Elements in Material: Iron Springs Bog
Eco-stained silk (on-site), silk thread, wool, beeswax and pigment, ink, bison fossil bone.
Photos by Peter Lee
Iron Springs Bog is one of Minnesota’s 160 Scientific and Natural Areas, which preserve natural features and rare resources of exceptional scientific and educational value across the state in a wide variety of natural landscapes. I visited 10 of these places as part of a Minnesota State Arts Board visual artist’s grant and left swaths of raw silk submerged for weeks to stain them in these bogs, rivers and lakes. The pieces were then stitched, felted and printed with ink, beeswax and pigment to represent each site’s topography.
Iron Springs Bog is named for springs, rich in iron-oxide, which issue from a gravelly moraine. The site, heavily used by the University of Minnesota Itasca Biological Station since the early 30s, contains a mosaic of raised-bed conifer swamp forest, boreal forest, and pine forest. Within the conifer swamp grow some of Minnesota's rarest plant species including a number of orchids.
The iron rich water flowing across and through IRON SPRINGS BOG stained the cloth a distinct iron hue. These waters flow to a small trout stream and then into the Mississippi River near it's headwaters at Lake Itasca.