“Why do it when nature does it so well already?” – Anita’s question

Ferns

 

Back in the studio I laid out all of my precious collected materials, they look quite different away from their home. Just like collecting flowers to bring inside they seemed lost and out of place.

The leaves and seaweed started to dry out very quickly. The seaweed was easy to keep alive in saline but it became clear that I had to get my plant forms printed swiftly. When I had printed on location in Dorset I noticed that even after 24 hours the plants were degrading.

I found that by spraying the plants with water and keeping a dampened towel on them they lasted a few days. Interestingly the ones that had got coated in ink both sides were doing well, I guess the oil based ink acted a bit like a moisturiser!

While the plants were laid out I noticed that they started to leave wonderful spore prints on the table. I laid them out on white paper overnight. The Hart’s Tongue Fern also known as Christ’s hair, Horse tongue, Burnt weed and Buttonhole were my favourite in the Undercliff, they are so prolific.

I attempted to save the spore prints using fixative but it didn’t work, it did work laying the fern onto a surface coated in spray glue… but the fern also stuck to it, so gave up and just settled for the photograph instead!

The desire to record and replicate nature raises the question “why do it when nature does it so well already?” The sunset we want to paint that ends up looking so naff and yet when you were there in the moment it was amazing. I question at this stage whether printing with the materials is saying anything, I am enjoying it, learning a lot and I like the results, I guess that will have to do for now.

Bracken spore print 1  fern spore print

 

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2 thoughts on ““Why do it when nature does it so well already?” – Anita’s question

  1. I’ve learned something today, that Hart’s Tongue ferns are also known as ‘Christ’s Hair’. How bizarre some of he medieval religious imagery really. But Anita’s question goes to the heart of the matter: why DO we attempt to represent nature when nature can do this perfectly well by herself? For me, this is not so much representation as a form of interpretation. What moves me about the natural world is important to me and to my life, and I want to pass this on and encourage others to become engaged with the world around them (if that doesn’t sound absurdly arrogant or patronising). So I suppose what I attempt to do somehow is reflect that richness, that magic, that seduction.

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