Commission: West Calder High School ‘Memory Jars’ Interior Artwork, 2018

Plaster cubes in glass jars, oak, glass cabinets

In 2018, Kate was commissioned by West Lothian Council to create artwork for the new West Calder High School. She was asked to create a Public Art Commission sculpture for the main entrance to the school and further sculptures for inside.

Indoor Artwork

The indoor artworks were developed directly through workshops held with WCHS students. Kate asked the classes to create ‘Memory Jars’. The students carved plaster cubes to represent ‘knowledge units’. Student designs and ideas inspired the final sculpture cubes. These were hand carved by Kate and stored in six glass jars, displayed in two double-sided glass cabinets.

There are 78 unique and individual plaster cubes stored in these glass ‘Memory Jars’. They are located within WCHS in the Learning Plaza. The cubes explore themes of how we process and store knowledge, experiences and memories. The first three jars look at how we learn from nature and history, for example, represented by the ammonite fossil above. Other cubes symbolise land, air and sea, with themes from biology, geology, astronomy, geography, organisms and organic growth. The second cabinet’s three jars address how we learn from one another. As such, here the viewer can see cubes that represent brain activity, sound waves, neurons, connectivity and communication.

The cubes are intricate with fine hand carved relief detail. The work embraces delicate patterns, textures, forms and images. This provides staff, pupils and visitors the opportunity for long-term engagement. The viewer is encouraged to take a closer look each time to discover something new and thought provoking. The cubes invite careful exploration in order to decipher their messages.

Please see the page, ‘Gateway’, for details of the outdoor sculpture created for West Calder High School. This formed second part of the Public Art Commission for WCHS.