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Walking Home  |   All Paths Lead to Home ->

Walking Home. Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, 2008

Walking Home
Elia Woods

Many years ago, I worked at a natural foods store. One spring day, a customer wanted to buy some of the herb seedlings we had for sale outside. Most of them were unlabeled, and I had to admit that I didn’t know which was which; they all just looked like a bunch of little green things to me. A regular customer, Jeff, happened to be in the store at the time. He walked outside with me and began to point out characteristics of each plant. “Look at the shape of the leaves on this one; see how the edges are serrated. And look at these leaves, how fuzzy they are. Now this plant here has a square stem, and this one has leaves that alternate at the stem. See how this plant grows straight up, and this one branches out from the base.” And so I began to learn how to see what was in front of my eyes.

Growing a plant out from seed to harvest each year gives me a chance to really get to know it. Photographing plants, especially in close detail, is another way of deepening my knowledge and appreciation.

In my art, I am not trying to recreate the outside world. Best to just go outside for that. I am inviting viewers to take a closer look at the vegetables, fruits and herbs that sustain us, and to which we often don’t pay much attention. Gaining a new friend, or getting to know an old one better, is a pleasure and a gift. This growing intimacy can give us a sense of gratitude and of belonging in this world, of coming home.