Updated: Jul 24
The Eclectic World of Invasive Species with artist Laura J Shape
In the world of art, there are countless ways to express creativity and evoke emotions. One artist who has caught the attention of both art enthusiasts and environmentalists alike is Laura J Shape. This talented artist's unique approach to art revolves around creating her pieces using the hides of invasive species. Through her thought-provoking and visually stunning pieces, Laura J Shape has not only successfully raised awareness about the impact of invasive species on ecosystems and celebrating the diversity of our natural world, but she also honours them by creating works of beauty with their skins.
The above piece is one of my favourites - find out more about it here .
Laura says," Through my work, I aim to call attention to an urgent problem. Humans have accidentally introduced animals from parts of the world where they’re naturally kept in check to areas where they have no natural enemies. These animals dominate their new environments, destroy the native wildlife populations, and threaten the entire ecosystem. Unfortunately, to fix this problem, thousands of them must be killed. I work with their skins to help support this vital initiative, and in the hope of creating something beautiful from such an ugly situation. Each skin I use helps protect hundreds of different types of native mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and coral reefs, as well as the livelihoods of the millions of people who depend on them.
So what are invasive species and what can we do about them?
Invasive species refer to non-native plants, animals, and microbes that are introduced into an ecosystem, often causing significant ecological harm. These species can disrupt the balance of the environment, outcompete native species, and alter the landscape dramatically. Their proliferation can have disastrous consequences for biodiversity, agriculture, and even human health.
The child of an artist and an engineer, Shape loves working with her hands, crafting objects that are both functional and beautiful. She considers her bags and accessories to be sculptures, and she loves incorporating different art-making techniques into their creation.
Laura's journey into the world of invasive species art follows a path of curiosity and experimentation starting with belt buckles and then becoming interested in wet molding the leather of the belts. She has since found herself a unique niche in which she highlights the often-overlooked impact of invasive species. Laura says, "I like working with them, it gives me purpose.... it is beyond just making to make. I think they're beautiful and I really like the randomness of working with a natural material. Find out more in Laura's interview below
Through her art, Shape seeks to portray the complexity and beauty of these invasive organisms, while also encouraging viewers to reflect on the fragile equilibrium that sustains our ecosystems. Her artwork bridges the gap between science and art, capturing the essence of these often-misunderstood species in a way that is both captivating and enlightening.
Her art is often a blend of realism and abstraction. By juxtaposing the beauty of the species with the destruction they cause, she aims to challenge viewers to consider the complexity of these ecological issues. Shape's ability to evoke a wide range of emotions through her art is a testament to her artistic prowess and dedication to raising awareness.
I am passionate about this cause because together, we can solve this problem. Join me in stopping these invasive animals from causing further destruction, and helping to save our beautiful and diverse planet.
In a world where the delicate balance of ecosystems is under threat, artists like Laura J Shape play a vital role in awakening collective consciousness about environmental conservation. Her awe-inspiring depictions of invasive species prompt us to rethink our relationship with the natural world and encourage us to take action to protect and preserve our planet's diverse ecosystems.
Through her art, Shape reminds us that art can transcend mere aesthetics; it can be
a powerful medium to express environmental concerns and inspire positive change. As we celebrate the work of artists like Laura J Shape, let us be motivated to contribute to the preservation of nature's diversity and foster a deeper appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us.
You can find Laura here: