In Small Parcels
2013 | pressure print, letterpress, handmade prairie grass paper | 12″ x 19″
The result of a Bench Press Events collaboration, which paired artists with members from the Society of Ecological Restoration. The member’s would share their experience and story an SER member, and the artist would distill this experience into a print that captured essence of that particular narrative in conjunction with the ideals of the organization itself. Process photos can be found here.
In mid-August of 2013, I met with SER Member, Debbie Mauer, at the Chiwaukee Prairie Preserve in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. The prairie was speckled with late summer purples amidst vibrant greens and yellows, and on its crest sat the great Lake Michigan. In our talks amidst the tall grasses, we discussed not only our own histories, but the history of this small prairie, and its role in the history of the greater Illinois River Basin and the Great Lakes. During the conversation, Debbie mentioned the remarkable diversity found in these small parcels of land. This diversity is the result of a long and magnificent history that we can never fully know but can respect and maintain.
My objective with this print was to capture the beauty found in a sense of balance that is more easily felt rather than explained. This dance of balance is reflected in the various renderings of the Illinois River Basin in the shadow of Lake Michigan. In order to emphasize the fragility of the region’s natural resources, I worked with Debbie to harvest local prairie grasses–processing them into pulp mixed with cotton rag–to create a paper that is tied to the place that inspired it.