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Historic England & North Yorkshire Council 

Selby North Yorkshire 

 

Definition - Medieval latin for tent or butterfly

Drawing inspiration from the temporary theatre-like structures of historical markets, fairs and festivals, and the Abbeyʼs origin story, the flamboyant swags printed on this scaffolding wrap are shown in the act of swaddling the building beneath as it is restored and regenerated.

The imagery of plant life depicted on the cloth symbolises the return of the fertile wilderness which the Abbeyʼs founder, Benedict, encountered here when he arrived in the late 11th century. As a young monk at the French abbey of Auxerre, he experienced a number of visions in which he saw the site at Selby where he was to build a new monastery. It is said that upon reaching the site he constructed the first structure of what would become the Abbey, beneath the protective branches of an ancient oak known as Strihac. Intricate mediaeval carvings of writhing foliage, which nod towards this origin story, and populate the interior and exterior of the abbey today.

The timing of the project coincided with the very first shoots of spring which emerged at the start of 2023. Ed gathered sprigs of the native wild plants which grow in the area surrounding the Abbey - yarrow, hedge garlic, wild chervil, hemlock, wood avens, ragwort, mallow, wood sorrel, bramble, nettle, thistle and dandelion.

Using modern photographic methods he was able to create high resolution images of the collected plants which captured their forms in minute detail. He then digitally manipulated these to create repeat patterns. These were then printed onto fabric and arranged into a large scale installation in his studio, the photographs of which make up the final images used for the scaffolding wraps.

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