I am an avid reader, I love getting lost in a good book- whether it be a novel or factual. Books can influence how my art develops, giving an insight to a theme or suggesting new locations for sketchbook work. I love it when different strands of life give me new reading pathways to explore.
Urban Efflorescence- my new series inspired by wild flowers in the city (see Etsy ) has set me on a trail of reading and research into nature in urban environments.
It seemed prescient that my weekend paper recently had an article about this, giving me a booklist to work through and, as always one book leads to another…
I want to include some collage elements in smaller sample pieces, so this lovely old wildflower reference book will be put to good use. An eBay bargain, I love the illustrations and information. It is hard sometimes to identify the plants I discovered on the cycle path from the black and white images but once I have put names to blooms I will endeavour to include the appropriate pages in the textile pieces.
Esther Woolfson’s book ‘Field notes from a hidden city’ looks into the nature and wildlife of Aberdeen.
She records nature and wildlife activity around Aberdeen over the course of a year, writing about how nature adapts to survive in the city environment. Plants and animals, birds and insects use hidden corners of the city as their habitats. I want to find and record these spaces in my city; to celebrate this ingenuity.
Melissa Harrison writes novels that explore contemporary issues; where the natural world becomes another character in the story impacting on the behaviour of the people.
In ‘Clay’ the natural spaces provide hope and respite. In ‘At Hawthorn Time’ the natural world endured where human life expires.
Next on my list is Alys Fowler’s book ‘Hidden Nature- A voyage of discovery’ although the book seems to have hidden itself in the library as although listed as in stock it can’t be traced! So before I read about Birmingham’s secret nature I’ll be following Simon Armitage’s trail along the South West Coast Path in ‘Walking Away’.
This seemingly endless list of nature books is guiding my research and convincing me that this is a valid theme to investigate. That it’s not just me seeing the value of these urban spaces where nature thrives. So when I have completed my current commission I will be hunting for the wild spaces in my city, starting with that cycle path.