Walking In Deeper
( Click photos for larger view )

These are a series of walks with accompanying hand made artbooks. The self-guided walks can be taken anywhere. They are created to touch places in us that have been put to sleep by our soul-numbing culture. The guides are created from hand made, imported and recycled papers and mixed media.

Coming To Our Senses

Nature Guides introduce participants to the little known fact that we have at least 53 senses. These 12 guides carry people into a world of interactions and reflections on our senses, for example, with gravity, dampness, dusk and direction, within a city back yard or back country wilderness.

    Example of text on Touch: "Surprise your skin."
    Example of text on Gravity: "Sit Still until something falls."

Flesh Of The Earth alerts participants to the possibility that we can immerse ourselves in the natural world to such depth that we begin to hear a different language.

    Examples of text:
    "O Tiger-lily," said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind. "I wish you could talk!" "We can talk," said the Tiger-lily: "when there's anybody worth talking to."
    - Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland

    "Stand between two trees. Close your eyes and reach your imagination out to them. Remain still until you hear their words."

Misguide Nature Guide offers participants insight into the quirky, often shockingly misguided history of ecological thinking in Europe and America.

    Example of text:
    "Each creature in nature must be granted a right to the resources it needs for survival. Human beings...need more than hedgehogs do for their self-fulfillment, just as lords and ladies require more than peasants do."
    - Seventeenth century political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes.

The Gesture Of Return
We give very little back for all we take from the Earth. I create Gestures Of Return as symbolic ways to return something to our watershed; acknowledge that we do live in and depend on an ecosystem; and to begin to return spirit to our relationship with the wild. For ten thousand years many indigenous groups living around the North Pacific Rim, from what is now California to Japan and Korea, returned salmon bones to the rivers to insure that the fish would come back the next year healthy and whole. And the fish did, by the millions.

For fewer than a hundred years the present-day governments of these countries have devised management plans to improve salmon habitat. Despite these efforts, salmon populations decrease each year. Which method -- returning the bones or present-day management plans -- works best and why?

Hundreds of cleaned salmon bones accompany my travels. I give them out to anyone wanting to participate in The Gesture Of Return. This is an ongoing project since 1997.

Photo:  Placing the bones in the Eel River
Self addressed stamped postcards accompany each bone. Participants write back to me describing the location of their watersheds and what The Gesture Of Return was like for them. I have received cards from Japan and Australia, Florida and Cincinnati and keep a world map of salmon bone watersheds.
salmon bones picture

Photo:  Placing the bones in the Eel River

The Standing Still Project
Erica holding Standing Still sign What socio/ecological changes might occur if each of us stood still for just a few moments, or an hour every week? Collectively, we could create a significant influence on the consumption of the Earth's air, rivers, forests and soils. I periodically stand still in the midst of bustling public places around my community. The sign reads:
    One Artist's Response To Environmental Degradation.
    By standing still:

    you reduce air pollution,

    you slow the cutting of trees,

    you stop consuming,

    you avoid throwing things away,

    you halt the race,

    and you remember what you forgot.

 

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