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  1. The creative workshop/exhibition “Ashes of a Seedlings. Pigment Extraction From Natural Materials” finds its place somewhere between alternative learning pathways and a food chemistry study course, amidst equipping a modest “painter’s box” and finding a new culinary alternative, learning processes subject to marginalized industries.

    Extracting pigments from natural materials is a 100% environment-friendly process in which everything that can be found on and in the ground is used as raw material to create dyes: trees, leaves, mushrooms, lichens, fruits, vegetables, roots, and flowers, combined or highlighted in a special rhythm of boiling and preparing. Whilst not that bright, the colour palette of Baltic plant pigments is incredibly nuanced. Its variations of yellow and grey are surprising and even a little enticing in their versatile monotony. The blue of the lavender effortlessly transforms into a light mint pastel whilst the red of the rowan berry becomes a pale, almostinvisible ink-like substance… The result will not be an overwhelming carousel of bright, aggressive hues, but rather something akin to a meditative state of gentle and even slightly tiring intoxication.

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    The workshop creators intend to slowly transform the nuanced and dynamic process of pigment extraction into a visual art exhibition that encourages visitors to appreciate not only the in-person acquisition of new and useful knowledge through alternative learning methods but also its therapeutic "side effects".

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    At the center of the workshop/exhibition, you will find an improvised laboratory – this is where the pigment preparation will take place. Fireproof stoves, jars of murky liquid pigments, filters, the smell of steamed plants, all of it surrounded by white gallery walls inviting you to try the freshly acquired material and create abstract smears or deliberate compositions on surfaces specially designed for this process. Newly extracted pigments will be constantly added to the exhibition. To ensure the continuity of the process, visitor participation is more than welcome.

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    Keywords: nature and natural materials, creation, acquiring new knowledge through practical and creative activity, recycling, sustainability, building a society that empathizes with nature, promoting and broadening the understanding of the term “care”, interdisciplinarity, intimacy, and collaboration.

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    LOW Gallery, Riga, Latvia, 2021.

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    Thanks for support: State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, Nordic Culture Point and Finnish Embasy in Latvia

    Photos: Peteris Viksna