Work by Liza Green :: Poem by Gerda Stevenson
The Living Mountain Addresses a £5 Banknote
Nan Shepherd, born Peterculter, 1893, died Aberdeen, 1981; novelist, poet and writer of non-fiction, lecturer in English at Aberdeen College of Education; her non-fiction work The Living Mountain, written in 1941 but not published till 1977, describes the Cairngorms; first woman to appear on a Royal Bank of Scotland banknote, 2016.
From Quines by Gerda Stevenson
Titles of works:
Polymer Particles – stitched distressed paper, polymer medium, linen container (pictured above)
All I contain – calico, gesso, print, ink, stitch, calico container (not pictured)
Nan Shepherd’s classic is one of my favourite books, and coincidentally Susie Leiper, the calligrapher whose penmanship graces the new £5 banknote, is a friend. I am a keen hillwalker interested in the relationship between walking, drawing and creating art in the landscape.
I begin by drawing, writing and mark making in my sketchbook as ideas emerge. The poem is the voice of the mountain; the imagery describes the passage of the littering banknote, Nan Shepherd’s walks in the landscape, and the ever changing mood of the place. It ends with the words ‘all I contain…… held in her steady gaze’, Nan Shepherd discusses walking into a mountain, and that ‘books work from the inside out’. I saw links to stitch, textiles and drawing in the language of the poem and the book, both convey a sense that the mountains hold us and in turn we are caretakers of the mountains. I decided on a piece which could change in scale, expand or contract, be contained and held. Books being containers of a sort seemed appropriate. The first tiny concertina book, planned as a series to be contained in a box, didn’t have the abstract quality I sought. Instead I stitched and distressed sheets of blue paper, coated them with a polymer medium, ‘polymer particles’, sewed the pages into book forms and made a container. At the same time ideas for a long coiling ‘walking’ scroll were taking shape, designed to convey a sense of Nan Shepherd’s long walks and the journey of a piece of litter.
Both pieces can be shown in different ways as space dictates, or as with a conventional book, contained and held, working from the inside out,