Gallery - living-language-land

at world of threads

Living-language-land: Word portraits from the Earth is a collection of textiles inspired by 26 specially chosen words from endangered and minority languages from all over the world. These beautiful, poetic words, many of which have no direct translation to English, reveal complex and elemental connections to land and nature. This collection of visual interpretations illuminates these unique words and sparks curiosity about their meanings and the cultures from which they spring. Intimate connections between culture and spirituality, colourful linguistic expressions, and evolving relationships with nature are vividly integrated in these textured compositions.

The original Living-language-land word collection was spearheaded and organized by artist Neville Gabie and neuroscientist Philippa Bayley of the UK. Their goal was to offer a platform to minority and endangered language-holders to share a word and story that reflects a relationship to land and nature. It was about enlarging the lexicon we can all draw upon in reflecting on those relationships.Contributions were invited from around the world, acknowledging that only a tiny fraction of minority and endangered languages could be represented in this project.

The organizers responded to my offer to create a visual version of Living-language-land with full endorsement and encouragement. My part in this collaborative project was to create 'word portraits' in stitched textiles that would engage emotions and light up curiosity about these beautiful, poetic words. They bring together themes I'm passionate about: our relationship with nature, love of words and language, and earth-based spirituality. With these pieces, I re-interpret each of the words into fabric pictures, based on the information provided and my emotional response. Throughout the project I was respectful of the indigenous cultures represented, careful not to appropriate symbols and imagery. My one purpose was to create an entry point, from my own imagination, to encourage and enhance this deep respect. It is an effective tool to immerse viewers in a fresh experience of nature and connection to land.

All contributions were created by the communities themselves, and all contributors received compensation to support their wider work. All contributions are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. Attribution to the authors is essential. All supporting information can be found here:

I am currently seeking venue commitments for this exhibition and will post developments as they emerge: please watch my Events page for updated information. I am open to doing presentations, by Zoom or in person, for educational purposes. Contact me for details.