The parameters for “The Limits of a Place,” a mixed media work on paper, came from an essay by Henry David Thoreau called Walking. Thoreau thought that an area with a radius of 10 miles, or roughly the limits of an afternoon walk, could occupy your interest for a lifetime. Roughly based on this ratio of land area per segment of life, I calculated a radius I felt could sufficiently occupy me for two months while completing an artist residency at Rare Charitable Research Reserve.
The finale composition compines a variety of topographical maps and my memory of the landscape from my walks. My place of residence during this time is exactly in the centre. Everything depicted within the limits of map are made from natural material found within its borders. I’ve depicted elevation by layering paper and using willow ink to highlight the edges of each layer. The 3 different types of paper used depict different habitats - garlic mustard for marsh, burdock for forest, and phragmites for meadow or farmland. I embroidered rivers using thread dyed with pigment found in the roots of garlic mustard. Roadways and walking paths are embroidered using cordage made from native dogbane. While this piece was slow to make, I felt it was an extremely satisfying process to unlock the capabilities of plants to aid me in my practice as an artist.