Sculpture brings sense of peace

New sculpture 'Gentle Presence' installed at the Dawyck Botanic Garden. They are of Susheila Jamieson, her aunt Margaret Jamieson and Garden Curator Graham Stewart. It was commissioned by Margaret Jamieson from Peebles (left) and crafted by her niece Susheila (centre) pictured with garden curator Graham Stewart.
New sculpture 'Gentle Presence' installed at the Dawyck Botanic Garden. They are of Susheila Jamieson, her aunt Margaret Jamieson and Garden Curator Graham Stewart. It was commissioned by Margaret Jamieson from Peebles (left) and crafted by her niece Susheila (centre) pictured with garden curator Graham Stewart.

A new sculpture created by a local artist for her aunt has been honoured with pride of place at Dawyck Botanic Garden near Peebles.

Broughton artist Susheila Jamieson created the artwork at the request of her aunt, Margaret Jamieson.

Crafted from a one tonne piece of Portland limestone, Gentle Presence, as the sculpture is known, was created by Susheila as an attempt “to portray a sense of movement and calming energy”.

Now installed in the centre of the 25 hectare woodland garden overlooking the Scrape Burn and Dawyck’s tallest trees, it will be enjoyed by the more than 30,000 people who visit each year.

At the beginning of last year, Margaret Jamieson, aged 95, decided she would like to work with her niece Susheila on a design for a sculpture to be situated in a public place.

When they approached garden curator Graham Stewart about Dawyck as a possible location, he welcomed the idea.

Graham then worked with Susheila and Margaret on the possible locations as well as the design.

Susheila, who lives in nearby Broughton, explained: “The idea to develop a piece of artwork came via another commission that I had made for a friend of Maragaret’s.

“Margaret decided that she would like to work with me to develop a piece of larger artwork that could be enjoyed by everyone. Initial thoughts of siting the work in Peebles were quickly dismissed, and I suggested Dawyck because we both know and love the garden. Margaret lives nearby and I had an exhibition at the garden many years ago.

“Graham was enthusiastic and so the project developed. Throughout all the initial discussions and looking at sketches and models that I made Margaret tells me that she felt lit up and filled with a sense of excitement.”

Of her 95-year-old aunt, Susheila said“She is a remarkable woman with tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the arts. She feels that the project has been 100% successful.

“Inspiration for the artwork came from discussion about nature and energy and in particular a very delicate and yet definite flowing hand movement that Margaret used to describe how the sculpture should feel - it was very definitely about flowing energy.’’

Graham added: “Gentle Presence is a wonderful addition to the garden and I am sure it will be appreciated by everyone who sees it.

“The delicate flowing lines of the Portland limestone sculpture suggest ideas of metamorphosis, evolution and transition, all naturally occurring processes which can be seen in a dynamic garden environment such as Dawyck.’’

Gentle Presence was recently included in Airborne, an exhibition of new work created by Susheila at the Fergusson Gallery in Perth before being moved to its permanent home at Dawyck. Susheila was the 2015 recipient of the JD Fergusson Award.

As well as exhibiting her work in both group and solo shows, Susheila, who was born and brought up in Dundee, has worked extensively over the past 10 years with schools and communities developing artwork for indoor and outdoor display. She has taken part in numerous residencies and international symposia including those as far afield as Germany, Poland and Kazakhstan.