Heather Lyon

Heather Lyon

I greeted the see, Rummelsburger See, part of the River Spree, at dusk the day of my

arrival in Berlin. The water birds came to meet me with calls across the water, Eurasian

Coot, Swan, Mallard, Canada goose. Latitude 52. Longitude 13.

I came to Lichtenberg Studios in search of birds and a certain hue of blue, Prussian

Blue / Berlin Blau. I hoped to record the bird songs, to create painted and stitched

imagery from their vocalizations. I was not prepared for the memories of my time living

in France to return within the songs of the birds, Common Wood-Pigeon, Eurasian Blue

Tit, European Robin. The blue was the first modern pigment, created by accident by a

painter in Berlin in 1706 who sought red, but used potash contaminated with blood.

The resulting crystals were a brilliant dark blue. This color has been important in my

work for well over a decade, and it seemed only natural to delve deeper into this blue

at its point of origin. I found it on the streets and in the used clothing shops in cotton

and wool.

Most days I made my way by bike or on foot to the see, to embroider on deep blue

fabric by the water, record the songs of the birds, observe the subtle yet steady

changes of spring. I collected used clothing from the neighborhood to use in my fabric

works, sewing them into new pieced shapes and forms, small quilts, a poncho to use

in a performance. The embroidery became the varied blue lines and marks of bird

songs, dipping, swooping, rising, falling through transparent fabric, all calls and songs

recorded on my walks.

The Malchower See was the site of several performances in and at the edge of the

water. Again the birds were present. They were reflected in the water as they flew past

while I moved my body, informed by the feeling of the energy of the place, the energy

rising from that body of water into mine. I brought my project “Semaphore Love

Letters” to the see. A distant figure waved from the far shore as I signaled with my flags

a message across the water.

Water draws me. Water connects me to home, familiar yet unfamiliar. I often stood at

the edge of the see, memorized by the ever-changing colors and movement of light on

the water. The patterns of clouds, the occasional cool March sun breaking through,

reflected off the ripples and undulations from passing boats and water fowl. I too am a

body of fluid presence, like the see.

May, 2023