August: Six Birds Of The Coquet Valley, Northumberland
31 July 2008 – 31 August 2008
In 2008, I was commissioned to make a Billboard for the side of the
Waygood studios in Byker, Newcastle. For this piece, I drew on the local,
Northumbrian words for birds I had seen on walks in the Coquet Valley in
Northumberland. Of course, Newcastle was once a part of the old kingdom
of Northumbria, when the birds named here would, more than likely, have
been seen on or around the Ouseburn that runs through Byker.
A study of bird names presents an ‘unpredictable and haphazard richness’
with names drawn from ‘the very roots of our language’ British Birds: Their
Folklore, Names and Literature by Francesca Greenoak. The name Coquet
comes from the Old English cocc, meaning ‘wild bird’.
W I T T O L: Wheatear
C H I T T Y: Meadow Pipit
Q U E E S T: Woodpigeon
C A L L O O: Curlew
K E E L I E: Kestrel
W I Z Z L E: Dipper
To concide with the showing of the billboard, I presented a small and
related group of work in the gallery in Waygood called the Hanging Wall.