Monday, 30 May 2011

Natural History

Most of my sculpture is based on wildlife and the natural world in one way or another, for me it is such a huge and endlessly inspiring subject area.   After the winds recently blew down a branch from my old Sycamore tree, I was clearing it away to the wood shed and noticed that it was encrusted with lichens, creating little woodlands of their own.

I was fascinated to find out what these were and how they lived, so I took a section home to draw (very sculptural) and identify.

They reminded me of images I had seen on Natural History: The Origin of Style site.  Actually these turned out to be images of things growing under the sea, but some of the colours and shapes are similar. 

Linen Wall Hanging - Natural History

I'm captivated by the drawings, descriptions and equipment of the early researchers of Natural History and visiting this site is like an invitation into the laboratory or studio of one of the old explorers.  I feel as if I might be one of them, returned from voyages busy assembling the findings for publication.  All the items on this online emporium of luxury linens, decadent homewares and stylish accessories are designed from these early historical images. 

Humming Bird Notecards - Natural History

Sarah, who opened Natural History in 2010 explains that the name came about from  frequent visits to the Museum of Natural History in Dublin and memories of the museum and the stuffed animals there.  Her influences and ideas are all brought to life in her blog, where she is having a special re-launch with a week of giveaways!  See if you can resist her heavenly things.
As you can see I've got totally distracted and still don't know what the lichens are - any ideas?


  1. beyond being lichens, I don't know but we have them here too, growing on out trees.

  2. Thanks Ellen - you get a 1/10 for that! :~) I've now found a little book on lichens, fascinating, if heavy going (rather scientific) - good for my Bank Holiday bedtime read.

  3. I have done a post about my fascination with lichens - not at all informative, just raving about the tiny intricate landscapes they make! Taking multiple photos of lichens, I did wonder if i was going just a teeny bit potty, so delighted to hear I am not alone in my admiration for their forms. I was actually wondering if I could cast a small section in silver and work it into a piece of jewellery.

    I was always told they are a sign of unpolluted air and I think they are a mixture of fungi and algae living together, but I'm sure your little book has told you that! All hail lichens!

  4. I don't know much about lichens I'm afraid but looking at your photo, I think you may have 3 species to identify.

  5. I love the fact that some many of the patterns in nature are repeated over and over although in various locations and types.
    Reminds me of the theory of complexity.


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