North Light Arts, John Muir Fellowship, Natalie Taylor, Workshops

Natalie Taylor held a soil painting workshop with pupils from Sunnyside Primary in Glasgow, as part of the Encampment of Eternal Hope, a series of creative outreach events curated by Walker and Bromwich at the Briggait during COP26, Nov 2021. The children drew creatures found in soil from photographs taken under microscope, after sieving and grinding soil into a fine dust and adding water and gum arabic to make a sticky paint. They also learned about the Keeper of the Soils cape which had been worn during the Pilgrimage for COP26.

We hosted a mini Soil Summit in Dunbar in early Dec 2021 bringing together twenty five local people including those involved in local community gardens. We invited various people involved in the Pilgrimage for COP26 to speak about the walk and shared experiences with the audience.
There was a creative provocation on arrival in the form of the People’s Collection – For the Love of Soil placed inside wine glasses and labeled for participants to smell. This was designed to evoke sensory responses and people were invited to write down any thoughts, feelings or memories which these elicited.

We also asked participants various questions about their memories or soil and their favourite places in Dunbar with significant soils. One of the places was the Hedderwick Hill Plantation which is now part of the John Muir Country Park at Belhaven which had unfortunately recently been almost completely flattened during Storm Arwen.

Natalie asked people if a Keeper of the Soils event would be useful to bring people together to collectively share responses to this event, using the Keeper as a pivoting point for focussing attention to the soil and its role in supporting the planted forest.

It was clear how emotive talking about the recent felling of many trees by Storm Arwen in John Muir Woods was for people and this highlighted the relationship between soils and planting/vegetation.

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