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Lines of Inquiry


The Limpetarium is a fluid art installation which is shifting, changing and developing. It is a vehicle for and manifestation of my art-based research. It does not have a fixed locale; sometimes it is situated within my art studio, at other times it's on the move, operating from a series of portable research cabinets. It is always in process, an unresolved continual cycle, much like the tide as thoughts, ideas and lines of inquiry drift in and out on the waves...

Skaill beach limpet home.jpg

This photograph by Anne Bevan shows limpet home scars at the Bay of Skaill, Orkney, 2020

Homing Habits

Common Limpets (Patella vulgata) return from their daily food foraging excursions to the same place on the rocks. In doing so they wear away a shell shaped groove or 'home-scar' to which they fit exactly, ensuring a strong seal, securing them to the wave battered surface on which they live.

Like the limpet I too set forth, on a continuous limpeteering journey of venturing and returning, leaving my 'home scar' in search of information, connections, encounters, themes, stories and knowledge. I am transported to new and fantastic situations but always return home; my personal and family life is etched into this place.

I am strongly attached.

Filing Habits

As the fruits of these voyages accumulate they too need a home; a place where ideas, information, images, articles, objects and notes can be deposited, arranged, sorted and re-sorted. These boxes and files are becoming an archive and source material for future creative use. Opening any one of these repositories offers a glimpse into a shifting pile of concealed treasure, waiting to be explored and reworked... have a look... 

The Edge of the Sea



This form of creative filing was inspired by the artist Joseph Cornell, whose 'dossiers' formed the basis of his boxed assemblages. 

Lines of inquiry


A poem by Rick Sanders, written in response to his visit to The Limpetarium in 2021


This drawer contains a childhood

Salty pebbles baked hard

Fathers Arran sweater

Off white

Too large

Foraging in tide trapped pools

Unsure to flip the bigger rocks

Armed only with a netted cane

Your yellow wellies

Take you back

A midden shell stacked

Layer caked

Fossil fuel for hungry

Hunter gatherer souls

Hooks deep into your flesh


Playing you

At every turn

You hoard



On conical form

Install yourself into a world

Of glacial movement

Over rock

Teeth ripping

Gouging out a path to home

Worn down by clinging on

Against the full force of it

Only humans

Make you loose your grip

In this trapped cage

A Wicker Man

All wax and dried up form

His tiny shells for eyes

Peer out across the room

There is no reason for his being

Created on a whim

Of wondering what would happen if

This piece went here

Another there

A process



Repeated many times

Well practised


Abstracted so that I must work

To see the dedicated pattern





Preserved beneath the bell jar

Where you flick a playful switch

To see what happens when

Contours collide

Fluid against fixed

Transient permanence

Hard shell harmonies

When I presume to think

That you have seen it all

My daughter's seashell goggles

Draw you in

The call of other stories

Yet to be shared



Put on view

Added to the mix of old and new

Perpetuating unseen force

That drives a life

To circle back

See it fresh

Each time the limpet

Leaves it's mark

Upon our weather beaten shore

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