Eco and Botanical printing offers an accessible and interesting way to add texture, pattern, and colour to your work. Transferable to many mediums, the practice has come in and out of fashion over it’s existence. No one really knows when it first appeared however we do know that it appears in cultures across the world at a multitude of times and there are many different examples to explore.
The technique today offers many different benefits to those that use the practice in their work – not just the visual impact that immediately springs to mind, but also benefits for mental and physical health as well. It requires the artist to go out into the world and explore their surroundings, to use their imagination to find pieces of the natural world that inspire and call out to them. In many ways it is a practice in the meditation and mindfulness, it requires being present in the moment and seeing beauty or ugliness in things that may not be noticed every day. Patience to weed through the many to find the special and instinct to find just the right item.
A variety of tools and techniques for Eco printing are now available as well to experiment and play with – Gelli plates and transfer tools along with paint and ink are wonderful for those looking to explore and have quicker results via paper and canvas. In a more traditional version artists can use tools such as hammers, rollers and presses for items that are based in fabric or clay. In addition, all of these the items gathered could also be used to cast for jewellery and sculptures – the possibilities for use seems endless.
In the professional art world today there are many artists exploring uses and fine-tuning their use of such practice types. Multidisciplinary artist Tania Willard, of the Secwepemc Nation, works with a variety of mediums and explores with eco elements in many of her pieces and mixes traditional Indigenous art practices with the contemporary. She works with light sensitive emulsions, photography and video of natural elements, site specific works and more to press viewership to think, to act and to make connections. Her work links with the modern eye and maintains a sense of immediacy to bring the viewer into the reality of her work.
Many artists working with natural elements in their work, regardless of medium, often speak of the inspiration, connection, and awareness this type of work brings to the artist themselves. India Flint, an Australian Botanical Artist, says “I try to step lightly on the land while being nourished by it, and plant trees to compensate for the ecological impact of my wanderings. The work of each day, philosophically rooted in topophilia [the love of place] literally begins with a walk.”
When you look at India Flint’s work, it feels like you can see the life of the earth running through it. She has a mastery of creating work that highlights it’s roots of earth-first materials – transferring it’s life to her work and then onto you, the viewer. It feels real, tangible and renews our connection with the earth and it’s gifts.
To find out more about Tania Willard visit her website here: https://www.taniawillard.ca/
To find out more about India Flint visit her website here: https://www.indiaflint.com/
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