Over the last few months, we’ve been introducing the 10 local artists awarded micro-commissions as part of our Reform the Norm partnership with Unlimited.
In our latest guest blog, we’re getting to know Katie Walters – a performance poet and founder of disability arts organisation Radical Body, who has been experimenting with sculpture-making for their commission, inspired by a rarely seen collection at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.
My initial project proposal for Reform the Norm was to spend some time exploring The Herbert’s natural history collection and create an artistic response to what I found there. So when I first applied I actually had no idea what I was going to make, or even what art form I’d be working with. I wanted to make something that was fully informed by the collection, so I didn’t want to make any decisions before I visited.
I was given a whistle stop tour of the collection to help me narrow down my ideas, and found a lot of amazing items in the stores. There’s a mummified cat, which I was very taken with, and dozens of beautiful bird specimens.
But after I visited the storeroom, I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to work with the Daltry Collection, which is just drawer after drawer of British moths, all beautifully preserved. It’s a big part of what makes The Herbert’s collection so special; it contains over 15,000 specimens of British moths and insects, and its scientific value is immense.