Lydia Hardcastle

BA Performance: Design and Practice, Runner Up, 2021

Lydia Hardcastle

This project has taken me on a wonderful journey. It began when I successfully grew cress seeds in cotton wool during lockdown. I wondered if I could incorporate this concept in a costume. After months of experimentation, I found the perfect material and environment in which cress can thrive. I then created a knitted garment and grew over 25,000 cress seeds in it. It was not only texturally beautiful, but the smell and wet feel of the cress and its roots mesmerised me. This became more than just a visual costume – it was a sensory experience. It began an astonishing journey for me, where I started to understand the importance of nature to our mental health, and people’s in/accessibility to green spaces during lockdown.

All my work is inspired by organic materials. There’s a huge level of unpredictability when using materials which are alive and that will die if not tended to. This project gave me such a sense of purpose during lockdown, and positively impacted my mental health. As a result of this, I created a costume smothered in foraged forest moss, inspired by a garden snail. Can I Go Outside Yet? is a reflection of my experience when going outside my house and wanting to hide away from everyone. This then led me on to FEN, a growing piece of living art made from curveleaf hypnum moss foraged from my local countryside. This costume was worn and performed in by a dancer for my CSM Alive performance.

Evidence strongly suggests that if we spend time surrounded by nature (in any form), we reduce stress and improve our mood. I want to bring nature and greenery into people’s lives in ways they’ve never experienced before, and hopefully promote positive wellbeing.

Lydia Hardcastle showcase Lydia Hardcastle showcase Lydia Hardcastle showcase Lydia Hardcastle showcase

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