On High: in Hope



Our work for this show is based on the flight of swifts. We were fascinated by how swifts live their lives on the wing until they need to mate and how this is evocative of a more abstract quest for a balance between soaring and being still. Images of some of the pieces (taken by David Lindsay) can be seen above as well as a short film by Clare Dearnaley below.




A poem has been written from which the titles for the mobiles have been taken:

Swift as light

The light moves fast revealing contoured lines,
It flocks the moors then leaves and flees elsewhere.
The swifts are swooping, shrieking as they climb,
To feed and sleep and mate and glide in air.
This light moves quickly over slabs of grey
And water granite steely wet on high.
Magnetic luminescence shocks the day
On scythe shaped wings they dip to sip and fly.
Their ceaseless, tireless soaring day and night
Untethers swifts from customary rest.
Unfit to perch they’re caught within their flight:
Ebullience tempered by need to nest.

Elation, stillness: balanced, intertwined, –
Like light that’s fled, – so difficult to find.



This joint show with Rachel Shaw Ashton has been curated by jaggedart in collaboration with Circus. It will be held at the exhibition space at Circus (58 Marylebone High Street, London W1H 5HT) and will run from the 12th October until the 22nd December 2017, Monday to Friday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m..




“…The moment a swiftlet leaves the nest is a departure without parallel in the natural world. Hauling itself on its tiny feet to the lip, the wings rowing it forward, the young bird pushes itself out into space and falls. Tumbling down, it gains speed, opens it wings, and flies – for the next four years. The wings are too long and the legs too short for a grounded bird to regain the air. There will be no perching, no landfall, nothing but the sky and permanent motion for thousands and thousands of miles. Only when the bird has reached full maturity, and found a mate, will it come down and breed…

…Devil birds, they used to be called, for their screaming, for their crossbow shape and their unearthly disdain of the earth the rest of us inhabit. We humans walk on the world, birds fly from place to place across it, but only the swift barely touches it. It is as though they are of a different order of being. They are the only birds that do everything on the wing: they eat, drink, preen, mate, gather nesting materials and sleep in flight. They go as high as ten thousand feet to rest, in a sort of reverie of motion, a semi-conscious glide through the darkness…”

Excerpt from:

The uncommon Common Swift

As the RSPB declares that the swift is in decline, Horatio Clare writes in praise of an extraordinary bird.

The Telegraph, Monday 4th September 2017