Melilot – research & development
During 2020, I began to work with direct-on-film photograms using 16mm film and eco-processing techniques such as caffenol recipes (coffee, vitamin C and washing soda), which led to my first 16mm film River Traces. In early 2021, I took an online course with Curioso Lab in Mexico city, to learn more about Eco-Praxis in the film lab, leading to further experimentation with plant developers.
With this new knowledge, I began a new project ‘Melilot’ which grew from discovering a beautiful collection of leaf skeletons collected by my grandmother, Bea Hinde, in Wigan in the 1960’s. She died at the age of 92 of Alzheimers in 2006, from which she suffered for over 20 years. Alongside the connection with the deterioration of my Grandma’s health, especially memory loss, I sense these fragile remains of leaves have a relationship with the photogram, which captures a shadow; a trace; an imprint or impression.
Following conversations with my family about the leaf skeletons, I found out that Bea also collected and preserved a particular family of wild clover called melilot from around Wigan, often on demolition sites. She was a keen hobby botanist, as well as an artist and poet.
These are still images from my first experiments making photograms onto 16mm film with the leaf skeletons, then processing with plant developers and caffenol.
I aim to make a full photogram film using Bea’s leaf skeletons, and I have started to grow a selection of melilot in my garden, to also work with.
This work-in-progress was made possible with support from a ‘Brunswick Club’ bursary from Arts Council England, via my membership with Bristol Experimental Expanded Film (BEEF).