Blog: Moss and Lichen Crafts

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my latest creative endeavours – but that’s not to say that they’ve stopped! For Christmas, I received a starter kit for resin art. For a while now, I’ve thought how lovely it would be to encapsulate nature’s treasures in resin, and preserve what might otherwise wilt or crumble. Read on to hear about my first foray into the world of resin art, and to see the ways nature has been inspiring me since the new year.

Links to buy my ‘moss in resin’ pieces, through my Folksy store, are at the bottom of this post.

Nature exists somewhere between the ephemeral and the eternal. All things in nature go through a period of death and decay, but there is also a resurgence of life and growth. We are just beginning to see that resurgence now, as the snowdrops reappear and the trees begin sprouting new buds. Yet even in the darkest days of winter, when everything else lies dormant or dead, there is something that grows perpetually, and gives our world colour.

I must admit, I have never really taken a closer look at moss or lichen, until this year. This winter has been more difficult than in previous years, and there has been a greater need to find colour and spectacle, even in the smallest things.

Since taking a closer look, I have become fascinated by the delicate structures of these organisms. Only one is strictly a plant: moss is a small herbaceous plant, though they lack flowers or seeds and instead reproduce through spores. Lichen is a composite organism, consisted of an algae or bacteria and a fungi, which together form a miniature ecosystem. Mosses and lichens can often be confused or conflated, as they can often be found in the same places, thriving in similar environments.

Mosses come in a vast array of greens; lichens can vary from mustard yellow, lime green, duck-egg blue, and slate grey. Their shapes are just as unusual, from dapples to scales, branches to bristles, craters – and even little trumpets! The latter, called pixie cup lichen, is my favourite.

These beautiful details make mosses and lichens the perfect subject for preserving in resin. While it seems a shame to pluck samples of from the places where they grow, casting them in resin allows you to preserve them, and take them into your home. Meshing the different varieties of moss and lichen together creates a lovely texture – a kind of natural embroidery.

So far, I’ve been collecting mosses and lichens when out on my walks – sparingly, picking only as much as I need – and setting them in resin using coaster and block moulds. It can be a little stressful working with resin, especially as a beginner, as it can be messy and there are lots of mistakes that can be made. However, it’s very therapeutic to arrange the natural materials to form their own unique patterns. I’m really happy with my first few attempts!

My moss pieces for sale:

I have created a number of pieces, and I am selling them through my little shop Handmade by Nellie, which is now on the platform Folksy. The items pictured above are the ones that have not yet been sold – do follow these links if you would like to take a closer look at Hedgerow, Reef, Stream, or Orchard.

A new project…

My exploration of moss and lichen, and my resin crafts, will be the focus of a few of my future posts. I am currently embarking on a residency for the underGROWTH project, through which I will be producing work about the secret world of moss and lichen. Rest assured, the folklore of these organisms will come into it, too! These posts will track my journey on this new, exciting project.

underGROWTH is a series of eco-art residencies designed to confront issues relating the Coventry’s environment. It is curated by Lauren Sheerman and George Ttoouli, with The Pod Cafe and allotments in Coventry. Learn more on Twitter at @underGROWTHcov, or on Tumblr here.

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