The international show (and the project that inspired it) promotes ecological balance and regenerative economies through a passion for wild pigments, their places of origin, and their cultural histories. Read an interview between Wild Pigment Project curator Tilke Elkins and Ross here, and check out more words from the artist below.
Beneath The Labyrinth is a triptych painted in chalk, ochre and iron gall ink on deerskin parchment. These works are made in the alchemical colours of white, red and black, reflecting the transformation of materials, of life, and of the internal landscape of the psyche. The living tree which formed the seed-image for the panels grows on St Katherine’s Hill in Old Sarum, Wiltshire. On top of the hill above the tree is an ancient turf-cut labyrinth, shining white with the chalk that sits just beneath the close-grazed grass.
Beneath the spiralling path, the roots.
Beneath the roots, the earth.
Within and upon the earth, transformation.
I am an artist and forager living by the sea in Dorset, England. Using what nature provides and repurposing what humans discard are a large part of my practice. After the rooks have feasted on the riverbank, the empty mussel shells become paint palettes. The seasonally moulted flight feathers of local swans and geese become quill pens and brushes. Waste deer skins (from animals shot for food and forest regeneration) provide parchment and hides to paint on. Chalk dug out from their setts by badgers is left in piles in the woods I frequent, where I gather it and take it home to make gouache. I make paints from foraged earth pigments from around the UK, and make art tools and inks from natural, wild, and found materials such as oak galls, rusty nails, elderberries, bay leaves and cherry tree gum.
The natural fluctuations of skins on which I draw, and the botanical ink stains or ochre washes with which I make prepared grounds on paper, all suggest forms with which I work.
I teach workshops on life drawing, painting with ink on deerskin, as well as how to make
many wild-crafted art materials. My drawings, paintings and illustrations can be found in books, online periodicals, and private collections. I am a regular contributor and member of the Dark Mountain Project and have had many pieces published in their books since 2015. I am also a member of the Wilderness Art Collective. For more work and workshops see www.carolineross.co.uk or www.instagram.com/foundandground
Caroline Ross, Alchemical Color Sets, Irongall ink, chalk, red ochre watercolor, 4 x 5 x 1 in, Edition of 3.