Brushes with History; The Scottish Arts Club, August 2022

This site specific installation was the result of a partnership with The Scottish Arts Club. The process started with an invitation to give an illustrated talk and from this grew the idea for a commissioned artwork to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the club. The result, ‘Brushes with History’ is a co-authored and co-created suspended sculpture which occupies the club’s stairwell, made from 1,800 used and donated paint brushes. 



The aim of the installation is to recognise the valuable collective contribution made by the arts in the cultural and social history of Scotland since 1873; and, to celebrate the diversity of individual’s creative endeavours, and the collective importance of community, collaboration and club.

Adopting the humble artist’s brush as a universal symbol of creativity and ingenuity, the suspended artwork which occupied the central public space of the club, was constructed from 1,800 donated used artist’s brushes, a brush for each month of the club’s existence.  Each brush has its own unique appearance, patina and provenance and collectively they populate the building with 100’s of narratives and histories. The artwork was assembled by Hans and a dedicated team of club members over a period of three months; 300 metres of twine was used and over 9000 knots were tied in its construction. Some personal reflections and anecdotes which were received along with donated brushes were displayed on the walls of the stairwell.

With grateful thanks to the 100’s of brush donors, and the contributors, partners and colleagues including; Marilyn Jeffcoat, John Young, David Lyle, Malena Persson, Andy Jeffcoat, Kjersti Sletteland, Rebecca Milling, Copystand, Jamie McAteer, Detail Framing, Eastern Display Ltd, A+M Imaging Ltd, Stevie Dale, Callum Craik, David Gray, Kate Leiper and all the members of The Scottish Arts Club.

Special thanks go to the ‘Brushes team’, the collaborating artists from The Scottish Arts Club, who dedicated many hours collating, counting, knotting, balancing and curating brushes.  Without their commitment this artwork would not have been realised: Cate Howell, Joyce Campbell, Junko MacKenzie, Colin Sutherland, Katie Cummins, and, Sophie Woehrling.