Environmental Artist

A Childhood Spent in Nature

I grew up close to the Tennessee River in Knoxville. As a child I regularly escaped to the woods behind my home, searching for solitude and solace. It was a place that was both more complex, and much simpler, than the man-made world I knew. A place of harmony, balance, beauty, interdependence and support.

My relationship with nature was nurtured further during summers at the family cabin in the mountain village of Elkmont: a location directly linked to my great-grandfather’s role in the early National Parks movement. Ben Morton, onetime mayor of Knoxville, was a key advocate for the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934. It’s a family legacy I’m intensely proud of.

When my family later moved to Hilton Head, I learned the landscape of my new coastal home with the same sense of wonder I’d had for the lush forests of Tennessee: the monumental vegetation of the dunes and the shifting topography of the shoreline became my new sanctuary.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson 

 My Practice

Growing up steeped in nature’s patterns, textures and shapes instilled in me a love for the natural world that demanded to be expressed artistically. Today, my work as an environmental artist is still concerned with exploring the symbiotic web of life on our Earth, speaking in reverence of it, and in defense of it.

I channel nature’s energy and intricacy into my work, often drawing directly from it by using materials that have been offered up to be found: nests, feathers, shells, pods, leaves, bark and fungi. These textural, weathered, sacred objects inspire my palettes, mark-making and organic forms. I work in a variety of mediums, including sculpture and encaustic.

All the elements of nature can be found in my work, sometimes clearly represented, sometimes in the abstract. Harm and injustice is perpetrated upon our environment daily, but I have found that even when the subject matter is difficult, transforming it into something beautiful is therapeutic and self renewing: both for me as artist, and for the viewers of my work. Creating forms of color and light from a place of darkness is nothing short of artistic alchemy.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle 

My Mission 

For millennia humans respected the natural world for its continuous life-sustaining gifts. Today, that reverence has given way to an ethos of domination, destruction and control that has seen more than half of all species on Earth go extinct.

As a counterpoint to this I create art as a catalyst for the positive transformation of our individual and collective behavior. My goals are

  • to express the interconnected relationships of the web of life
  • to champion the nurture of the natural systems we are a part of
  • to increase environmental awareness
  • to encourage participation in collective stewardship
  • to inspire with aesthetic beauty: to touch the heart

“Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer

Contact Edie Morton

Please contact me if you would like to collaborate on, sponsor, or discuss a project encouraging stewardship and ecological responsibility.