One of my favourite inspirations at the moment is lichen, Scarborough has a wealth of lichen covered benches and trees that I photograph on my daily walk. In the studio, these photographs are translated into to mixed media pieces using Tyvek, latex, beads and thread. This collection of work is called miniature worlds.
And now for the science bit…
A lichen is not a single plant; it is a combination of a fungus and algae and/or cyanobacteria. Like all fungi, lichen requires carbon as a food source; this is provided by the algae and/or cyanobacteria, that are photosynthetic. Lichens love clean air too – in fact, their sensitivity to air pollution means they make great air quality indicators.
I love the different shades of yellow and green that you find in a single lichen, the texture of the fungi elements and how I can recreate these in fabric and thread. I’ve been letting the materials speak to me when creating these embroideries. Gathering my materials and embellishments and just starting with a few scraps of Tyvek and then adding beads and hand stitching where I think they will look the best. The pieces are growing organically, perfect for the lichen theme.
Next time you’re out for a walk, try and find some lichen on a wall, tree or even a bench. You can find out more about lichen from The British Lichen Society.