Evolution of the Wishcatcher

I started making installations about four years ago. My idea was to make sculptures on the ground and to allow the wind to play with them. Using very light materials meant that the wind could blow the sculpture around and change it over time.

At the Cervia kite festival in 2003 I had the chance to make a structure which evolved over ten days. I used a seven metre metal pole on the beach to make this structure. With the help of Kisa Sauer and others I made a 'roof' of white fleece trails suspended from this pole. I then invited other kitemakers to gradually add coloured fabric to this web of fleece. From underneath this looked and felt like a domed ceiling. Over the ten days the structure was blown around and changed by the wind. I weighted the fleece trails just enough to keep them on the ground but allowed them to be moved by the wind. Every morning as the sun rose I arrived to see what the wind had done over night and to make my own changes. After ten days the installation had developed into a real cooperation between the wind and the kitemakers.

After a few days I also made a kite sacrifice. I sacrificed a golden angel and also half destroyed an 'Above Us Only Sky' kite. The morning after the angel had disappeared and the other kite was ripped to shreds. I thought the angel had ascended to heaven, I don't know what happened to 'Above Us Only Sky'.

I continued making installations in Vienna in 2003, Tours, France in 2004 and on the Gower, Wales in 2005. These structures seemed to develop into bowers. The male bower bird makes a kind of tunnel or bower to attract his mate. These amazing structures are highly decorated and often in a single colour. A blue bower might have bits of paper, plastic, plants and feathers...all blue.

At the Bristol kite festival in 2005 I developed this bower idea into a Wishcacher. I wanted to involve passers by in the installation and so invited them to attach their wishes for the next year to the structure. Over two days over a hundred wishes were attached. These ranged from rude and funny to very serious and moving wishes. I decided to release these wishes from a kite. The week after the festival I returned to the festival site as the sun rose and released the wishes from a kite 300 metres high. The wind was strong and the wishes looked like a shimmering white cloud as they disappeared into the distance.

I made another Wishcatcher at the One Sky One World festival at Schloss Hof in Austria in October 2005. Over 50 wishes were attached in the day and I released these over Bristol on my return.

For Cervia 2006 I made a Wishcatcher outside the kite flying arena and next to the sea. The Italian people really took to the idea and on the first day there were 119 wishes. I really enjoyed hearing people laughing and joking as they read each others wishes and then sometimes thoughtfull   and silent as they read more serious wishes. All this was happening as I silently continued making the Wishcatcher. I understood some of the wishes but realised that it is not important to me to read them all. They are not my wishes after all. The wishcatcher was there for seven days and I released 285 wishes over Cervia on a very windy Sunday. The day before was the 'night of the miracles' and as you can see the wind was really strong and eventually the sea came into the Wishcatcher and exstinguished the light and washed away the blue from the installation. The next day the tide line was strewn with this blue. I found this battering by wind and waves very moving. I left the web on the beach and some of the flotsam became part of Jan Houtermann's installation which he also left on the beach.

Beginning of Installation at Cervia 2003
White Fleece with Colors
Above Us Only Sky Kite
Sacrificed Angel
Bower Vienna 2003
Bower Tours, France 2004
Bower Gower, Wales 2005
Bower at Night , Gower, Wales 2005
Wishcatcher. Schloss Hof, Austria 2005
Wishcatcher. Shloss Hof, Austria 2005
Wishcatcher. Schloss Hof, Austria 2005
Wishes from Austria
More wishes from Austria
And more Wishes from Austria
Even more wishes from Austria
The fial wishes from Austria
Aeril view of Wishcatcher in Cervia 2006
Wishcatcher in Cervia 2006
Web on the Wishcatcher early in the morning.
Making and Sharing Wishes
Earrly Morning
Night Time Wishes