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Sophie Ferrier

Sophie Ferrier cultivates a multi-media, interdisciplinary ecological crafts practice, rooted between England and Wales. Grounded in the land and dedicated to ecological restoration, Sophie’s work weaves a narrative entwined with artistic research, materiality, and local environments. With a foundation in ceramic craftsmanship, Sophie employs contemporary techniques to transform ‘waste’ materials, ranging from food scraps to non-native invasive plants, into objects of enchantment. Her aim is to heal local ecosystems through the storytelling of restorative materiality, fostering a renewed kinship with the natural world. Central to her practice is the promotion of circular systems within craft. 

The objective of her recent project was to design a poignant object symbolizing the ecological degradation of our landscapes. This endeavour involved thoughtful consideration of form and materiality, intentionally utilizing materials crafted from the organic matter sourced from local non-native invasive species, which pose significant challenges to our local environments. Embracing an ethos of restoration within local environments, the project promotes ecological regeneration through materiality, with only taking from the environment what needs to be removed.  Culminating in the creation of a tangible symbol: the Urn, traditionally associated with ‘death’, the Urn prompts contemplation on the cyclicality of life, reminding us that all materials, including ourselves, will return to the earth one day. 

The project harnesses Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), a non-native invasive species causing ecological destruction to the River Wye and local biodiversity. Repurposing this organic material into crafted items, Sophie binds it together with brown algae extract and tree sap, creating a biodegradable and non-toxic material. Despite its invasive nature, this material holds the potential to be as sturdy as wood yet as adaptable as clay. 

Documented as a performance piece, the project contextualizes the act of returning to the earth, symbolized by the urn filled with regenerative material such as compost. Through this, the audience is invited to contemplate the importance of circular systems, recycling materials and nutrients, and cultivating a deeper kinship with the environment. 

Dissertation – An evaluation of artistic sensory engagement strategies used to mitigate the communication gap between scientific ecological research and general audiences.