The Why?s Man

"My art is place specific and people specific." George Wyllie

Back to Poetry


In 1849 in New York City

Walter Hunt was a figure of pity

destitute - without a cent

couldn't buy food or pay the rent

stomach empty, body thin,

he made the very first Safety-Pin

for poverty was the great incentive

which encouraged him to be inventive.


Walter's finances were extremely tight

and he had to sell the copyright

for a hundred dollars - a meager sum

to save him from becoming a bum

but the buyer made a fortune quicker

for that is the way of the city slicker

to be financially manipulative

and exploit the brains of the innovative.


George Wyllie created his safety-pin scul?ture, just in case. In fact, it was originally entitled, Just in Case. It first appeared at Glasgow's Mayfest and was created to raise questions about the funding of that festival. Mayfest is no more and the safety-pin scul?ture has become a monument to maternity, relocated to Rottenrow, once the site of Glasgow's maternity hospital.

George Wyllie also wrote a play around the theme of 'just in case', with the giant safety-pin present on stage. Like many of his dramatic productions, Voyages Round a Safety-pin was a dialogue, as always with music, between the experienced Wyllie and the youthful, David Michael Clarke.

Voyages Round a Satfey-Pin

Monument to Maternity

George Wyllie Education Initiative

Managed by Media Matters Education Consultancy