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Isolation 08/01/2022

I'm preparing for the first forage and the date is now set for 27/01. Posters sorted, emails sent, researching as much as I can while stuck in isolation. I’ve made some foraging bags from recycled cotton ready for dyeing next week and listening to podcasts - about art, ecology and inter-relatedness. And thinking about the woods at Lundsfield quarry and the apparent but misleading dormancy. The fallen trees (I counted 12 that came down recently in storm Arwen) that will rot down to provide new habitats, the unmuffled drone from the M6, and underneath: the active mycorrhizal networks, storing carbon, consuming energy, buffering, communicating. And the fruiting bodies above the earth providing energy for invertebrates and small mammals who provide energy for larger mammals and birds of prey that decompose and provide energy for the plants and round it goes… deep ecology, an intricate web of inter-dependency and to interfere with any element (by messing about with herbicides/insecticides) corrupts the entire system.

So what kind of matter is around to forage in mid-winter? pine needles - pine cones - bark - leaves (oak) - ivy leaves - not berries though we'll leave those for the wild life.

My feeling is that all the material we gather will go into the dye pot and the resulting ‘dye liquor' will be a unique record of time and place - I will identify and document the ingredients never to be repeated. The unpredictability will represent the magic of colour alchemy.

I’ve also been thinking about ways of prompting during the walks. We will have notebooks and pencils and prompts to generate discussion - ideas so far:

everything is connected

what makes us natural?

how do humans positively impact on the environment?

solastalgia: the feeling of grief for lost familiar landscapes

We only see what we look at

how can we envisage new beginnings?

And some experiential prompt ideas:

Rub natural materials on paper to record pigment.

Flottage - recording the textures

Recording the skylines

Draw a map of the route from memory

record words/document species/describe what you see

Hug a tree to determine its age

Wild flower id

Sounds and listening




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