This blog documents my developing work as part of an RSA residency for Scotland award 2011. For this I have been researching Sphagnum skyense moss, only found on Skye and traveling to Edinburgh printmakers to learn screenprinting. I intend to make a series of screenprints which relate to sphagnum.
This seems to sum up the special properties of this plant - printed using peat.
I have been looking through, selecting ones that are ok and signing them, very like finishing photographs properly, quite satisfying.
I like the balance between the delicate line of the actual grass (purple moor-grass), the drawing and the colour block, something which screenprinting can do well.
This print uses peat as the ink and I like the white space below - I originally planned this for a smaller piece of paper but felt it needed the space. Four different sphagna pencil drawings then reversed in photoshop in order to give the peat more prominence.
It rains, it rains quite a lot, we often just have damp air, grey and laden with moisture. This is the ideal habitat for the mosses that live in Scotland, especially on the west coast. Scotland is known worldwide for the mosses and bryophites that flourish here.
On a grey windy dark day you can look amongst the heather and discover carpets of bright greens, yellows and reds, these belong to the many different species of Sphagna we have in Scotland (34).
Often the differences between species can only be seen up close, with a hand lens or even under the microscope. For me I am interested in noticing the general feel and different appearances in the landscape for the different species, but it is also interesting to see the changes during the year with a specific plant. When there is no water the plant dries up becoming white or pale green and just waits for the rain. Some sphagna hold 90% water!
There is a whole mini ecosystem of single celled organisms, plants and animals which live only on the surface of and inside the waterlogged cells of Sphagna.