Only in the Forest Foraged
Lenapehoking, Wissahickon Watershed (aka Philadelphia)
What makes your art unique?
Half of my process is me going out in the world, paying attention to what is blooming, emerging, going to seed, etc, and ethically collecting all the specimens myself, and then treating the specimens with the utmost care and respect. I don't buy any specimens or use dyes or any other agent to try to change its appearance. I talk about my art as a collaboration between me and the natural world. I just create compositions with the base forms, colors, and materials found on my walks.
Why is sustainability important to your art?
I'm an ecofeminist and an environmental professional; if I have to use toxic materials or create trash somehow by making art, it would be a complete betrayal of my values and my purpose. There would be no point, really.
What do you do to give back?
I'm an Environmental Justice advocate and biophilic consultant who, for the past couple of years, has focused primarily on tree equity (i.e. proportionate high tree canopy coverage across all neighborhoods, not just wealthy ones) and elimination of synthetic pesticides on public grounds, which destroys public health and soil health. I've also done a lot of work on noise and light pollution in the city, and having these identified as urban stressors that affect humans and wildlife alike. I'm also a regular volunteer at the local wildlife rehab clinic, feeding baby birds, doing a LOT of laundry, and giving the turtles pep talks.
What do you hope your art inspires in others?
To feel the love for the natural world, and everything in it, even the creepy crawlies, even the small details, like the fractals in a cicada wing or the symmetry of seed. To see the world every day with new eyes brimming with wonder.