© 2009 - 2015 WPP.
Saltwort is a collaborative work between Judith Tucker (paintings) and Harriet Tarlo (poems) developed from long-term fieldwork on the Tetney Marshes near Humberston, Northeast Lincolnshire. There we developed a fascination in the extraordinary salt tolerant plants of the saltmarsh, their aesthetic appeal, their cultural history, their agential powers and their relationship to each other. The title, Saltwort in the singular, gestures towards this unique ecosystem as a singular being, not just a series of individuals, and our work attempts to convey this. The saltmarsh plants also help us to think about conservation issues in the face of the climate crisis. Such bioregions have been under threat from as early as Roman times when they first began to be ‘reclaimed’ from the sea for agriculture and human settlements. Modern developments, climate change, sea level rise and hard sea defences erode them even further, threatening this habitat. Through their low-lying, low layering land-building processes, “pioneer” plants like samphire and cord grass are capable of establishing sedimentation and new saltmarshes. They might help prevent further erosion of the east coast of the U.K. This is another reason to celebrate these plants.
While many flower and saltmarsh sources have been consulted, we should like to acknowledge these texts which have been key to identification and understanding, and from which words and phrases have crept into the poems: Gerard’s Herbal (1597, Revised 1633); Stephen P Long and Christopher F. Mason, Saltmarsh Ecology (1983); Jonathan Oldham and Carol Roberts (illus.), The Field Studies Council Guide to the Saltmarsh Plants of Britain; Adam Bruce, Salt-Marshes through The Seasons (2003) and the mysteriously authored site, https://wildflowerfinder.org.uk/
This book was completed as part of Hideaway: poems and paintings from the Saltmarsh 2021-2022, a cross-disciplinary art and poetry project supported by an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant.
By the same artists, with Wild Pansy Press: sound unseen (2013), behind land (2015), outfalls (2017), neverends (2018).
Further discussion of this work can be found in the authors’ creative essay on Samphire for The Mind of Plants: Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence, ed. Ryan, Vieira and Gagliano (Synergetic 2021).
Edition of 250
Price £25 including UK postage.