Interactions with Nature: Workshops 5&6

Workshop Five: Eco Prints and Nature Portraits

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The focus of this workshop was finding even more ways to interact and collaborate with our environment.

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In this session, with the help of Camo’s botanical expertise, participants were able to produce their own unique eco leaf prints from found materials in the church garden. This process is something you could easily experiment with at home after a little research if it seems like something that might interest you. Let’s take a look at how our participants got on making their very own eco prints and see whether you’re convinced to give it a go!

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Preparing the leaf prints

The first step was collecting foliage to be used to make the print and placing it between two pieces of paper. The plants and papers then needed to be bound into little bundles in preparation for the next stage of the process: steaming. This is where all of the magic happens, and the natural matter is slowly broken down into the paper, leaving unique, unusual, and often unexpected colours and patterns to be revealed once the steaming is complete.

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As with all of these nature-based projects, everyone ended up with a one-of-a-kind personal outcome in celebration of the natural world. It was exciting to see how each plant translated onto the page in its own way, and the variety of colour and texture captured in this process was mesmerising. See for yourself, take a look at some of the beautiful eco prints produced in our workshop below.

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To create these prints the water was left to boil beneath the bundles for two hours. Meanwhile, Dan introduced the next activity and helped participants to compose their very own nature portraits.

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This process included capturing images of the church garden’s scenery that grabbed their interest, as well as taking portraits of each other. This gave participants the chance to learn to use a professional camera and create portraits that are not soley focused on them and their appearance, but instead on the collaboration between themselves and their natural surroundings as they relate to it.

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The outcomes were great, with some lovely standalone portraits and nature shots, as well as combined photos. The church garden made a great backdrop and encouraged experimentation of camera angles, position, and settings, to produce outcomes that capture the creativity of the local community in a space they would have been otherwise unlikey to uncover and explore in such a way.

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Workshop Six: Making Eco Infinity Cards

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Camo was back again to help transform the plant prints made in the previous workshop into something new. She showed us how to make infinity cards, a sort of origami card/book that turns continuously in various directions. We used our creations from previous workshops to craft our cards, ranging from cyannotypes to eco prints and natural ink paintings.

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Making our infinity cards

I found the endless turning of the cards remniscent of the way nature continually breaks down and moves through cycles, eventually returning to the same point only to start again. It’s also quite a good meditative tool, as I find myself being grounded by the earthy tones and repetitive motion of turning it.

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An infinity card in action!

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This is one example of the many ways to practically bring the outdoors in via creativity, as well as a way to stay conscious of and connected to the natural environment – even when me may not be able to spend as much time in it as we’d like to.

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