The hand-folded, burned, and stitched prints in my “Folding and Mending” series are a way of expressing “the world folding in on itself.” We are so focused on our daily tasks and routines that we are neglecting the environment on which our very survival depends. We have created an imbalance in which our world is collapsing. As record storms and wildfires wreak havoc on our forests and communities, our ecosystems are unraveling at an alarming rate. My hand-manipulated photographs allude to the results of our climate crisis. Coastlines erode and submerge as sea levels rise. Trees and forests, stressed from years of drought, succumb to disease and fire. Golden hills crack and crumble. All at the hand of mankind.
While large, complex solutions are needed to fix the damage, there are small things each of us can do to help slow the erosion, clear the air, mend the cracks, and hold our planet together. The stitching in my images is a metaphor for the mending and rebuilding we must do to make our world whole again.
So far in the Anthropocene, we have not proven ourselves to be worthy stewards of our planet. But nature is resilient and our impacts can be reversed. Do we have the resolve to make change happen? Some of the “Folding and Mending” pieces are more deconstructive in nature. Multiple prints are collaged in layers, torn and scorched on the edges. Bits and patches extend beyond the image border, some held in place by threads… as if we dangle at the precipice.
Debra Achen - Folding and Mending