Ferns: the artist continues to begin

Opening Fiddleheads( Adobe Stock)

I am starting a new piece for a client and I am in the wonderful beginning stages, the place of color and form exploration. Some time ago I posted the empty frame size. Now, this week, will be the diving into the dye pot, the adding of color and form into fiber. I will indulge myself with a week of this (well, the actual time considerably less, since I also will be teaching and working on computer files and all sorts of other things…..)”deep diving” and then, (at least my plan then) my plan is to compose, pin, stitch, and finish.

Ferns have long been seminal in my work. They are one of the oldest plant species. According to the American Fern Society, there are fossil records that date to the middle Devonian (383–393 million years ago) (Taylor, Taylor, and Krings, 2009). I cannot speak for the insect spanning the two fiddleheads above. I am not sure what it is. Perhaps if you, oh reader, know, you can drop a comment below….I would love to find out. But that is beside the point.

All of my work centers around a concept of endangered species. Ferns are old enough that there are fossils of ferns; also, the organic matter that is now coal, diamonds(?) (I am hazy on my geology) could have originally shared atoms, molecules, cell traces, from ancient ferns. I consider all species endangered. The tiniest dandelion, common from vacant lots in abandoned cities to luxuriant forest fields, a plant that no one would ever think of as endangered as it is so prevalent — for that matter, even crabgrass — is in danger of extinction, if there is no more clean water and air and sunlight.

I choose to think of these things and speak of them in the visual language of color and form, of beauty. I choose to remind myself how precious all life is through all of my actions.

Carol LeBaron




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