My work addresses concerns about the state of the natural world in the UK and the steady decline in biodiversity – of many plant and animal species – over the past half century. Since 2009 I have been working with scientists investigating how humans depend upon rich levels of biodiversity and exploring ways that to stop the decline.
The natural world is full of beauty and holds many benefits for humans that go beyond monetary value. A nature-rich environment is vital for people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. There are some obviously valuable benefits that support human survival such as food, clean air and drinking water and the absorption of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The work for Lost & Found focuses on two groups of species that provide humans with some of the most tangible benefits in terms of ‘services’.
They are the pollinators and the decomposers. The pollinators are a group of almost 500 species of UK bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and a range of other flying insects that are responsible for the majority of our food production. I’m collaborating with Professor Dave Goulson, from the University of Sussex, exploring the decline of pollinators in agricultural land, as well as the potential of UK gardens to become an important national ecosystem for pollinators.
The benefits that the decomposers bring are less obvious but equally important. In collaboration with entomologists at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, I’m focusing on a few of the hundreds of species of UK beetle that breakdown detritus in the environment and help create soil.
I’m working in a variety of media: Hand made and digital print, film, 3D display and live planting. There are references to the popularity of imagery from the natural world in textiles, and the decorative arts and I examine our need to create hybrids and ‘artificial’ planting displays, using bedding plants and hanging baskets, in towns and villages throughout Britain.