As Nature Intended?
Artist in Residence, National Botanical Garden of Wales, 2001
This extensive residency was the first of its kind at the Botanic Garden of Wales, encouraging interaction between the artist, scientists and horticulturists and visitors to the Garden. For 16 weeks over the summer of 2001 Heather delved into the plant world in this beautiful rural setting, a botanic garden forging links between landscape, conservation, horticulture, environment, art, science and energy. The work produced reflects her time spent at the garden and wider botanical issues such as growth and reproduction, and examines the relationship between human and plant life.
Armchair Botanist – a site-specific ‘outstallation’ exploring the domestication of nature.
We invite nature into our homes; we upholster our furniture and cover our walls with floral designs; we consume television programmes which enlighten us on natural phenomena and inform us about the world we live in; we frame idealised landscapes to hang on our walls into which we daydream. Sometimes we leave our homes and take trips to sites of natural beauty and spaces created specifically for us to enjoy the spectacle of flora and fauna. We spend hours in our gardens pruning and preening, creating order. We are nature’s number one fan, but only when we are in control. Here the ivy grows from within the furniture and slowly regains control over it’s domestication.
The Living Room – a temporary gallery installation experiencing cycles of life, growth, reproduction and decay.
On a carpet of grass sits a single bed of brambles and dandelions, on the moist walls cling germinating seeds attaching roots and growing towards the light. At the start of the exhibition the floor and walls were dotted with seeds, by the end of the seven week run they had reached maturity and started to decay. The single bed is symbolic of childhood fairytales and draws reference to the asexual reproduction and the diuretic properties of the brambles and dandelions, which grow from within. The plants were chosen because of their conflicting status as both common weeds and rare endemic species and were collected from within the Garden estate, growing naturally and freely in the verges and woodland.