“In some native languages the term for plants translates as ‘those who take care of us’. (Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2020).
‘Nurture’ responds to a storytelling project at Whitehawk community food group’s allotment, with mothers and their babies, supported by a wider group of women, using natural crafts, plant dyes and herb binding. Asking the question ‘How can natural materials influence storytelling’, I was struck by how these materials require a sense of trust to lead our journey and appeared to prompt a sense of ‘letting go’ of intention. Stories seemed to emerge through conversation, knowledge sharing, revealing memories. Supported by ritual and meditation, I found myself noticing spontaneous moments of vibration between us as we engaged with the natural environment and materials. An embodied sense of understanding that I felt reverberating beyond the project.
Reflecting on the material led nature of this practice, I created a collection of ‘stories’ told through a range of senses. ‘Nurture’ comprises of 3 elements; a series of naturally dyed fabrics and plant pressings exploring trust in materials, a mobile created spontaneously following foraging walk with mums and toddlers, and a handmade drum inspired by the powerful vibration we can experience in community. These accompany 2 stories attached to themes emerging from the project, an ethnographical account, and a children’s story addressed to my daughter, attempting to reflect how plants appeared to stimulate stories through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and movement. The stories are routed through plants I have interacted with, the tales they invoke for me and how I bring myself to this practice.
The piece offers viewers to get involved and interact with the art works. To tell their stories by hanging fabrics which have been dyed or pressed with different plants. They can sit underneath the mobile and they are invited to listen to some oral stories I wrote in relation to my experience with making this piece.