Inside the Art Studio of Kate MccGwire

A photo of Kate MccGwire at work in her art studio


Kate MccGwire is an English artist who works with unusual materials including bird bones and feathers. The artist’s sculptural works often deal with notions of binaries and contrasts -- beauty and disgust, chaos and calm, life and death, among others. In her current practice, the artist sticks mostly to avian materials, collected from the ground or from the owners of racing pigeons.


MccGuire’s studio is on a boat -- a Dutch barge, to be exact. The studio is tethered to a small island along the Thames river in England. What an unusual space for a studio! The artist has stated that the river’s currents and turbulence sometimes creates an added challenge. Working with such a delicate material as feathers, the artist must stay very organized to avoid having the feathers scattered everywhere in a storm.


Despite the occasional inconvenience it may cause, I imagine that a boat might be a nice place to work -- it seems like perhaps there would be fewer distractions here than in a studio looking out onto a busy street, or in a home studio.


The space overall reminds me of the studios of taxidermy artists like Polly Morgan or Jessica Joslin. There’s many small containers, drawers, and shelves holding any number of small treasures. The number of pairs of scissors that the artist possesses is quite astonishing on its own!


MccGwire’s complex, twisting sculptural forms have earned acclaim by numerous gallery owners and have been exhibited both in England and internationally.

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Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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