My studio work is driven by the need to call attention to the evermore fragile and threatened natural world. In the series Where Hope Lies, life size sculptures of young children engaged in the discovery and magic of the natural world.
When children are encouraged, from a young age, to play outdoors in natural landscapes they experience the awe and wonder of nature and grow to love and value its magnificence. It is in this wonder and awe of nature’s splendor that hope lies. When given the opportunity to intimately explore the mysteries and beauty of the natural world, children develop a connection, awareness and appreciation for the environment. They begin to understand the connectedness of all living things. It is here a seed is planted, the affiliation begins and the empathy deepens. It is these children who grow to become the stewards our planet so desperately needs.
Over the past several years, nearly fifty words relating to the natural world have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. It is a travesty that words like acorns goldfinch, fern and heron have been replaced by technology terms: analogue, broadband and chat room.
Removing and replacing words from the natural world is evidence of the fact that more and more, children are occupying themselves with life indoors. Rather than spending time outside, exploring and developing an understanding and a relationship with the interconnections between the flora, fauna and life forces of the natural world and our place in this web, children are living in digital worlds.
In his book The Lost Words, the author Robert MacFarlane, brings attention to twenty words dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, names of living things —from “Acorn”through “Wren” by way of ivy, kingfisher, lark, otter and raven —through his poetry and the illustrations by artist Jackie Morris, these cast offs are revived.
I’ve found inspiration and purpose in The Lost Words. It is more necessary than ever before to call attention to the importance of ‘nature play’. The children of Where Hope Lies engaging in the wonder of a slippery frog, the lightness of a hummingbird and the joy of falling leaves. Through these children I hope to inspire curiosity and encourage conservation and nature play for the child in us all.
Where Hope Lies was first presented as a solo show at Natsouals Gallery in Davis, California.