Mary Bourne RSA is an artist based in the rural north east of Scotland. Trained at Edinburgh College of Art and a John Kinross Scholar in 1985, her professional experience has included numerous public commissions, including interpretative artworks at Bennachie, Aberdeenshire; Mallerstang, East Cumbria; and Mugdock Country Park, Milngavie. She has worked with high profile architects like Page/Park (Eden Court Theatre) and Malcolm Fraser (Scottish Poetry Library), as well as with the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust and Historic Environment Scotland on a contemporary carving project for the sixteenth-century Riddle’s Court on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Earlier in her career, Bourne taught part-time at Edinburgh College of Art and Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. She has led numerous education projects, including stone carving master classes at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. More recently she devised and managed the Mortlach Story Walks project in Dufftown in collaboration with the local school and footpath charity. This cross-curricular, place-based learning project involved multiple partners and employed the arts as its principal means of expression. Children worked with arts professionals to interpret their own place for others and as a result of their work the school won a number of awards.
Bourne has exhibited widely in the United Kingdom and abroad. She has received a number of prizes and awards including the Meyer Oppenheim Award (1997) and Ireland Alloys Award (1996), both from the Royal Scottish Academy. Internationally, she has been an invited participant at symposia in America and Japan.
Bourne's work, predominantly in carved natural stone, reflects on man’s relationship with his environment and on themes of subjectivity, the passage of time and change. The physicality of the objects she makes is very important and they are often highly tactile. She says: 'For me art is a medium for reflection and communication. Given the durability of my medium this means communication not only between contemporaries but between generations: stone warmed and shaped by my hands will perhaps again be warmed by the hands of someone in some unknowable time to come.'
Bourne was elected a Royal Scottish Academician in 2012.