Recently I had the opportunity to interview Nicky Bird, an artist who, among many exciting projects, has been undertaking a Land Mark residency with Art Walk Porty.
Her residency has focused on rediscovering and retelling the lost stories of the Buchan Pottery decorators, using found photographs and oral histories. The project is culminating in two weekends of events/exhibits, including an artist walk, site-specific artworks and a soundscape, which will be played in one of the pottery’s old kilns. Definitely worth a trip down to Portobello, if you needed any further encouragement to visit Edinburgh’s loveliest coastline.
We talked about artistic process, how Bird’s work treads the boundaries between art and heritage, and the importance of place and community in the project. You can read the interview in full here.
This is the first time I’ve interviewed an artist directly, and the process was fascinating. Though much of her work is site-specific, we met in Bird’s studio in Leith, where various projects and works-in-progress are tacked to the walls. She described how she doesn’t always manage to work in the studio – alongside her artist projects she teaches at Glasgow School of Art – but the images that surround her when she returns are good reminders that help her pick up where she left off.
I recorded the conversation and transcribed it into its interview format afterwards, and was reminded of how conversations jump around in a way the written word simply cannot. Though audio interviews, via the radio or through podcasts, are probably more personal and intimate, I liked the procedure of drilling down into our conversation and distilling Bird’s thoughts and motivations into a few paragraphs, though editing while keeping someone’s voice is always a challenge.
This is a new venture for me and I’m hoping it is the starting point for more interviews, written and recorded, which shine a light on the fascinating process of art making. I’m very grateful to Nicky Bird for her warmth and patience, and to Rosy Naylor, Curator of Art Walk Porty, for giving me this opportunity.