Monday, 4 May 2020

Beltane Summer Gateway

The start of May is traditionally the gateway to the summer season. There are several traditions people might honour at this time, I went with crating a leaf and flower decoration, stitching leaves together to make a wreath for my allotment shed.

I used quite a raw or rough thread and while the leaves were really too fragile to hold the stitches, it was great to sit in the sun and arrange the leaves, observing the sunshine through the translucent leaf surface. The wreath was left in the door way to my shed, apparently leaf and flower garlands were left on thresholds symbolising the Beltane fires, bringing renewal and good health.

Ivy and hawthorne, new growth and evergreen.

If I wanted to make something more long lasting I think the leaves would be better pressed; another time, it was interesting to try and stitch something which was fragmentary and not very flat! I was inspired to try this by the work of artist Alice Fox, someone who's work I have followed over the years.

Scouring the internet I found some other artists using leaves...

Lastly I found an article on using leaves as crockery, leaves as dining plates, food wraps and food packing material: Importance of renewable resources in Indian culture

While this was specifically more aimed at the catering sector  I really liked the idea...just need some tropical leaves!...  Good to step away from the flat, unnatural use of leaves and treat leaves more like sculpture...and just for the record the unavoidable reference to Andy Goldsworthy.  I found this archive and the link connects to a work of his from 1980, the year I was born. The images just don't get old!

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