Sphagnum moss series, May 2022

One chapter of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book ‘Gathering Moss’ explores the contribution that sphagnum moss makes to maintaining equilibrium of all kinds. The ability of sphagnum to hold water means that plant material is prevented from fully decomposing, and over thousands of years peat soil is formed by the partially decayed material. An estimated 3.2 billion tons of carbon is ‘locked in’ by UK peatlands alone.

We searched for sphagnum moss on Ilkley Moor and have used the forms of the tiny leaves as the basis for shapes at the centre of each mobile. We have tried to express the sense of the plant holding an element, – carbon, – by shaping the wood around another natural material, – a stone. A piece in each mobile carries a stone at the centre of its balance, and the balance of the whole sculpture arises from that gesture.

Images by David Lindsay