Fallen By The Wayside

 

Abortion and contraception are by no means modern interventions. For millennia, women have utilised a variety of plants to control and regulate their fertility. To this day, our hedgerows and waysides are still rich with these plants that were once used as emmenagogues and abortifacients, that allowed women to have bodily autonomy.

 

By unveiling lost narratives, and visualising the rituals of the sexual and reproductive female body, ancient knowledge that was stripped from women, in the face of modern medicine, is revealed. This investigation seeks to awaken us from our latent and patriarchal origins that deemed these skills of caring, healing, and maintaining women’s bodies, a threat to those in power.

 

Within this interchange between the natural elements, cyclical traces between women, celestial bodies, and the land emerge. Through the use of the powerful flora, alongside the light of the moon to quite literally shed light on our histories. Tying us not only to one another but also to non-human beings we find within nature. Revealing how intrinsically interconnected humans are within the natural processes of the land and the stratosphere beyond.

 

These images are made through a camera-less, moon-based technique that Alice developed and called lunargrams. Made by placing light-sensitive paper directly into the hedgerows and waysides, or placing the collected plants onto the paper, and exposing them to the light of the full moon.

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laying in a bed of bishops lace and artemisia,

thin white traces of paper flowers

by the wayside, a pharmacopeia of the past

soaked silver by the moon,

thriving on the margins, wild and

                                                       elysian

 

lunar lunacy lunatic,

a celestial body

blood moon,

cyclical and predictable

aligning only to be disassem

                                               bled

 

pennyroyal, tansy, rue

fertilised for you

plucked from the edges

an emmenagogic bouquet

a ritual and

                                  burial

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beneath the paper pallid light

a skin, sickle and sickly

nauseated and sticky

brew and drink it up,

serrated cups

                         quickening

 

 

a lost knowledge, stripped

from women of the past

veiled by time (men)

too much of a threat

forced to

                        forget

 

 

as I stand on the edges, 

bathed in milk light, 

I follow the cyclical traces,

a herbal autonomy

to reclaim our

                        past

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