This theme has taken me into the realm of nature and mythology.
My research has taken down the route of Celtic nature goddesses. I am using them as a means of representation of nature as female.
This does not necessarily align with my own views (I’m not so convinced of the idea of nature as female) but serves the purpose of representing this almost worshiping aspect of nature as Mother Earth.
So far, the goddesses I have chosen to represent in my images are Arianhod, Blodeewedd, Olwen, Brigit, and Ostara. They are all connected to nature in some form. This ties to my interest in the necessity humans seem to have in creating stories that act as a means of social influence and control. It is linked to ideas of ecofeminism. Mary Mellor has described this as “a movement that sees a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women.”1
This work is also specifically considering our reliance on plastic, or perhaps more our obsession with plastic and the differing impact humans and plastics have on the planet. I have used second-hand toy dolls and my own hair and body to create a trace of these influences. The results are a depiction of our entanglement with myths of our own making and perhaps the struggle to reevaluate our need to dominate nature for our sole benefit.
With my interest in minimising my own photographic imprint, I have been focussing on the cyanotype process for this work. Although the process uses two chemicals to create a light-sensitive solution, it also speaks of a time before human impact had begun to have such an impact on the natural world (1840s) and a process that was ultimately put to use by a female botanist, Anna Atkins.
This work was created using pre-treated cyanotype fabric. My decision to do so was based on time constraints in making my own. This work is in progress and is to be seen as first stage examples of where I may take this idea. Although I own a UV lamp I want to make this work solely with nature and in nature. It combines the elements of earth, air, fire and water in its creation. Reliance on UK weather is a big issue. Regular weather checks and having to make the most of what’s available are both constraints but not to the point that work is hindered as exposure times can be varied to suit conditions.
I plan to make much larger ‘murals’ with this theme, which may in turn become clothing. Although ideas had been running around my head about myths and nature, it was time at a residency at Hestercombe Gardens that seemed to cement them. I was a little late in the module in coming to this strand of my work but I feel invigorated by it and determined to research it in much more detail to fine tune it outcome.
1. Women and Life on Earth: http://www.wloe.org/what-is-ecofeminism.76.0.html (accessed March 24, 2017).