I am both an artist and an ecologist, and I cannot separate the two – they are intertwined. I work as a vegetation ecologist in the summer, searching for rare plants and exploring wild places. I spend the winter making art – the ideas and images for my art emerge from the time I spend in the backcountry, and the research I do in the library.
Ecology is about connections – the connections among species, between species and their homes, and between humans and our world. My art explores these connections.
I make images of plants and animals (using watercolour, natural dyes on silks, and printmaking) and construct them into three-dimensional pieces that convey concepts such as dynamic balance, food webs, or keystone species. The result is a cross-media collection of mobiles, silk paintings, transparent hangings, flexagons, and book arts.
Choosing non-toxic and sustainable materials is an important part of my practice. I use paper, silk, cotton, wood, and natural dyes and pigments so that my work will be not only long lasting but also biodegradable. My paintings on silk are done with a Japanese technique of cloth painting and wax resist called rozome, using soy wax, which can be washed out instead of dry cleaned. I strive to make art in an environmentally aware manner.
Dana is a multi-media artist who lives in Calgary but spends as much time as she can in the bush. She has an M.Sc. from the U of Alberta and an B.F.A. from the Alberta College of Art and Design. Her years of working as an ecologist provide a never-ending source of ideas and inspirations for her art