Art, Ecology and Community Summer 2021

Braids, Bracelets and Plaited Baskets from Tree Barks Workshop, August 2021. Photo: Steve Hawkins

We had an incredible season this summer at the Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden with the Art, Ecology and Community workshop series that invited participants to learn about different local plants to explore their creative possibilities, the different connections to the territory (or territories) that we call home, while supporting native ecological restoration.

We welcomed local participants, visitors from across the province and other parts of Canada, including students from Innisfree’s Food and Medicine apprenticeship program.

Basketmaking with Dandelion Stems Workshop, July 2021. Photo: Steve Hawkins

Each workshop was designed to experience the entire process from harvesting local plants to finished pieces with awareness and connection to ancestry and place. We also invited participants to establish their own cultural significance through skill sharing, including all stages of ethically harvesting and processing raw plant materials for art-making and environmental art practice including weaving, basketmaking, ink-making and more. What a beautiful experience it was to be able to harvest some of the “unwanted” plants at the farm to purposefully use them for basketmaking, paper, paint brushes, charcoal, pigments and inks.

Paper making using cattail and different flower peals form the farm.
Dandelion Stems, detail. Photo Steve Hawkins.

From Harm to Harmony: The Healing Power of Nature

This exhibition presents artwork culminating from a collaboration initiated through a remote-artist residency led by community-engaged environmental artist Juliana Bedoya in British Columbia and a diverse group of community participants from different geographic regions in New Brunswick. The project emerged from a partnership between the Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) and the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC) as part of their national FUTURES/forward mentorship program, which embeds community-engaged artists within organizations to address the pressing environmental issues of our times. 

Participants were invited to join this remote residency to express, through art, their ideas and feelings about climate change. The group met weekly via Zoom to converse and discuss environmental issues from a global to a local perspective, and from there, to develop the concepts and pieces presented in this show. Through their work, the artists sought to inspire changes in behaviours in New Brunswick and to offer a space for reflection on ways we might repair our relationship with nature, partly by experiencing its healing power reflected in the artwork.

Varying in age, culture, and professional backgrounds, participants exchanged skills and navigated different mediums and technologies—including embroidery, paper mache, photography, rug hooking, video production, felting, weaving with plant materials, and more—to create individual pieces that are amalgamated into a collaborative narrative that takes visitors from a hopeless reality of climate change, destruction, and harm to an action-driven world where humans are inspired to change their habits to live in harmony with nature.

By creating awareness about the specific challenges that climate change poses in New Brunswick, such as increased flooding, summer droughts, decreasing biodiversity caused by human industry, etc., we hope to inspire New Brunswickers to adopt more thoughtful practices (buying local, tree planting and species restoration, habitat conservation, reducing and recycling packaging, etc.) that will mitigate or redress the negative impacts of climate change.

Visit the project page to learn more about this artist residency and culminating art exhibition:

This exhibition was presented at the UNB Art Centre in March 7-April 18, 2021.

Territorios Entretejidos

Con muchísima emoción les presentamos Territorios Entretejidos, una serie de encuentros, diálogos y talleres de intercambio de conocimientos y oficios en un formato virtual que parten de establecer una perspectiva relacional con las plantas.

El primer evento de nuestra serie es un conversatorio virtual, el próximo Sábado Diciembre 19, a las 5PM (Hora Colombia)
Este diálogo es de acceso libre, se transmitirá en vivo por los canales de Youtube & FB de @plants_are_teachers

Pueden inscribirse al evento acá y de paso apuntarse a los tres talleres increíbles que hacen parte de la serie:

Tejiendo Arte y Ecologia: La Cosecha Honorable

Apuntes para una Etnobotánica del Tinturado Natural

Tejiendo con Plantas: Canasta Circular de Hiedra

Para el primer diálogo contaremos con los invitados, Jorge Yopasa @mazanuca (Indigena Muysca de Suba, Antropólogo y Tejedor), Mateo Escobar @mateooo89 (Antropólogo y Tejedor), Juliana Bedoya @julianabedoya (Artista Medioambiental en Comunidades y Tejedora), y será moderado por Maria Angélica Guerrero.

Los invitados trabajan desde el saber de las plantas como maestras, y nos compartirán sus experiencias y su interacción recíproca con ellas aplicada a la exploración del entorno natural como laboratorio creativo.

También compartirán cómo su práctica está conectada con la manifestación tangible de conocimientos gracias a una relación íntima con los territorios que habitan e interactúan, lo cual ha generado restauración ecológica y revitalizaición cultural de saberes ancestrales.

Acompáñanos 🌿


FUTURES/forward Artist Residency at the Conservation Council of New Brunswick

I am very excited to be one of the 13 community-engaged artists selected for the FUTURES/forward Mentorship program that supports community-engaged arts practitioners to work together in a peer-learning framework, with experienced artists mentoring evolving artists.

I am part of a triad model where I was paired with a mentor who is a seasoned arts practitioner based in Toronto and an incredible environmental organization in the Maritimes, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

I will be facilitating the artistic expression of environmental issues and opportunities, including climate change starting with this question:

How might we express our ideas or feelings about climate change through art?

Participants will regularly meet online with me to scope out the project, determine and then execute their art project(s). With participant’s permission, there are opportunities to showcase the resulting artistic work.

I will be sharing here some of the process and outcomes of this exciting project!