workshops led by Jacques Nimki

The British Institute of Native & Alien Plant Species presents a series of workshops led by the British Artist – Jacques Nimki.

Workshops: 24th – 27th of November 2016
Place: Old Orphanage, Sieroca Street, Gdańsk

Nimki works from and within the urban landscape, using mainly weeds and flowers as a way of exploring how we perceive others and ourselves within particular environments. Plants like people, looked at but not seen, forgotten in the backdrops of the every day, inhabiting places that are usually neglected or unexplored.
His practice attempts to rearticulate some of the complex relations between landscape and identity in contemporary culture. Contrasts such as nature and culture, interior and exterior, visible and hidden arise alongside divisions such as public/private and real/artificial.
Each work is about a sense of place and demands an individual approach that is site specific/determined in relation to its location. Every project begins with an intimate, hands-on reading, Sitting, conversing, watching, and walking throughout the site and its surrounding areas. During this research period activities include making observational drawings of plants, cultivation, seed collection, flower pressing, mapping and creating plant related paraphernalia.
In addition to an area’s floral make-up,  further information regarding local architecture and artifacts, historical and social contexts will determine and influence the final outcome of a finished work.
These works are varied and have taken the form of  fields placed inside buildings, plants propagation , drawing installations, traditional floral arrangements, interior & architectural interventions. Other aspects of his work have included concocting a variety of both non-and alcoholic beverages, exploring the culinary delights of weeds and creating rare and desirable beauty products.

Following a research period in July 2016, the artist  located, identified and collected a number of plant species in the Gdansk area located directly opposite the Poczta Polska. These pressed plants will be used in a series of drawing workshops with local residents to produce a florilegium (Flower book). The Gadansk florilegium, will then be used by the artist to create a series of designs that will be placed on the windows of the apartments opposite the Poczta Polska

All of Nimki’s works are florilegiums. A Florilegium of weeds is more than a record of plants in a given area; they are a construct of ‘the scene unseen’.
Drawings and Paintings combine conventional and traditional associations that relate to flora, achieved through pattern and repetition, delicacy of line or intensity of colour. Creating objects of a beauty that are considered as desirable and exclusive from a subject matter regarded as inferior, uninteresting and excluded. By aestheticising what society finds unpleasant and insignificant we are reminded that our everyday experience of nature is one that is contrived and filtered. Beauty that we consider as desirable is in truth simulated and manufactured and as far removed from ‘nature’ as possible
The original florilegium (literally 'flower book) is a category of books from the seventeenth century, where images were more significant than text. Many of the books contained a variety of styles by one artist, from the naturalistic and pictorial to the abstract and diagrammatic. At this time flowers were increasingly grown purely for their decorative qualities, their colours and form, and not as previously for their practical use in medicine and cooking. The kitchen garden, the herb garden and the physic garden were joined by the flower garden – ‘the garden of earthly delights’, the metaphorical recreation of Eden.
It was a time when new species were appearing in Europe as a consequence of travel, trade and colonisation and when horticulture saw the development of new varieties and hybrids. It became fashionable to cultivate and collect flowering plants. Plants and gardens became status symbols indicative of wealth and of intellectual engagement. Florilegiums were the records of individual plants in particular gardens; these catalogues preserved a record of what would otherwise pass away. Thus the florilegium stands in for the thing itself, becoming a permanent portable substitute for the impermanent and fixed, a garden and its plants.
The picturing of plants in the form of a florilegium, has no scientific purpose, no intent to analyse, classify or otherwise explore its subject, no text, and no argument, it was primarily a statement of possession, of ownership. The collection of plants, as indeed other categories of exotica, was contingent upon wealth and leisure, and was motivated by curiosity, novelty, exoticism and rarity. Those who established notable gardens were royalty and aristocracy, merchants, bishops, people with independent incomes.
By the 18th century 'curiosity' and collecting were suspect activities, and collections predicated on beauty or curiosity value alone were seen as indulgent and corrupt, the age of science was upon us and botanical drawings superseded the florilegium.

Each workshop will take place on two occasions and will be for a duration of One hour . The workshop will always begin with Part 1 (drawing) which will last for approximately 30 minutes along with an explanation of the artists ideas and interests. This will be followed by Part 2, which will introduce participants to a way of working or technique that is  part of the artists practice.

Part 1 – Drawing  (30 minutes)
Introduction to project. Show my plant drawings. Instructions on  how to make a plant line drawing that is correct for window design. Participants make drawings (30 minutes)  

Part 2  – Practical activities  (30minutes)
Workshop 1
Observational drawing.- learning to draw in proportion and making sure that your drawing fits on the page

Workshop 2
How to make non alcoholic elderflower (czarney bec) champagne from elderflower cordial anytime of the year in 3 weeks, ready for Christmas

Workshop 3
How to  personalize a pair of cotton napkins using  an iron on plant design.

Workshop 4
How to make a coloured transparent  design in tissue paper to decorate a window

Workshop 5
How to make a variety of room sprays for different moods (Emotional Balance, Deep sleep and Passion) using essential oils


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The project is organised as part of the European Programme The People’s Smart Sculpture (PS2).
Workshops are lead within Grassowanie 2016 – program of innovative cultural education.