The Ocean at the End of the Lane
They came. High in the sky they were, and black, jet black, so black it seemed as if they were specks on my eyes, not real things at all. They had wings, but they were not birds, they were older than birds, and flew in circles and in loops and whorls, dozens of them, hundreds perhaps, and each flapping unbird, slowly, ever so slowly, descended... And then one of them dropped from the sky, dropped faster than the mind could imagine. I felt a rush of air beside me, saw a black, black jaw filled with needles and eyes that burned like gas jets...They landed, and I stared at them, but saw nothing but shadows. So many shadows. And they were staring at us.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman -
The hunger birds are coming. Swooping down on us all. Coming in to claim all to be eaten. They will swirl and whorl and loop and twist out from the sky and wrap themselves around you, clawing with twenty needle sharp wired teeth, or thousands or hundreds of claws, with beady eyes gleaming and glittering out from the darkness. These giant leathery unbirds, these shadows from the dark. They are coming for you.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a part of my Degree Show collection in my final year at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. This collection was titled: Lexicon Creatures, and it featured five of my favourite narratives that I transformed into three-dimensional , wearable creations. Details from each tale were picked out and dissected into parts that I found beautiful, fascinating or questioning, and I constructed my interpretations into the final creatures using a variety of techniques that I had learned during my education, including: nitric acid etching, 3D printing, electroforming, and a unique beading style that I developed.
While developing my degree show collection at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design I discovered that my niche skill within the world of jewellery-making is etching, especially hand-drawn nitric acid etches. Through this method of scraping away
lines of black etching fluid I fell in love with pattern drawing and this love has become my ink and paper illustrations. My portfolio of illustration is inspired by my penchant for the fantastical, and I often feature strange creatures within my highly patterned portraiture. The crisp black and white lines have become my signature style.