Artist Clare Newton is exhibiting her new work Seeds Of Change at Gilbert White’s House and Gardens in Selborne until August 28.
It tells an alternative story about seeds and how they are inspiring contemporary scientists with their natural ingenuity.
Clare has travelled the length and breadth of Britain in search of the most intriguing aspects of seeds. This work has resulted in incredible images and stories about her adventures and people she met along the way.
The exhibition shows what humans learn from nature. Clare visited Queen’s University Belfast to learn more about a project based on the germination of seeds called ‘cyber seeds’, in which scientists are discovering how humans may be able to ‘grow’ bridges and other feats of mechanical engineering.
Another project that has been inspired by seeds is the ‘powerless flight of seeds’. Scientists at Edinburgh University have discovered the dandelion seed is the most effective and stable flyer of all the hairy/pappus seeds.
They have been experimenting about how to make an imitation seed from which to suspend a computer.
Their ambition is to create energy-free flight so that one day biologists can analyse climate change on the wind and send back complex reports to the labs.
The exhibition does not only look to the future. While visiting the Heritage Seed Library, Clare examined seed specimens which people all around the country have been sending in, many of which have a story to tell.
The exhibition covers heirlooms and heritage plants that have not changed their genetics for centuries and shows how historic seeds could help save the future of the planet.
The exhibition consists of a series of composite photographs, microscopic images of seeds, interviews with scientists and video sketches to convey the wonder of current research into how seeds are providing information for horticultural development and non-horticultural areas of science, bringing together inspiring stories and visual trails for the public to enjoy.
Clare Newton has exhibited her past work widely and was inspired by Selborne to embark on this project.
She has also published a nature book, Colour Of Silence, which has been heralded by BBC television nature presenter Kate Humble.
The exhibition is free to view to those paying normal house and garden admission, and Clare’s book is on sale in the museum gift shop.