Enchant the Land
April 2023 – September 2023
Enchant the Land is a project that uses playful forms of wayfinding to bring attention to our disconnection with natural landscapes. Drawing from folk stories, walking research and explorations in print, the project encourages participants to explore their locality with an enchanted lens.
This was my final piece of work for MA Graphic Arts at UWE, Bristol. Its creative fuel came from my love of exploring landscapes on foot, role-playing games, a growing concern over the state of access to our countryside and a fascination with storytelling. From a graphic design perspective, Enchant the Land enabled me to dissect the meanings of wayfinding, adding my own touch to the humble sign post.
Drawing, copperplate etching, screen printing, risograph printing, lino printing, 3d construction, pewter casting, wood carving, laser cutting, Adobe CC, literary review, lots of walking and even more enthusiasm. Never before have I had access to so many resources, I tried everything I could. If you want the deep dive of my creative process, take a look at my critical evaluation.
This envelope can only be opened when you stand beneath a pylon. Within are a trove of stories, print and design all directed toward making our electrical companions more alive, more enchanting. The envelope itself unfolds to become a manifesto for Enchant the Land. A typical pack would include an etching, story, zine and a hand-made sticker pack.
The etchings are made to look like old technical drawings of archaeological finds, as if these were stone engravings discovered in some hillfort. Despite this, the subjects are distinctly modern. The man could be sitting in a Anglo-Saxon long hall, interrupted by a surprising arrival – that is, until you notice his collared shirt and heeled shoes, the pylon creature’s cables morph into the surrounding Celtic knot whilst the woman eats a picnic sandwich in the centre of the ancient settlement. Etching creates a warm old book effect, making these drawings feel more like artefacts than my digital prints. They are craft, not content.
The stickers I made for the envelopes have a few functions. They provide something lasting to take away from the envelope, something to give away and something to forget about. Including a series number and the fact that every print is slightly unique makes the sticker pack an art piece. Made using small squares of easy-cut lino affixed to wooden blocks, these stamps are quick and easy to reproduce.
Signs instruct, order and lead. With Sun and Moon Sign I used these qualities to make a firm statement about my objectives. The jagged sun can be seen as a sign with arrows pointing in all directions, it doesn’t tell the viewer to go in one direction, but many. On the reverse is the moon, reflecting the weirder side of Enchant the Land, the strange tales to the sun’s bold waymarks.
Its size and light weight means it can be carried, conceptually and literally leading my vision of the rural landscape forward.
My MA Graphic Arts degree show took place in September 2023 at Bower Ashton Campus UWE. The signpost was displayed with a concrete block weight, whilst all my artwork was mounted in frames that I had made. I invited visitors to stamp their own cards to take home with them and encouraged people to flick through the contents of a pylon envelope.