Timorous Beasties

This elaborate, tactile and functional ‘Burns Supper’ table includes all the accessories used for a full celebration. The commissioned work for this exhibition has taken the practice of Timorous Beasties in a new direction from designs in fabric and decorative paper to working with materials previously perhaps not associated with them such as glass, stone and silver. Each part of the installation has been designed to reflect various aspects of Scotland and its people. The fourteen place settings signify the regional areas of Scotland. To create a starting point for the imagery leading cultural figures including artists, writers and broadcasters were asked to contribute by commenting on their favourite Burns poem and its significance to them. The ‘toile’ designs on the plates depict references to these, layered with Timorous Beasties’ stylistic imagery of contemporary life. The silver-cast cutlery and engraved whisky and wine glasses complete the laid table. Responding fully to the philosophy behind the Homecoming celebrations, and to the fact that many of Burns’ sentiments are acknowledged universally, Timorous Beasties aimed to work locally and think globally. The majority of materials originate from within Scotland where possible and all others from the UK. This work hopes to highlight common associations with homecoming: to celebrate warmly through food and drink, to encourage debate and share stories, and to communicate freely with others. About the artists Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons founded Timorous Beasties in 1990 having met while studying textiles at Glasgow School of Art. The name is taken from the first line of Burns’ poem, ‘To a Mouse’, and it has become a useful strategy for creating mystery around their work internationally, while alluding to a sense of ‘Scottish-ness’. Recent projects and commissions have ranged from designing bespoke interior products to large scale international displays.
Object no :
EAFA393a, b, c, d, e, f
Creator :
Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons
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Materials :
Mixed media installation
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Copyright :
East Ayrshire Council
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