Press Release: Edge - the Art of Beachcombing and the Mysteries of the Ocean


Phantom tideline of curios to be created in a scenic Scottish cove

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Photograph by Colin Hattersley
Photograph by Colin Hattersley

Mysterious objects washed up by the sea will form the heart of a temporary artwork on a picturesque Scottish beach.

Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges have spent months scouring the shorelines of Dumfries and Galloway for detritus and small treasures that have been lost, abandoned and thrown away.

And from 27 to 29 May they will be used to form EDGE, an installation designed to conjure up tales of parted lovers, lost sailors and forgotten voyages.

EDGE is part of the 15th annual Spring Fling – Scotland’s premier open studios visual art and craft event, which involves nearly 100 artists and makers across the region.

Robbie and Jo have also made, found and been given other curiosities to add to their beachcombing finds.

Visitors to the secluded cove at Carrick Foreshore, near Knockbrex, will encounter a phantom tideline with everything from suitcases (still packed for journeys), a birdcage and a collection of brass instruments, through to a jewellery box, a working phonograph, an astronaut’s helmet and even an old church organ. Hidden within the tideline will be boxes and trunks that visitors will be able to open and explore.

All are bleached ivory and white, with many now encrusted by limpets.

And for those who go along at 3.30pm on the Saturday, there will be specially written sea shanties and other songs, from Scottish country punk band The Hoolits.

Jo said: “Beaches have always marked the border between different worlds, and we have a fascination with the objects washed up there and the stories they tell.

“They have the power to fire our imaginations and get us wondering how long they had been adrift, who had been the last person to touch them and why they let them go.

“EDGE will be visually striking, stretched out in a white ribbon along the beach for people to explore, and even to do what we have done, scavenge bits they like and take them home at the end of the project”

Jo and Robbie also hope the installation will get people thinking about the reasons behind people’s voyages to and from Scotland.

Robbie said: “The sea has always been a place of danger, mystery and myth. Tales from the rich history of this specific coastal site from 18th century emigration to smuggling and shipwrecks, are woven into the work.

“People are still embarking on perilous journeys across oceans to escape persecution or in the hope of a better life somewhere over the horizon line.

“The objects in the EDGE will be the fragments of many stories, some of them playful and fantastical, and others of peril and exile.”

EDGE is an Upland public art project commissioned for Spring Fling 2017.

Joanna Macaulay, Events and Exhibitions Manager for Upland Arts Development, which runs Spring Fling, said: “Jo and Robbie have really captured the essence of our relationship with the sea and the stories of so many other lives that we glimpse for a moment when we find something washed up on a beach.

“EDGE promises to be a really magical piece of work and will give visitors the chance to discover a fabulously beautiful corner of Dumfries and Galloway.”

Visit EDGE at the Carrick foreshore during Spring Fling 2017 (find the exact location here).

For full details of everyone taking part in Spring Fling see the website at