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Rose Hip

by: Ralph Simpson

Willow skein, hemp, day lily leaves, Siberian iris leaves and papyrus stems

This Rose Hip was made with willow skein for the frame, over which I twined daylily, Siberian iris, hemp, papyrus, and various grasses, all of which were harvested in the Fredericton area, including my personal garden.I have a deep attachment to the fibres that I harvest because I have watch them grow, some in my garden and many along my foraging route which I travel by bicycle everyday throughout 3 seasons. I wait for the blossoms to mature and the seeds to disseminate before I harvest what I need and I show my gratitude for the plants that the earth provides. I follow strict environmental principles regarding when to harvest, how much to harvest, and I am careful about processing the plants so as not to waste any of what I have harvested.

The Rose Hip was woven thoughtfully and with reverence for the plant fibres. I am mindful of the rose hip's purpose which is to provide a protective case for the seeds to develop and mature. It is an important job as the genetic makeup of the rose is held in the seeds. The rose hip is developed to protect that genetic information for future generations of roses. The finished piece is a testament to my process and a tribute to the environment from which it came. I see the Rose Hip as an extension of our growing season and the life of the plants that go into its creation.

Small ralphsimpson Ralph Simpson

Nationally acclaimed Canadian plant fibre artist Ralph Simpson has developed an innovative method of weaving, bending and sculpting plant fibre to create three-dimensional artwork. His graceful work blends bold colour and innovative materials with ephemeral fibres to achieve a most satisfying balance.

Ralph is an award-winning artist and holds an MSc. from UNB in Forest Research Biology, and a Diploma in Fine Craft from NBCCD. Informed by the sciences and technical expertise his intricately woven pieces reflect the fields and forests around him.

He was born in Hillsborough, New Brunswick and currently resides and works full time in his studio in Fredericton, exhibiting his work locally and internationally, attending residencies and giving workshops. Ralph forages his own plant fibre and employs principles that support environmental sustainability.

The flora of New Brunswick informs his work and his creative process. His designs arise from his interpretations of nature and have evolved from traditional basketry, to vessels, and botanical sculptures which are often scaled up to magnify detail. His process results in a manifestation of his connection with plants in their natural habitat.

His chosen materials are plants stems and leaves, bark, roots, rush, sedges, and grasses and although his work varies in form and style what resonates in all his work is an underlying investigation into ways that plant materials can be used to spark interest and insight into the natural world.

His personal motivation arises from a deep connection with nature and a reciprocal need to promote environmental conservation.  

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collectionArtNB currently has approximately 960 pieces of artwork in our collection. These have been acquired throughout the past 50 years.

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