Chris & Michaela Goan are husband and wife, poet and potter, working together under the name Seatree.
Based in Cowal they use the natural world around them as their inspirational starting point. I have worked closely with Michaela and Chris since taking over the gallery three years ago. In 2018 I invited them to create a solo exhibition, "Where the Streams Come From". I admire their drive to challenge themselves and develop their practice, positively embracing new projects and ideas.
There is a Place in Western Sea
Drawn by the words of the poem by Chris and the beauty of the secret coves on the western coast, I wanted to capture the bold blue and green colours in this area but also the detail of the coastline when you stop and look – the soft grasses and the sea birds’ beauty.
This poem is a special one to Chris. It was written sometime ago now, around a trip to a tiny island that has been linked to St Brendan the navigator, whom legend describes as crossing the Atlantic in a leather skinned boat. The poem was part of our dream of setting out on a voyage of our own.
Woman Becoming Sea
I read the lines in this poem and thought immediately of standing by the water, the belonging of it, the pull of it. I made the woman with a wave around her shoulders and her dress becoming the sea…
Who Can Measure Breadth of Sea?
Unusually for us, this time the sculpture came before the poem. Chris took a half-finished idea of Michaela’s and staged it on a driftwood sea. The poem is a riff on Psalm 139- the one with these magnificent words; “If I rise with the wing of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me…” The piece is part of our on going exploration of the great connection between all things.
Lord, Stain Me With Salt
This is the second piece for the exhibition that uses St Brendan’s poem- something for which we make no apology. This piece is an assemblage- it started at least three years ago when a friend picked up the piece of wood on a local beach and passed it to us. It sat in the corner of the studio since then, but eventually became a wave, tossing a small boat.
Let Water Recognise Us
This piece came to us as sail, as banner, as the fins on the back of sea creature. The main spine/mast is a piece of driftwood, dried and oiled then mounted on a driftwood plinth. The poem was written as a means of reaching out over the horizon, thinking again about the way that setting out to sea has to involve uncertainty and hope in equal measure.
Fife Boat, the Air is Alive
I looked into the Fife boats when Ros asked us to contribute to the exhibition. What beauties. I loved the structure but also the way they moved fluidly through the water. I made the sails along with a line of poetry by Chris that I love, the air is alive with a symphony of salt and song. I made a ceramic background in colours that hopefully reflect the colours of the Kyles in sunlight.