The Second Magpie

Posts Tagged ‘northern ireland’

Free Art Friday – R Space Gallery

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2013 at 14:49

halfullemptysarahhutchinson burke




Hope Less _thesecondmagpie


Free Art Friday is taking place at R Space Gallery, Lisburn, Northern Ireland, today and the piece directly above is one I submitted which will hopefully be going to a nice new home if the postal service carried it there on time. Having not been well for the past month I thought it was time for some positive thinking (with an upside down option for the negatives of course) in the form of splashing about with paint.

These half full/empty designs began with tags and the playing card which I posted to tumblr and has since gained over 100, 000 notes there. I often send the smaller tags in parcels of mail art and Jessica Gowling of Nature’s My Friend has found a wonderful way of distributing these, check out her blog here:

Nature Through Art Exhibition – Castle Espie

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2013 at 16:14

Puffin Along _ Sarah Hutchinson Burke2

Gone Fishing _ Sarah Hutchinson Burke2

The two pieces above, Gone Fishing and Puffin Along are currently in exhibition at Castle Espie. The exhibition opened last Saturday 16th March and runs until the 28th of April.

Castle Espie is part of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust founded in the UK in 1946. It’s located on the Co. Down coast in Northern Ireland, an area I know and love. The shores of Strangford Lough attract many wild birds and animals; they have over 100 exotic and native species of water-birds.

I read somewhere recently that a lot of people will never see a live kingfisher during their lifetime. So far I think I am among that number so it is now on my lengthy ‘to-do’ list.

You can visit the Castle Espie website for more information:

Exhibition details:

Mountains, Beaches and Hand-Made Wings

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2011 at 04:48

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent quite a lot of my time in the Mourne Mountains where my aunt owns a house and lets her adoring relations stay provided we don’t cause it to tumble around our ears.

Spending time away from phones, internet and all forms of communication apart from the odd pigeon makes life seem so perfect. I packed three bags of ‘art stuff’, including a sack of cuttings for collage, my perpetually packed suitcase, a lot of shoes and headed north.

My time spent there almost always seems to involve sunshine, the view from the back of the house shown in the first photo and upstairs, on a clear night, the moon makes a shiny pathway across the sea. I tried to walk it once.

I sketched, took photos and of course spent hours on the beach collecting anything that caught my eye, like a proper magpie. When I wasn’t doing that I walked towards the mountains collecting flowers for pressing, how very Victorian of me.

Seaside towns always seem to have the strangest things to offer, I picked up a Polaroid camera for a quid, a book called ‘Mr Middleton Suggests’ from the 1940’s which I plan to turn into an altered book and Rudolf Arnheim’s ‘Visual Perception’ for 50p. My greatest find was perhaps the box of buttons which I found in a thrift shop, now I just need to find something to embellish so they don’t end up sitting in my studio for 50 years.

I’m currently making a zine inspired by my rock finds and I hope to have it ready in the next couple of days so I can celebrate International Zine Month before July runs off into history.

The Good Old Days

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2011 at 03:59

It’s been a long time since I updated my blog. I expect the new year would have seen some bits and piece straying here if things had been different. Two days after Christmas my granddad was taken very ill and brought to hospital where he passed away seven weeks later. They were the longest and most confusing seven weeks of my life.

My granddad was everything a grandfather should be and more, he told us endless stories, beat us at football, played the ghost at Halloween, won every snowball fight, told us (most-likely) poisonous plants were good for us and never forgot April Fool’s Day. My sisters, my cousins and I spent endless summer days on the fruit farm that my grandparents ran, eating more strawberries than can be good for you and accidentally setting their house on fire. I’ve spent the last few months thinking about him, missing him every single day.

Above are some photos of the good old days and more, the flowers came from his funeral wreath, gathered by myself and my grandmother for pressing the next day.

And this is why I sojourn here

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2009 at 00:41


I think perhaps one of my favourite paintings is The Lady of Shalott. Maybe its even the reason I have my hair this colour. A print of the painting hangs on the wall of the room I’m staying in. Its quite easy to imagine you are in the painting instead of merely looking at it.

This morning I walked about mile photographing anything and everything. Especially the rhododendron flowers. The blue ones are my favourite.


I haven’t felt like painting yet. I’ve been reading a very disappointing book. So far the ghost hasn’t appeared and the sea monsters appearance was not that amazing at all. If it doesn’t get better soon Ill swap it for A Beginners Guide to Paganism or Witchcraft for Dummies. Other choices.

Yesterday I bought some fantastic fabrics and a couple of very magic jackets. It was raining. Its dry today but the mist hasn’t cleared from the mountain I should be able to see from my window. I can hear the two resident magpies though, so its looking good.

Picked up some awesome green velvet this afternoon and a book of knitting patterns. I think I might really start knitting at gigs. I also saw quite a few nice sculptures, not amazingly impressive but still nice.

I was reliably informed that I was 10,919 miles from Sydney, always good to know when I’m going round the world in eighty days.





The mountain still hasn’t made an appearance but I’ve just photographed a cloud with a gold lining….which reminds me, I picked up a copy of National Geographic today, The Adventures of Marco Polo. It has some quality collage material.

I think I shall wander into the local art gallery tomorrow and perhaps some antique shopping. Oh! I saw a pig today. I thought it was real but it turned out to be an ornamental pig. I ended the day with the hugest shooting star, obviously I made a wish, a selfish one, but that’s my new way of life.



Spent a rather interesting day at a reservoir, Silent Valley. No birds sing there, legend has it that they left when blasting began for the dam.

“And this is why I sojourn here, Alone and palely loitering, Though the sedge is withered from the lake, And no birds sing.”



The dam reminds me of The Great Wall of China. I sat down with about twenty ducks while they had their afternoon nap. One stood and slept in a puddle, reminded me of myself on one of those ridiculous tours I go on. Oh, I met a goat up the mountain at the dam. A Billy goat. Didn’t seem to mind crossing the bridge so there obviously weren’t any trolls hiding underneath. He was a rather disagreeable old thing with a wicked sense of humour.




I don’t seem to have any bruises since my fall down the stairs last night. How did I manage that?

I took far too many photographs today, mostly for research; never know when Ill need them.

I ventured to a rather cold beach, too cold for sculptures. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Sun maybe. The clouds have finally lifted off the mountain today.





Finally I have purchased a heat gun, I’m looking forward to lots of exciting plastic projects when I get home. I picked up some cool patterned feathers as well. Struggled with my conscience over them of course, I would prefer to find them and dye them myself, not that I’m a purist; I simply don’t like the idea of them coming from poor dead birds. I bought a pack of brightly coloured straws and proceeded to spend quite some time weaving them. Strangely, I found a sack of seashells. Not at the beach. The idea that the shells come from poor dead shellfish is not that appealing either but at least I’m not supporting a market by finding something.

This evening I walked up a track towards the mountain. I got distracted by an old cottage just off the track so of course, being curious, I wandered in. Its full of old books, those amazing old kettles and a range. The wardrobe still has clothes hanging inside. A beautiful cat made an appearance outside, I so badly wanted to borrow her for the next day or two. I miss intelligent company. Will probably visit the house tomorrow and take some books for collaging.

I finished that ridiculous book today too. Ill never get that time back. The sea monster trails off into oblivion. The only good thing and the author doesn’t make use of it. Whatever happened to story telling?



Its been a hell of a funny day. Picked up my beloved collage material from that cottage, old religious leaflets with graphic illustrations of hell. I must say it looks very attractive. I did attempt to visit the art gallery and antique shop only to find it closed and probably Not Very Good. To put it politely.



It was a beautiful day and the beach was calling. I did start a half-hearted stone sculpture, it might have become something if I hadn’t spotted a baby seal. I waded through a rock pool in my boots to get some good photographs of him. He was awkwardly flipping over rocks to get away. Maybe my hair scared him.



There was a great, yellow moon tonight. It made a rather lovely yellow path out to the edge of the sea. Or the horizon as normal people call it. I think I need sleep.