Nature in conversation. It is happening all around us. I think the pre-industrialised world could hear it. Indeed, we were part of Nature’s conversation. We knew it. Because we knew that we also were Nature. Then along came The Enlightenment – oh, if ever a word was a lie – and we divorced ourselves from Nature; Nature became something separate, a commodity, to be exploited, to its exhausted limit. The limit is on the horizon. And thus, so are we.
And so, when I unbundled these latest eco prints, they reminded me – they spoke to me – of this. They said, “We are here and you are here. And we are in conversation with each other.” And I thought, “there can’t be anything better than this.” (For somehow, being in conversation with Nature is the same as being in conversation with the Great Love – aka G-d – it’s a form of prayer, more real, more dynamic, than gathering in dusty, musty buildings once a week reciting creeds.
Unbundled isn’t quite the right word, as these prints were sandwiched between two ceramic tiles and bound with rubber bands and string, then boiled in Alkanet for two hours. I mixed the fabric with watercolour paper postcards and other grounds, just to see.
The fabric is from a Paris street market. I call it lining fabric because it came in a bundle that had been cut to the shape of a jacket. The jacket clearly never got finished. I wonder why? An incomplete narrative.
They are also over-dyes, as I’d tried eco printing them before and so they carry the marks – or scars! – of former attempts to converse with Nature. Seems I got better at it. I hope. Because it’s what I want. Not making pretty patterns merely, but images that remind me of all the above.
P S The Passion Flower leaves are from a climber we planted last spring in front of and to grow up the front of our allotment shed. It’s covered one side and has even continued to grow through the winter. A few beautiful, intricate flowers even blossomed on it last summer. I didn’t realise it was evergreen and was astonished that the leaves print bright yellow.