Flowering on the Edge of the World

The new paintings presented in St Andrews Town Hall foyer are the result of a research trip to the Outer Hebrides made by artist Kirsty Lorenz in August 2013, funded with support from a Fife Opportunities’ Grant.  The trip was to visit the incredibly prolific wild flowers growing on the machair areas on the beautiful islands of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist.

Machair is rare, bio-diverse coastal grassland, unique to the north-western fringe of Europe.  It forms when sand with very high shell content blows landwards by prevailing westerly winds, creating a fertile, low-lying plain. For generations, man has worked and moulded machair in a low intensity crofting system that has created a mosaic of open habitats. Working the machair is a huge part of Gaelic culture, supporting communities and wildlife like no other habitat.

On this trip Kirsty gathered material and inspiration for creating a new body of work, in the form of photographs, sketches and small videos. These have been the starting point for the mixed media works and oil paintings on display here.

Ruth Morris (of Roobedo) is a Scottish based designer/maker who also takes her inspiration from the wild nature of the Outer Hebrides, and works with beautiful Harris Tweeds creating clothes and homewares.  Kirsty and Ruth first met in 2000, both working from a draughty studio in Leith (Coburg House Studios). Friends ever since, they have supported and admired each
others work over the years. When Kirsty began her ‘Flowering on the edge of the world’ project, the two artists decided to explore the potential of collaborating for the first time. Ruth has selected details from Kirsty’s work to print onto textiles and then stitched into it and created these (very) limited edition cushions and notebooks.