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Figurative Alchemy

Figurative Alchemy, (2022) is a private commission of a 40" x 50” Sustainable Silver Gelatin Print (FB paper) made with homemade fig tree developer house in Avon Cottage in Bristol. 

This project was inspired by a meeting at Inshriach House, situated in the Cairngorm Mountains, in September 2021. Through ongoing correspondence with the collector and a visit to Avon cottage in Bristol, the project emerged through a collaborative process. The commissioned work would be a sustainable photographic print which would be unique to the local surroundings in which it is housed. In the Autumn of 2022, Figurative Alchemy emerged from spending extended periods of time in the garden at Avon Cottage researching, brewing and testing the various plants and vegetables that can be harvested there. The garden, and the home that surrounds it, is often inhabited by writers, artists and musicians - removed and tucked away from the hustle of Bristol City.


The work was inspired by those who spend their time at Avon Cottage as well as the energy of the garden in autumn. The light disappears and the trees lose their leaves. The plants' photosynthesis, respiration and growth slows down, and the garden enters a period of hibernation in preparation for a rebirth in spring. 


The fig tree at Avon Cottage was both a site of inspiration and resource for this commission. Figurative Alchemy is a one-of-a-kind and unique sustainable silver gelatin print. The work was hand printed with home-brewed developer made from the leaves, bark and fruits of the tree. This is the first known print to be developed and printed with this natural plant developer. 

The print is housed at Avon Cottage, framed with museum glass, archival board and locally sourced wood. This project was supported and commissioned by Read Publishing. Thanks to St Paul's Community Darkroom and Ruth Jacobs who was an assistant for the final print. To Gelatin Print who initially guided me to mural printing and to Jack's Lab in Bristol for their support and processing skills. Finally to the fig tree at Avon Cottage for it's fruitful donation. 

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