creative thinking, new forms of decision making, new kinds of education, new definitions and practices of work, new kinds of sentiment and use of land

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One thought on “creative thinking, new forms of decision making, new kinds of education, new definitions and practices of work, new kinds of sentiment and use of land

  1. Morag:
    I think creative thinking has come out of our discussion and we’re going forward to make work together and work as separate artists.

    I thought it was interesting to have these two juxtaposed images because I’ve been doing my work up at Elan, which is where I got really interested in mining bees after talking to one of the Dwr Cymru Welsh Water ecologists at Elan Visitor Centre who had found a really rare bee called the Tormentil Mining Bee. It’s specific to Tormentil – a tiny upland plant with a yellow flower that I had already noticed and thought I might like to make a wax plant model of. I started looking into Tormentil and it’s history and I dug one up and preserved it in a German Schnapps called Blutwurz, which means ‘blood root’. Blutwurz is red because it’s made with Tormentil root. The root is so big because when the uplands are at risk of fire, the plant will survive in the root. It has got a lot of tannin in it and in areas where they didn’t have many trees (like the Hebrides), they’d use it instead of oak bark for tanning and dyeing. There’s a really complicated thing going on in Elan valley. Because of the protected watershed around the reservoirs, they haven’t improved the land so they’ve got all these amazing meadows, which are good for pollinators but they have also got this problem with invasive grass called Molinia, which is coming about due to changes in grazing as they haven’t got as much cattle. One of the farmers is baling up the invasive grass, which is benefiting the pollinators (like the Tormentil Mining Bee) and making something called biochar, which could be a peat substitute and the EU has said we’ve got to stop using peat (even though we’re not maybe going to be in the EU). So it could be a really good thing for society and secure his family farm for his teenage children. For me, that’s creative thinking: it’s the farmer and the ecologists and the research institute at Aberystwyth University working together and that’s the sort of thing I’m interested in working with in rural areas. You might think: What can the artist do? But I think the artist can go in, have discussions, can maybe make other people aware of these things, disseminate it, maybe be part of it and have a useful part to play.

    In any case, it was quite nice to talk it all over with Lisa because when she came to visit, I’d already bought the Blutwurz schnapps so we had lots of very interesting discussions drinking it, at the very least.

    Like

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