tell me a story about plants / 
conte-me uma historia sobre plantas

Portugal

2022

Out of the 400,000 named plant species, two in five are threatened with extinction. (1) Plants are the basis of most animal habitats and all life on earth. They create breathable air for us all. We literally inhale the breath of trees, flowers and other plants. Of other living beings. 

 

Yet we struggle to see and remember the plants we encounter on a daily basis. Can you recall the last plant you saw? Do you know what species it was? 

 

Plant blindness, described by the biologists Elisabeth Schussler and James Wandersee as “the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment” (2), reveals that our brains will not necessarily identify distinct plants in a landscape and will only remember seeing a green area. It seems to be simultaneously a cause and a symptom of urbanisation, insufficient exposure to plants and lack of emotional connection to nature. 

 

Tell me a story about plants / Conte-me uma historia sobre plantas is a project about plant blindness, about the plants we see on a daily basis, the ones we encounter, the ones that are endangered, the ones that no longer exist, the ones we never knew existed. Using various sewing techniques, the different pieces form a poetic yet slightly troubling installation. 

 

Plantas de Viseu is a large embroidery. I spent a month in Viseu making a list of all the varieties of plants I encountered. I have slowly stitched by hand each name on a piece of green silk. This project could go on as long as I continue to find different types of plants in Viseu. 

 

Endangered / Em Perigo is an installation of a selection of machine embroidered pieces that represent the plants that have gone extinct or are critically endangered in Portugal. They are pined on the wall in a geometric manner that can refer to a herbarium. The empty spaces represent the plants that we didn't even know that have disappeared. There must have been a few. The installation is accompanied by a small book that explains what plants are endangered. (Using https://www.iucnredlist.org ) 

 

Our Stories, Nossas Historias is a series of embroideries that question our relationship with plants. The format evokes the azulejos: unique pieces placed together to create an entity. Omnipresent in cities, although there uniqueness, they blend into the urban landscape. How will we learn to look more carefully at our surroundings ? The delicacy of the pieces contrast with the enormity of the situation, with the sadness of the context. It is always complex. Art questions, pushes to reflect, tells stories, opens discussions. So let's start talking more about plants. What story will you tell ? 

1 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/06/ghost-orchid-that-grows-in-the-dark-among-new-plant-finds?mc_cid=65f5b9d8de&mc_eid=3db6c0bdb5

2 https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190425-plant-blindness-what-we-lose-with-nature-deficit-disorder

This project is part of the group exhibition TERRARIUM currently on at the CAVA Galeria in Viseu, Portugal. 

Plantas de Viseu 

Hand embroidery (cotton thread on silk)

145 x 2100 cm

Our Stories, Nossas Historias 

Machine and hand embroidery (cotton and metallic thread on cotton)

15 x 15 cm 

 

Endangered / Em Perigo

Machine embroidery (cotton thread)

5 x 5 cm – 5 x 12 cm