Pharmaka – Plants, Magic, Medicine
These compositions explore the mystery and magic of plants’ healing properties, the relationship between faith, medicine, and a connection to nature. Inspired by the use of plants and flowers in herbalist medicine in both ancient and modern times I am continuing to develop this body of work. Initially looking at some old medicinal recipes from The Pharmacopea Londonesis and from medieval herbals, this led me to do further research. I have gathered visual information (sketches and photographs) in the Physic Garden at Falkland Palace, Fife, and at The Herbalist Garden in Angus, as well as in the countryside, about the plants mentioned in recipes and books I have been looking at. I’m interested in the idea that the plants may have both pharmacalogical/chemical healing qualities as well as energetic/magical properties, and the power of belief in the effectiveness of medicine, and the therapeuticproperties of beauty, nature and art.
Below you can see the compositions I have created so far. ‘For Breath is inspired by an old respiratory herbalist recipe containing Maidenhair Fern, Sweet Briar Rose, Agrimony and Coltsfoot. ‘For Beauty’ is inspired by an anti-wrinkle recipe containing Waterlily, Horsetail, Marigold, Cammomile, Strawberry and Teasel. ‘A Celestial Potion’ is inspired by an old recipe for rejuvenation including Lily of the Valley, Sweet Woodruff, Marjoram, Vervain and Purple Loosestrife. ‘Diod Anfarwaldeb’ is inspired by a recipe for immortality thought to be from from the Druids of Anglesey, and ‘Aura Suavis’ (Sweet Air) is a mind opening recipe, ‘Willow Ease my Pain’ is inspired by the pain killing properties of Willow which contains Salicylic Acid, the basis of Asprin.