Artists in Dialogue with the Landscape: Sense of Place

 |  June 7, 2016

The third book I made for the Adkins Arboretum’s Artists in Dialogue with the Landscape invitational is a hanging book called Sense of Place. When I had visited the arboretum in the winter I saw these two branches from a sweetbay magnolia tree arching over the bridge and thought it would be a perfect place to do a hanging book. I had at first envisioned doing one of my plaster and encaustic window books, but I really wanted to work with cloth again as I did with The Secret Language of Trees Book that I did last year. I thought the light would filter beautifully through the waxed fabric.


Sense of Place
Artist book made from cotton, beeswax, dammar resin, and thread, 81 ½ x 8 inches

artist statement
Sense of place is both the knowledge one has for the land one is on and the folklore of that land. From this knowledge comes a sense of belonging. Each hand stitched design was inspired by the trees and plants that grow at Adkins Arboretum- black oak, buttonbush, devil’s walking stick, sweetbay magnolia and winterberry. Ecosystems are similar to complex tapestries in that each living organism is a thread that connects to the life of another. A sense of place is sorely lacking in our modern society. If we felt a belonging the very land we stand, then perhaps society would then collectively desire to protect what it there.


I had mentioned in a previous post my thoughts about the thread signifying the connections of each life to another. Whenever I do stitching or any sort of sewing or needlework, it makes me slow down. Stillness, but busy hands. Nature is always making.


I wanted the pages to have openings as well to have the the environment around it to also interact within the designs. A layered forest is a healthy forest with all layers interacting with one another.




Artists in Dialogue with Nature runs until the end of September at Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely, MD. If you happen to be crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on your way to Ocean City- make a little detour to visit this gem of land stewardship. Tuckahoe State Park is right nearby which is also part of the Underground Railroad. I hear it’s also a great place to go canoeing.

I used this quote a few weeks ago, but it fits perfectly, so I’m using it again!

“The great ecosystems are like complex tapestries – a million complicated threads, interwoven, make up the whole picture. Nature can cope with small rents in the fabric; it can even, after a time, cope with major disasters like floods, fires, and earthquakes. What nature cannot cope with is the steady undermining of its fabric by the activities of man.”
~ Gerald Durrell

1 Comment

  1. by caterina giglio on June 8, 2016  10:41 am Reply

    awesome work, just love the whole concept and your take on it...

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