Natural World Balance Lichen Installation
Lichen is part fungi and part algae and is symbiotic – the partners exist within a mutually beneficial relationship. This concept particularly resonates at a time when society needs to cultivate a better relationship with the natural world; lichen is demonstrating a harmonious, biodiverse, cooperative balance, with multiple species working together for the greater good.
A suspended installation of fallen, lichen-encrusted twigs, and blown glass inclusions, will accompany the Sacred Waters Series, which will feature in Wander_Land, an exhibition with other members of the Royal Society of Sculptors, at Tremenheere sculpture Park in July 2023. Lichen thrives where there is no pollution. Lichen absorbs its nutrients from the atmosphere, the air we breathe, and which inflates glass spheres.
Congregation is an exhibition of work by the trustees of the Royal Society of Sculptors, in the Chapel 24-26th March 2023, open 12-4 pm each day and by appointment, curated by Jacquiline Creswell, and a version of Natural World Balance will be included in the high ceilings of the chapel which are perfect spaces for this work. The Sacred Waters Series are 4 wall panels that reflect the experience of encountering 3 sacred wells and a river that crosses the St Michaels Way pilgrimage route. Lichen was evident all along the way, in the trees, on standing stones, and on the path to St Michaels mount, which is only viable at low tide. This symbiot can be incredibly old, sometimes 1000’s of years.
Lichen thrives where the air is unpolluted because lichen absorbs water through its outermost layer, and not through roots, as plants do. Photosynthesis creates the food it needs to grow. Different lichens cover more than 8% of the earth’s surface and can thrive in diverse locations and climates.
The first suspended Lichen installation was created in 2022, following a walk in ancient woodlands after a storm. Lichen was strewn everywhere, and you had to admire this resilient yet fragile, vibrant network of mysterious, interrelated coral-like forms, which are not plants but have a kingdom all of their own. I collected smaller branches, took them back, and arranged them so as to give each twig its own space, in the same manner as leaves each finds its own tiny window of sunlight in the canopy of a tree. This space allowed the lichen to be seen and celebrated.
I suspended a few of the fallen lichen-encrusted twigs, to better admire their form, in a manner like previous works, Aeolian and Aeolian 2.
Aeolian was a commissioned work for Roots, a seaside Michelin restaurant, comprising 100 pieces of enameled, slumped, and suspended glass that drew lines in the air suggesting the sound of the waves of the sea, which is only a short distance away and can be heard as you emerge from the interior. In articulating the glass to effortlessly sweep through space, I developed a hanging system, and this is what I use to suspend the lichen twigs. The system employs tiny brass fixings each with 2 small screws, which secure the fishing wire.
The Eyestone series is a series of arrangements of collected beach pebbles, which all have a hole in them. Stones with naturally occurring holes have plenty of mythological interpretations, in lots of different cultures, often associated with magical properties.
Their geometric formations suggest a balance of the chaos of the natural form and analytical order.
This group is called Eyestone 1, shown at different times of the day.