Lichen Face.

I found a whole load of usnea lichen on the ground after one of these big gales.

(PLEASE NEVER RIP LICHENS OFF TREES! Even this lichen is still alive (as long as it has water content and any colour… it will just not survive long on the forest floor, so it is considered best practice to collect it from there. I ask permission.)

So beautiful.
I am truly in love with its ‘duck egg’ subtle hues and incredible complexity.
This independent fusion of algae and fungus.
I took it into the ‘box-house’ with no idea what I was going to do with it.
Holding it, still soft and pliable, and playing with it, showed me how it loved to knit itself together and, with the help of a PVA solution (wishing now I had experimented with wax/starch), and drying Time, I have ended up with this!!

There is a strange beauty to this dead lichen mask.

The lichen is dried now, coated in glue, and it is scratchy to wear.
It is also a bit dusty and, vaguely remembered, stories of lichen spores causing respiratory sickness meant I did not keep it on for long!
I might sew it onto some felt. That would make it more comfortable to wear….
I just love the lightness of it like this.
Perhaps I could find other ways to use it?

I used photoshop to create these images on a white background.

The detail of these images is mesmerizing!

I created this eye-bending mandala from the above image.

kat robertson artist

Then I played more with digitally layering the mask images onto various other forest images…they appear like such intricate embroidery!

I had to make up some bronze pigment for ‘Transpiration’ drawing and went a bit mad, with the left over paint, painting lots of things ‘gold’.

This series of photographs became ‘something to do with them’.

When the rain eventually stopped I took the mask into the sitka woods.
‘We’ had a short photo-shoot.
It was cold and eerie.

Definitely intend to play more with this mask, in the trees.
I would love to try making whole nature-woven bodies for this face.
Using living trees as the ‘spine’ for them and using only available natural materials to weave them.
Brittle, dead, Sitka branches would work well for this I think..
No glue, nails or ties.
Figures with lichen-glow faces in the woods.

Less of a mask now than it’s own face.

Reminds me a bit of our family ‘GreenMan’ entry for the Ardfern Village Scarecrow Competition 2012.

All this from finding some lichen on the ground, blown off by a big gale!

Such are the infinite, interwoven, connections in Gaia.

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