Hortisculpturist explained...

In her final year at Edinburgh College of Art (2004) Mairi spent the summer months sharing a studio in Orkney and volunteering with the Indoor horticulture department in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh where she found Nature as her muse!
This was a formative research period that wholly influenced her final degree show, subsequent creative endeavors and career.

Later on in 2004 Mairi began an HNC in 'Horticulture with plantsmanship' at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh;

"It felt natural to further my qualifications and at the same time feed my fascination with nature and really understand what was behind her splendour!"

When the position of 'Research Horticulturist' became available Mairi leapt at a chance to work within the eclectic and specialist Indoor Glass Department in RBGE. During her time there Mairi looked after the world's largest living collection of Vireya Rhododendron under glass and was awarded funds by the Merlin Trust to go on a plant collecting expedition to Borneo in 2006.

Mairi then married the two formal training backgrounds of horticulture and sculpture as she progressed to the new position as Curator of Exhibitions in the John Hope Gateway which involved working as part of the design team for the new £16million visitor centre at the garden. This also involved curating exhibitions for the three new, unique and challenging exhibition spaces.

"The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh not only provided fertile ground in which its many plant collections thrive, but for me too! I’ve travelled to Oman, Borneo and though Europe, as a Horticulturist and as a Curator… Undoubtedly all of these life experiences enhance and influence my professional practice as an artist..."

Photograph courtesy of L.Wilson RBGE

Further to her professional practice as an artist, Mairi continues to hone the plant preservation techniques she was developing during her Sculpture degree for use in exhibitions like the John Hope Gateway and Glenmore Visitor centers;

“It’s a joy to preserve plants – I need to use both sets of training in sculpture and horticulture combined to try and capture ‘that moment of life’ in the plant specimen I’m working on… I want it to remain morphologically correct as far as possible as well as ‘looking alive!”

Outside her career at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Mairi continued her professional practice as an artist making contemporary art work which has been exhibited in the Nottingham Dance festival and The Embassy Gallery in Edinburgh. Mairi’s first solo exhibition 'Biomimetic Spectra' opened at Atticsalt Gallery in 2007. Mairi left the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh at the start of 2010 in order to have more time to focus on her contemporary Art, plant preservation and freelance exhibition curation and creation.

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