A Co-researcher’s journey of discovery – Beth’s Story

Over the first year of the Art & Nature Connections project each Co-researcher embarked on their own creative journey with art & nature. Naturally this led to very different paths for each individual person, giving our research activity amazing diversity and depth. Through a series of reflective sessions our co-researchers spent time revisiting their experiences. Read more about Beth’s own personal connection with art & nature.

What is my relationship with art & nature?

Confronted with a leaf or a feather and told to make art, I can feel stymied. The leaf or the feather is a beautiful object and needs nothing from me. It is a complete item already. I am more interested in studying the leaf or the feather, paying attention to its shape, its thickness, its texture etc., and honouring the leaf or the feather by paying attention to it. Paying attention is a form of worship.

What are my art materials?

“I’m just delighting in yarn, yarn, and yarn! Natural fibres like wool and cotton link me to nature. Thinking about all the steps it takes to go from fleece on a sheep or cotton on a plant, to yarn in a skein, reminds me that my life is quite removed from the lives of my rural ancestors. Yarn is a finished product, and the raw material for useful things like scarves, clothing, blankets. There’s an element of magic in the transformation, and I’m in awe of the people who figured it all out.”

How does nature help me?

“Nature helps me to notice processes that last much longer than my lifetime (e.g., the life of a large tree, erosion, the change from a pond to a bog to a marsh to dry land). Or it might help me remember that whole lives occur in a metaphorical blink of an eye – the lives of insects, for example. Nature puts my concerns into perspective. By paying attention to nature, I close off other trains of thought and become open to an awareness of that which is greater than myself. This can fill me with joy and comfort.”

Look out for more of our project blogs in coming months as each of our co-researchers share their own discoveries and reflections.  I wonder if this stimulates or makes you start to question or reflect on your own journey and connection with creativity and natural the world?