Wandering Into Stillness

“We have forgotten what rocks and plants still know, we have forgotten how to be, to be still, to be ourselves, to be where life is here and now” – Eckhart Tolle

Transition, Samantha Boulanger, Cyanotype, 2020
Transition, Samantha Boulanger, Cyanotype, 2020

There was a time when I found it difficult to be still at all, or to be alone for that matter. I would constantly find ways in which to distract myself from well, myself ultimately; people, parties, food, alcohol, relationships, work, shopping etc etc…. but then there comes a time, hopefully, when you get really tired of your own BS! You start to go within, get to know yourself and slowly but surely, you can begin to heal what needs to be healed, and become authentically who you were in fact, always meant to be. Being in nature has definitely helped me with this process, plus a lot of therapy over the years!?!

Learning to allow myself to simply be, here, now, in this very moment has been a game changer. It’s a pretty cool place to be, but don’t get me wrong, I slip in and out of this place quite often and have to practice it daily, hourly, minute by minute even, but it feels great to be evolving, albeit slowly.

All of these aspects are proving extremely important to me, personally and within my art practice. I think the time spent throughout my undergraduate degree was, for me a huge catalyst for change, especially in my attitude towards myself and others, as well as a growth in confidence generally. Through learning, exploring and practicing art, I really feel that I have found my place and a deeper sense of connection to my ultimate muse; nature, and in doing so bringing me back to myself.

Almost There, Samantha Boulanger, Photo Etching, 2019
Almost There, Samantha Boulanger, Photo Etching, 2019

All the processes that I have been exploring these past few years, have essentially been working with and connecting to nature in the least toxic way possible. With my etchings I was introduced to a non-toxic ground called ‘BIG’, which was created and developed by our very own Andrew Baldwin (My main tutor throughout the past two years of my BA), the ground is really lovely to use, easy to clean and very effective (see above image).

You can get more information on BIG and Andrew’s workshops here.

Gratitude, Samantha Boulanger, Circular Cyanotype, 2019
Gratitude, Samantha Boulanger, Circular Cyanotype, 2019

With the simple process of Cyanotype, I found that I could create very freely in the varying tones and colours of Prussian blue, using sunlight and nature, as well as my photographic imagery.

My explorations then took me into the natural worlds of Eco-printing and Chlorophyll processes, in which I create images using nature itself, see previous two blog posts; From Eco-prints to the Chlorophyll Process and Botanical Bounty

Slow Stitch by Claire Wallesley-Smith and Natural Processes in Textile Art by Alice Fox
Slow Stitch by Claire Wellesley-Smith and Natural Processes in Textile Art by Alice Fox

Currently, I am looking a little deeper into various forms of nature art and during my research, I discovered two fantastic books; Slow Stitch by Claire Wellesley-Smith and Natural Processes in Textile Art by Alice Fox, as an up-cycler and forager, the concepts described in these books are not news to me, though I have found them immensely interesting and I am learning so much more from them.

Both of these wonderful nature inspired artists share their work, processes and the other artists that have inspired them. I decided to finally ‘have a go’ at slow stitching, something I have been longing to try for ages!

Alice Fox explores making inks using the earth, kitchen waste and plants as well as creating art using rusty metals on papers and fabrics. I love her work, check out her fabulous website here.

Slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket
Slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket
Slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket
Slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket
Test squares of slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket
Test squares of slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket

Getting a little more adventurous;

Landscape, slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket and rusty washer!
Landscape, slow stitch on eco-printed recycled wool blanket and rusty washer!

I would really like to incorporate slow stitching and the concept of mindful, almost meditative creating into my prints, both on paper and fabric in the future…

It has been soooo lovely to simply sit outside in the warm sun with a cup of tea, mindfully and gently stitching away on my foraged eco-printed recycled wool blanket fragments, just being in the moment and allowing the creativity to unfold; from wandering, into stillness.

Thanks for reading…

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