I posted a ‘how-to’ a while back about making a fern print on fabric using bleach. The technique is to appear in a book that’s a mixture of art journal and travelogue; travelogue because the fern leaves I used for the technique came from walks in a specific forest in France – the forest of L’Isle-Adam. It’s not far from Paris, where I lived for some years until last October. By coincidence, synchronicity or karma (whichever you choose to believe) I’m now living in England – in a forest!
I love forests and woods. In part it’s because they represent shelter and therefore ‘home’, perhaps the ideal home, with living walls that not only breath, but in doing so, produce ‘breath’ for the humans who dwell in them. Dense canopies of leaves are ‘sighing’ ceilings, which open and close in tune with weather and season and from which food falls a-plenty for nourishment of man, beast and bird. The forest is where man and creature can peacefully co-habit. While man builds his shelter at ground level, the treetops are tenements to bird and squirrel.
There’s a huge range of folklore and myth about forests. People liken forests to cathedrals and build temples inside them. They are the abodes of witches, fairies, demons, wood spirits, wood nymphs. Groves become sacred. People transform into trees, turn twigs to ‘divining’ rods, worship (and hug) trees.
Enjoy the above video for its forest artistry. It’s an extract from an animated film ‘The Secret of Kells’, nominated for an Academy Award in 2010.
“It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our life is associated with trees”. Wilson Flagg