Emma Percy is a queer eco-artist from Buffalo, NY who recently relocated to Bristol, VT. They work mostly in the realms of book arts and fiber arts, including papermaking, printmaking, zine-making, natural dyeing, and more. Percy graduated from Alfred University’s School of Art & Design in 2017 with concentrations in Sculpture and Expanded Media and believes in using art as a pathway for healing people’s connection with the environment and with each other. They have been teaching workshops at the intersection of art and ecology for five years and have been the Artist-in-Residence at the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb, NY and at the Tomorrow River Homestead in Nelsonville, WI. Their work has been shown in several dozen exhibitions around the United States, and their zines are held in public collections in at least three countries.
Understanding the ways that land, water, air, and living beings communicate and shape one another is fundamental to living well on this planet. The earth speaks in a multitude of languages that often go woefully unheard, but we can learn to listen, and perhaps even to speak back. One of these languages is that of seeds –both the end and the beginning of most plants’ cycle of life, exquisitely simple yet endlessly fascinating. Each plant species exists as an answer to a unique set of ecological circumstances, and as plants express the character of a landscape, their seeds are both an account to their experiences and a promise to continue surviving in place.
Gary Paul Nabhan summed up the enchanting power of seeds in a brief poem -“we don’t just study seeds, we study under the spell of seeds, for we can only conclude that we are their understudies; they are the masters.” A seed is simultaneously the message and the messenger –a body that holds memories and desires in safety until the time is right to emerge and transform. I believe that the spell they cast over us comes from their embodiment of hope.
The work in this show comes from years of slow observation of the Western New York landscape (the traditional homeland of the Haudenosaunee), the place that has made me who I am. Art can be a pathway through which to communicate with the land and to learn to listen more closely. By studying plants and working with their fibers, colors, and forms, I learn more and more about the more-than-human world and hope to inspire others to explore and listen as well.