Moth Inspired

Recently I have been looking at my art practice and assessing how environmentally friendly it is. I try to minimise travel, I buy second-hand as much as possible and recycle the majority of my waste. I am now attempting to recycle more into the work itself, and produce work that reflects my thoughts about pollution, use of single-use plastic and conservation . As wildlife and landscape are my main inspiration, I am conscious that my negative impact is as small as it can be, although it will take some adjustment over time to change habits.

Moths have been a focus lately following observations of all sorts of moths including poplar hawk and emperor moths. I chose to work with moths as they are often overlooked, or blamed for eating clothes or carpets. They are incredibly beautiful and very varied in their markings.

I have started to paint more of my pictures on recycled canvas stretchers using old garments as a canvas. It is something I tried a few years ago, and as I was having a clear out of old work, more canvas stretchers became available. The fashion industry is a big polluter of the environment {my first career} and fast fashion is one of the worst consumer practices. Visitors to my open studio will know that I am into denim recycling, having recovered my sofa in it. Friends will know I shop for clothes mainly in charity shops, fitting with my efforts to reduce consumption, but now those clothes I no longer wear also give an added dimension to my pictures; seams, pockets and a textured surface. I use transparent gesso selectively before applying oil paint.

Another project is to use leaves and berries to eco print cotton rag paper using rusty water and vinegar. This is embellished with stitching through the paper, using left-over embroidery silks. I have also been making hand-stitched books with denim covers, buttons, offcuts and some handmade paper, as well as ‘flat white’ paper, made using recycled coffee cups. I am calling these recycled items ‘Re Imagined’ – please look in the menu for more pictures. I am developing ideas for work with an environmental message in the future, as well as continuing to be inspired by the natural world.

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