Helen Jones is an artist and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. A recent graduate of Glasgow School of Art, Jones’s work uses photography and sculpture to explore themes of decay, urgency and memorial.
My project, shown as part of the Decade exhibition, Herschel’s Garden, was made as a response to a Victorian walled garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh, owned by Pyrus Botanicals. I took a slow contemplative approach to making the work. Spending time in the garden reflecting on space and season. At this time of year, plants are balanced on the cusp between the decaying, breaking down into the earth, and the dry and desiccated remains full of seeds waiting for the right conditions to burst into life. Out of sight, the earth warms, bulbs and seeds send shoots out and pollinating insects start to emerge. The trees are full of early buds and early blossom. Cyanotypes were first made in the early 1840s, the process itself is slow, taking a long time to complete an exposure in sunlight. The slow process reflects the pace of the growing garden and the necessity of light and water. The large-scale cyanotypes are printed on Calico, a natural fibre. The prints are a combination of photographs and debris taken from the walled garden. The photographs were turned into large scale negatives which were then used to make the cyanotypes.