Pulp/Seeds Experiments

Today I’m reawakening my green fingers in time for summer, to explore the idea of impregnating cardboard and paper with seeds. Through InHabitat, I came across these wonderful ideas for recycling and ecological reuse and replacement of everyday items and trees: The Life Box. You can find more out about it from the website, but the overarching premise of the product is the production, use, reuse and eventual composting or planting of the entire product.

The website advises: Tree Life Box™ Growing Instructions The Tree Life Box™ contains a selection of tree seeds and their mycorrhizal fungal partners that have the potential to grow into a forest ecosystem. It is up to you to begin the growth process of the carbon sequestering trees contained in your Life Box™ panel.

So with this is mind, I am following my updated plans to create growing, living 3D type elements that can be placed on the street and in situations to direct attention to the larger set piece, and readdress the place of the organic in built up areas. Hopefully I will end up with experiments on:

1. Kraftboard, sugar paper and corrugated card to fix seeds on their surface

2. Plain bleached and brown paper pulp to mix with seeds and set in sheets/layers/shapes

One of my concerns that I have not been able to address before now, is the notion that the glue or adhesive with which I will fix the seeds to the surfaces, will need to be extremely mild and at the least, non-toxic. I am hoping that an experiment with dissolved PVA/Pritt Stick will not affect the outer coating of the seeds, but if any of the experiments are successful, at least I will see results in about a week.

In other strange news out of the blue, it was about this time last year for my last bookworks project, that I decided that I wanted to grow mould on a book by burying it. Yes. I know. I was hoping to explore the nature of a book as a piece of nature as a product of trees and natural fibres, by allowing it to be reclaimed and tamed. It was also a very visual reminder that books may well soon be dead, and this burial and exhumation was a personal act of love on my part. I was hoping for it to decompose and thoroughly rotted through- regular watering and vicious shaking occurring to distribute soil between pages.

I resorted to using a large plastic container to move it around as appropriate and monitor the water-logging and sun exposure, so over the heavy winter rains I had not thought to check on it for a long time.

But today in the bright sunshine I am VERY pleased with the fruits of my patience! My mother doesn’t quite understand my excitement about a mossy, muddy, mouldy, peeling paperback of Les Miserables but anyone with an interest in texture, books and naturally, bugs. Once todays experiments are complete I will certainly upload them for all to see, because they certainly were a joy to photograph!

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