July 25: Plantable Eco-sculptures

Make-HER took advantage of a warm summer evening in this indoor/outdoor, earth friendly workshop. Ladymaker Lindsay Balfour opened the session with a brief discussion about environmental science, what makes materials biodegradable, and what the differences are between invasive and noninvasive species. How might different materials be used to create biodegradable art pieces that will decompose with the aid of living organisms and bacteria? What types of seeds will produce plants native to our area and how might these seeds be incorporated into art pieces?

Lindsay taught the group how to form sculpting material from:

  • 4 parts red clay powder
  • 1 part potting soil
  • 5 parts worm casings
  • California Poppy seeds
  • water (added gradually)
Mothers and daughters first prepped the soil with worm casings by mixing a small amount of regular soil with the worm casings to make it very rich and nutritious for the seeds. The red clay acts as a binder to keep all nutrients, seeds, and other materials contained within.

Once the dry materials were mixed, each participant took 1/4 of a cup of water and added it gradually, mixing with hands until the mixture felt like gooey (but not sticky) dough and could hold shape in a ball. The girls were careful at first, but soon everyone had their hands deep in mud.


With pliable balls of sculpting clay in hand, it was time for moms and daughters to get creative. Bamboo skewers and biodegradable twine became the scaffolding for sculptures. Moms and daughters built tiny structures, figurines, and hanging mobiles. One mother/daughter team even sculpted a name to bring home to Lorien!

Left outside, these sculptures should degrade and release seeds for a patch of golden poppies, the state flower of California.



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