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Iris Priest

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I am an artist concerned with our relationship with 'nature' and how we shape our experience and [dis]connection[s] through language, pedagogy, and art. My work is nested in folk culture, witchcraft and place making and uses drawing, painting, printmaking, and gardening to explore holistic and vibrant ways of living in, and engaging with, the human and non-human worlds.

My practise, which is as much living and social as it is visual and literary, is organised around the central ethics of care, connection and healing. Most recently I have been working with Young Women’s Outreach Project in Gateshead (March 2020 - Present) developing and running online and home-based activities and workshops around guerilla gardening, mindfulness and kitchen table storytelling.

Since lockdown began in 2020 I have been collaborating with local growers and residents to create a seed library in Clara Vale where I live and work. I am particularly interested in the stories which seeds can tell us having been cultivated and passed on through generations - the history of seeds being deeply intertwined with the history of humanity and our evolving relationships with 'nature' through time. I am also currently undertaking a course in Medicinal Forest Gardening and working on an essay interrogating the systems based approaches of western thought and pedagogy; from dualism and the invention of 'nature', to contemporary environmentalism, permaculture and regenerative agriculture. I believe that listening is the most important part of any conversation and, more than anything, my practise is about listening to the multiplicity, heterogeneity and wonder of the living world of which we are a part.

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