Wikipedia says, "Forest bathing is the practice of taking a short, leisurely visit to a forest for health benefits." With origins in Japan in the early 1980s, the practice of forest bathing has been shown to reduce stress hormones and improve the health of diabetics, even reducing glucose levels in a study with non-insulin dependent diabetics.
About a year ago, printmaker and mixed media artist Lorie Lee Andrews moved to a house near a wooded area. As she began to spend more time there, she became aware that it was actually having a positive impact on her health and wellbeing. It was around the same time that she heard this practice actually has a name: forest bathing. As she continued, very intentionally, to spend more time in nature, she began to envision creating a body of work inspired by the experience. So, when the Harrison Center approached her about a solo show, she knew what she had to do. She explains that for the last eight months, everything she has created has been inspired by the practice of forest bathing. She has created over 30 pieces of art for the Speck Gallery exhibit that opens August 4th–primarily watercolored copperplate etchings, but additionally monoprints, collage, painting, and even a painted chair. One realization she has had in looking back at past work is that nature has always been at the core, whether she realized it at the time or not.
While working on the show, fellow artist and friend Liz Pinnick introduced Andrews to an organization called the Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA), "a non-profit, statewide organization of individuals dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of Indiana’s native forests." She was so inspired by their mission, and particularly the work they did to save the old growth forest at Crown Hill, that she wanted to find a way to support their work. In addition to helping spread their message online, she will donate a portion of the profit from sales at this exhibit to the Indiana Forest Alliance.
Andrews' work has a whimsical quality that she attributes to the many years spent teaching at the elementary level and working with preschool children and programs. Andrews returned to school, earning a general fine arts degree with a minor in book arts from Herron School of Art + Design in 2012. She is a member of the 67th Street Printmakers and has a studio at the Harrison Center. Forest Bathing hangs through August 25th.
The Indiana Forest Alliance