This section is brandnew, so no historical imagery or childhood drawings! It's meant to host information about past exhibitions and projects, in order to create space for the new ones in the exhibition and gallery sections.

An Afternoon with Marilyn

The Borders Textile Towerhouse, April-June 2023






Marilyn is the splendid name of a vintage industrial sock machine, given to her by her long-standing caretaker, which I found in Johnstons of Elgin's knitting mill.  She became the protagonist of my recent exhibition in The Borders Textile Towerhouse in Hawick.  Please find below my portraits of the machine, further information about the project, and lots of drawings in the Drawings section.  


Hawick mills, cashmere, wool industry
Marilyn I
Scotland, Borders, cashmere
Marilyn II
knitting industries, scotland
Marilyn III

About the Exhibition

Given the opportunity to exhibit in Borders Textile Towerhouse, an exploration of Hawick’s textile mills seemed the obvious choice for the project.


In November and December 2022 I had the chance to work in Johnstons of Elgin’s premises - and found Marilyn, the vintage sock machine, which then was still in use along with her younger, more modern and efficient sisters. Of all the exciting machinery and things I found in the mill, nothing compared to her … and I kept coming back.


 Marilyn displays all her beauty in plain sight: most strikingly the big barrel at the front, programmed with the pattern to be knitted, slowly moving in irregular intervals, a number of vertical rods, reading the programme and conveying it to the circular knitting facility; then the yarn’s confluence, the big chain, and lots of moving bits and parts all around, all held together by a myriad of nuts and bolts. Above all, she has got a name, engraved into a little plate mounted onto her! I was lucky to meet the caretaker and namegiver of the machine, who had been a mechanic in the mill for four decades and was still looking after it.


 As a result, many of the works in the show go back to these mill sessions while other drawings originate from other, abandoned or out-of-use mills in Hawick. Turning back into my studio, I made Marilyn the sole subject of a series of oil paintings emphasising aspects of the machine. It was not my intention to show her actual functioning (which is highly complex and hypnotic). I wanted to show her beauty and vibrancy and her almost animate aura.


 Unfortunately, Marilyn broke down some weeks ago, and it might be the end of her era, and those memories of brass, oil and steam.


 Having lived in Hawick for 18 months now, I am somewhere in the middle between being new in town and not being so new any more. Having seen the inside of a textile mill certainly added to my life-in-Hawick experience!


 Among the oldest of my family pictures are the ones of my great-grandfather’s workshop in Lübeck near the Baltic Sea, where he produced posaments and trims (cords and dressings), as well as those of my grandmother’s weaving mill, tiny-scale in comparison to Hawick’s factories. My father grew up combing wool and threading heddles, and with a sheep in the garden! Some of his memories he passed on to me, and thus I keep my own little share in the textile industry.


I would like to thank Johnstons of Elgins knitting mill for hosting me in their premises in Hawick, for their confidence and for the splendid opportunity to gain insight into the craft and art of knitting.

"My preferred mediums are drawing and painting, and for a period, portrait painting was a main part of my practice. In my recent project I drew in a local knitting mill, and many of the resulting drawings are actual portraits of things. They get the same treatment as any human portrait customer.


I draw machines because I like to be challenged by a complex appearance, by movement, and most of all because I imagine them as humanoid creatures. I can see the outside of a thing, but what are the inner workings of an item, a being, a place? Knowing that I don't know, I feel free to play: to see the comic side of things, to assume pride and stance in a machine, to compose a story.


I like to work quickly, outpacing thoughts or objections that might get in the way.  Often I produce many versions of a subject, until I find an expression that corresponds with my idea of it. I like to allow a drawing to stay provisional, a possibility among others."


About the Town

The Cornucopia Room/Unit 4, Hawick, May 2022






I moved to Hawick in Autumn 2021. Painting the town, of which I knew very little, was a great way of getting to know it. I felt very lucky to get the opportunity to show the results in Unit 4/The Cornucopia Room, the following May 2022.