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WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU WEEDS, MAKE WEED ART Art 

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU WEEDS, MAKE WEED ART

Washington DC (Ensia) – To most of us, nonnative plants like garlic mustard and honeysuckle are at best irksome invaders — and often sources of ecological and economic woe as well, as they outcompete native species and consume massive investments of time and money in the form of efforts to keep them under control. But to Patterson Clark, they are the seedbed of a unique art form.

Clark, a Washington, D.C.–based multimedia artist and graphics editor, makes wood carvings, paper, ink and printing blocks from invasive weeds in his community, then recombines the elements to create a work of art that reflects on the very materials it contains.

In this podcast and photo gallery, environmental scientist Jen Baldwin follows Clark as he makes paper from Irish ivy, then uses inks from the ivy, multiflora rose, and weed soot and a Norway maple print block to produce prints for his “Ivy Swarm” series.

“This is an environmental gesture,” Patterson tells Baldwin, “where I’m drawing attention to the inherent value of these unwanted plants so that, ideally, I could build a small economic engine that could roll through the forest, increasing biodiversity by removing exotic invasive vegetation.”

This report prepared by Mary Hoff, podcast by Jennifer Baldwin for Ensia

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