Open Frequency 2008: Deborah Beeson selected by Claudia Zeiske

Open Frequency 2008: Deborah Beeson selected by Claudia Zeiske Deborah Beeson, Pot(AT)o HOM(E)age (detail), 2007. Potatoes, plastic, compost

Claudia Zeiske selects the work of Deborah Beeson


Deborah Beeson is kind of a self-confessed house wife in a traditional sense. A bit like the sort of types of our mothers' generation that one would have thought almost have died out. She loves making things with love. She embroiders, makes jam, waiters, cocoons around her family and her rural community. Attracted by WRI rituals she involves herself in cabbage growing competitions, hat displays and rose petal collections.

But what distinguishes her from the craftiness of our mothers is that she borrows these house-wife-ish techniques to make her art and then vice versa, she takes her artistic techniques to involve them in her home-making. She uses the remnant needles of the Christmas tree and rewrites with them into the carpet using her son's greedy Santa letter (the tree itself was decorated with iced brussels sprouts). As 'Artist for All Seasons' in the rural town of Huntly in Aberdeenshire she embarked on a whole series of such interventions; like decorating the gents' loo with roses on Valentine's Day and stringing shiny red apples around the Duke's column on Halloween.

This summer she researched the life of our potato over one full season. She collected the potatoes from a local farmer, planted them lovingly in 220 pretty pots, nurtured and raised them like her own family. Then she displayed them in various forms around the town garden as the summer months evolved. The final form took a Chartre like labyrinth, that was meant to be walked as a pilgrimage for repentance before reaching the goal. At the centre is a mysterious shed, where all the thoughts, spirits and sorrows brew in delicately engraved demijohns. Lévis Strauss' the raw/cooked axis comes to mind, where cooking, or in Deborah's case the making, symbolises the transformation from nature to culture, from kinship to family, from potato plant to tea party.

Claudia Zeiske, March 2008


Artist's biography

Deborah Beeson, born in 1964 into an RAF family, travelled around the world and finally settled with her family in Aberdeenshire in 1980, with the lure of the oil industry. She married in 1989 and her children were born in 1992 and 1993. The children, her husband and the house have been her primary employment whilst supplementing her income through various part time jobs. In 2001 she studied BA Fine Art at Moray College in Elgin followed by a BA (Hons) Sculpture at Grays' School of Art in Aberdeen in 2005, having won the inaugural BP fine art award and a purchase prize from Robert Gordons University.

Beeson then went on to work with Deveron Arts in Huntly on a two year residency funded by the Scottish Arts Council Partners scheme working closely with the local high school and community groups and developing her own practice.

At present her focus is on being co-founder of the A96 Artist Collective based in Elgin, Morayshire, offering support, networking and exhibition opportunities and studio critiques.


About Claudia Zeiske

Claudia Zeiske is a freelance curator and cultural administrator who has advised organisations on all levels through her company FineFunds since moving to Scotland in 1995. She has gained experience in arts management over many years through working both in the UK and internationally, developing contemporary visual arts related projects, including public art projects, residencies, touring projects and installations. She has an in depth knowledge of contemporary art practice in Scotland with wide international contacts and visions for bringing local issues on a global level.


Open Frequency keeps you in touch with new developments in contemporary art practice from across the UK. The artists are selected and profiled by leading curators, artists and writers, presenting the work of artists to watch out for over the coming year. Open Frequency represents a forward-looking glance today of the artists who will be setting the agenda tomorrow.