This blog is about what I have learned about the British environment and how it informs the design of my Wilding Environment Print.
You can learn more by following the links and by downloading the reading list I have put up in the Community part of this website.
1. The Great Un-wild
When I first visited Europe, a long time ago, I threw myself into the heritage buildings and history, the shops, the transport, the theatre, the galleries and the countryside. I had to see castles, cathedrals, country houses, daffodils, tulips, oak trees and all I had encountered vicariously in literature and on TV.
But after a while, I felt a growing hole. Food tasted ‘manufactured’. Fresh produce markets sold perfect unblemished fruit and veg, packaged, chemical-laden and unlocal. The fields and hedges were too neat. I craved scraggly, uncontrolled spaces and wide skies. I longed for home where there was less resolution and order, and lots of wild.
When I designed Savannah Woodland, I knew the animals and plants from deep within. They were the wild flora and fauna of my youth. Creating a companion piece for Britain has been much, much harder.
To design Wilding, though, I needed to read and learn a great deal. Fortunately I live next to the River Tyne and I walk in the north Pennines almost every week and so I now have 20 years of being in British nature. This means I’ve been able to connect my heart to what I have been finding out with my head. The reading and internet searching have thus been a gift because I now feel more rooted in my northern home. And those perceptions of something being missing that I had as a young traveler have been confirmed.
- Haydon Bridge on the River Tyne 2. The North Pennines [Photo: Aron Mazel]
Something big has happened to Britain in the last 100 years. The natural environment, imperceptibly for many, has been harmed on a grand scale. It has been turned into the great, neat and tidy unwild outdoors with more sheep than it should carry.
For a summary of the damage that I have learned about, go to 3. Un-wilding.
For my design Wilding, though, I have focused on the re-wilding that is happening, which you can read about next.
Return to Wilding Environment Print.