures are beautiful, and the sense of scale about the place before it opens up to reveal the valley and burn running below are perfect.

The site might be well known to you if you are a particularly adventurous mountain biker, as the McMoab Stones feature on the area’s more hardcore mountain biking routes, but it is a beautiful site to explore on foot equally.

There’s quite a bit of logistics and detail to figure out next, but I am IN LOVE with this location. (Thanks Robbie, for the hint.)

Stay tuned.

Durational Time, and Place


These have grown steadily from a rough idea, exploring genetic chromosome mapping, clockwork mechanisms, and tree rings. The outer ring, made up of 23 bands has grown visually from similar circular chromosome maps, abstracted back as one of a series of slow moving rings. The piece, to move in it’s own timeframe forms the first in a series of works focused on staying and waiting within a hospital environment.


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Thanks to Samuel at the Dumfries MakLab for helping me get started with these. I’m currently on the hunt for someone clever with mechanisms and kinetic artworks… if that’s you, drop me an email!


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Did you know yellow is a bad colour for those suffering from migranes? Neither did I. Apparently it’s a much more anxious colour than it’s sunny disposition might suggest..!


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I shouldn’t like these colours. But I really like these colours. These colours are in the process of being toned down appropriately. Turns out I like coloured vinyl more than I thought I would.

How can we influence the experience people have when in hospitals? Can works be stimulating and engaging but still remain sensitive to the needs of all hospital users? How can works engage with the fluctuating community of a hospital environment? What is the role of art in hospitals? How does creative environment interact with the medical one?

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To be able to locate ourselves within a wider sense of landscape, I’ve started to look at different scales and details of our surrounding environment when reflecting on the spaces where people will be spending long periods of time.

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A transparent vinyl landscape to cross the windows, letting in light and seeing through, bringing colour into the room during sunnier days.

Conversation has largely grown around about balance and challenge, finding an intersection of interest and placing a contesting object or artwork at the point of meeting and testing the possible responses. Hospital typography and signage, floor materials and the typical vinyl backed hospital furniture, mysteries of infection control and some violent cleaning products – the language of a hospital is a new one full of new approaches and conversations.

The authentic material – real materials of the earth, are rarely present in our hospitals, with the predominate choices being vinyl surfaces (floors, walls, some ceilings, most furniture), laminates and plastics, the sense of identity through tactile experience is pretty limited. This calls for a whole new set of approaches, as these materials are all invested in the easy-clean approach of a busy and constant working environment, and alternatives are eschewed in favour of more reliable constants.

Things are getting interesting.


Huge thanks to Dress for the Weather for the opportunity to work on this so far, and looking forward to the next stages!