15 Apr

As an ‘ethnobotanical artist’ I care deeply about the relationships between plants and people. My work embodies many-layered considerations and narratives including environmental, cultural, historical, symbolic and spiritual.

I am trained in and employ organic and biodynamic growing methods, and am passionate about sustainable growing practices that work with nature, growing food that nourishes the health of both people and the environment. These paintings both reflect and are informed by my background as a horticulturalist working for over twenty years in Community Gardens and City Farms. One of my favourite winter jobs in the garden is to reflect on last year whilst pouring over the seed catalogues, and to prepare the seed orders for the new growing season. Then there is the magical time in spring when we start to carefully sow the seeds, nurturing these precious carriers of life and potential. Compositionally I wanted the seeds to be the main focus of the paintings. I used various magnifications to achieve this, employing a stereo microscope, digital calipers and jewellers loops in order to achieve a rigorous level of accuracy and detail.  These seeds are incredibly sophisticated, with beautiful, intricate often astonishing structures.  Their strange forms are often indicators of their dispersal mechanisms.  I hope that, in revealing the beauty of these tiny miracles, my work may engender a more reverent respect for them. These seeds are messages from our ancestors and how we look after them now will affect the generations that follow us. The seeds in my paintings are very special as they all come from ‘The Seed Co-operative’, who together with a network of growers, grow, process and sell organic, open-pollinated seed for the UK and beyond. I wanted, through these paintings, to highlight the vital work of the Seed Co-operative, as they develop new varieties through organic plant breeding, and support the collective work of those striving towards making agro-ecological farming, food security and seed sovereignty a reality. I chose my seeds during a visit of the Seed Co-op at Gosberton Bank Nursery, growing them on in my own garden in order to observe the plants as they grew and to provide me with fresh specimens to work from. The Seed Co-operative exists to shine a spotlight on the vital, but all-too-often forgotten, role of the humble seed in building a resilient food system. They believe passionately in breeding open pollinated seeds that everyone can grow, everyone can save for the next year, and everyone can afford. They want us to know where our seed comes from; who grew it and where, and even who bred each variety. Seeds, and seed diversity are vital for our future, I hope my paintings will highlight how together we can sow the seeds of hope. Selected biography I have exhibited my work widely in local and national exhibitions. I am a member of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium, the Iceni Botanical Artists Society, former member of the Bedgebury Pinetum Florilegium.

Rosa rubiginosa watercolour painting selected for the Association of British Botanical Artists ‘Botanical Art Worldwide Event’ celebrating UK native plants.
Work in the contemporary herbal published by the Royal College of Physicians based on the Pharmacopeia Londinensis, with an accompanying Exhibition in 2018, celebrating their 500th Anniversary.

Benton Iris watercolour painting commissioned for the Sir Cedric Morris Florilegium.

Awarded the ‘Elizabeth Smail Memorial Award’ at the Florum exhibition in 2018. Won the ‘Kent Creative Award’ in 2016 for my Art Practice.

Awarded ‘The Prince of Wales Trophy’, awarded to an outstanding student in the field of organic gardening by The Worshipful Company of Gardeners of London in 2000.
‘Millennium Pioneer Award’ for my work helping to set up the Bangladeshi Women’s horticultural project in 1999 – ‘The Coriander Club’ at Spitalfields City Farm in Hackney, London.

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