Updated: Nov 5, 2021
For several years artist Louisa Crispin has focused on nature corridors (areas of wildlife and wild-lands linked together to help nature survive climate change and the human advance) in her work; her delicate, concertinaed pieces a metaphor for nature's struggle. And she's inviting us to join in.
I was so excited to meet Louisa Crispin at an SGFA meeting at Wakehurst Place back in the summer. I'd followed her for a while on Instagram, and loved both the message behind her FlightPath artwork - promoting the activities of Buglife and #BeeTheChange from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust - and the art it was inspiring. This love of her work was compounded by the SGFA centennial exhibition, where I saw her beautiful graphite wasp drawings and became intrigued by the sculptural quality of her pencil artwork - traditionally 2d media. Through her conertinaed drawings you could see tantalising glimpses of wildlife that I only wanted to look at more, the detail was insane. Needless to say, it drew me to it.
So I was doubly excited when she invited me to join in - I'd thought that she'd never want work from me: an artist with no name who possibly wasn't good enough. But I was super wrong.
Everyone was allowed to join in; from professional artists to very young children, she had created a community that had taken off. Encouraging so many people to think about and engage with nature via the medium of art (something I think art can be very good at).
To join in, you apply for a pack which contains a strip of paper, concertinaed to create 'obstacles' for nature. On that strip, she has hand-drawn marks and lines in graphite, representing (to me), concrete and the human advance that makes it hard for nature to find a space to survive. You are allowed to interact with the strip in any way you like
"Think outside the box," she told me.
I wanted my strip to show people how to take action, so I started by cutting the strip in half lengthways. I then joined it with a painted green strip that 'cut' through the obstacles. Beside this green strip, I added in little houses that sometimes blended in with the background (Louisa's concrete) and sometimes didn't. I wanted this to represent gardens linking together; all those people letting wildflowers grow, building hedgehog houses, creating ponds, encouraging weeds and gardening without the use of pesticides, linking together, creating a nature corridor to help sidelined bugs and wasps and bees and insects survive. I then added some of those 'weeds' - cow parsley and clover and dandelions - which actually feed insects much better than those 'plants for pollinators' you sometimes find in the large gardening stores. Underneath I added the soil: a network of nature running beneath our feet.
I'm so happy that my strip will form part of an exhibition in Sevenoaks from 23rd-27th November 2021 at the Kaleidoscope Gallery and I hope the message reaches and touches many more people as it grows.
Check out Louisa's gorgeous work on her website here and follow her on instagram @louisacrispin.
Thanks for reading!