Dawyck on the Trail to Success

Dawyck on the trail to success

Around 18,000 visitors to Dawyck Botanic Garden, near Peebles, in the Scottish Borders, have already been treated to an enchanting new sculpture trail during the 2022 season. Now, as the winter closing date for the Garden grows near, people are being urged to visit soon if they want to see the inspirational works of art immersed enchantingly within a kaleidoscope of autumn colour.

A Delicate Balance is a collection of 20 sculptures exploring feelings and themes of strength and fragility in nature. These two opposing concepts often exist together in the natural world and beyond, for example, a spring bluebell shoot piercing a blanket of fallen winter leaves, or a daisy pushing through cracked concrete. This persistence, resilience and determination of plants to survive is intriguing. The artist, Susheila Jamieson, believes that everyone will see something different in the forms she has created. The intention of these artworks is to convey a sense of power, balance and harmony. Seventeen of the sculptures are up for sale, buyers will receive them at the end of the season. Commission from sales will be given to Dawyck to support the work of the Garden. 

All sculptures are hand carved in either dark grey Kilkenny or off-white Portland limestone. The sculpture named Groundforce, which is number eight on the trail, takes inspiration from the unseen root systems of plants. Often neglected and hardly ever seen, the roots seem to be the unsung heroes of the plant world. Tenacious and determined, they make their way through soil, anchoring and collecting nutrients. Number three on the trail is aptly named Balance of Nature, a subtle yet strong form aiming to convey a sense of strength and balance found in nature. A linear sculpture placed on purpose by the tallest trees in the Garden, aiming to encourage reflection about the power of the plant world.  

Susheila Jamieson, explains: “I am really happy with how the sculptures sit within the Garden. Working together with Graham Stewart, curator of Dawyck, has been great and the trail really is a truly collaborative project between the Garden and myself.” Susheila said of the process of making the sculptures: “They all start as quick sketches, but very quickly I go on to make models in clay. This allows me to explore forms more effectively. A very important part of my work process is ‘taking away’, I rub back into drawings, refine clay models by paring away at the clay. The carving process is all about taking away material to reveal a form. For me, the most exciting part is the beginning of a sculpture – roughing out the initial shape never ceases to amaze me.” 

Graham Stewart, Curator at Dawyck Botanic Garden has been amazed by the enthusiasm with which the Sculpture Trail has been received. He commented: “Dawyck Botanic Garden is truly a garden for all seasons and with such a variable and dynamic landscape which changes through the year, a visit to Dawyck is a real treat for the senses. Autumn at Dawyck is a feast of colour with all manner of reds, oranges and yellow hues providing as diverse a palette as you can imagine to really show off these amazing works of art to their very best”

Visitors are invited to wander around the Garden and follow the self-guided route, using a map provided, to see the magnificent pieces. The Garden will close for the winter on 30 November and will reopen on 1 February 2023.