Moss Talking


I’ve rarely been accused of being ‘at a loss for words,’ except when it comes to small talk. Inane chit-chat serves a purpose, I understand, but I’d rather just hear the silence in between. Call me anti-social, aloof or just plain boring, but my shutting up leaves plenty of room for observing, which has made me a better writer. So be it.

Many things are better in black and white than spoken out loud. For one, they last longer. A message worthy of repetition should stay around for a while so it will spread and grow.


In this case, the black and white is green as in growing vegetation. The artist, Anna Garforth, creates her messages with moss growing out of concrete walls or leaves constructed together on fences. She’s been called “urban land artist, guerrilla gardener and green graffiti extraordinaire.” All of them seem to fit fabulously.

“My interest in integrating my creative practice with urban ecology and sustainability has led me into a world of moss collecting, wild city foraging and hunting down all the undomesticated areas of our urban forest.”


The new eco-nomics moss art (images above) was commissioned by a magazine to introduce an article about “going green and being more economical.” Garforth often collaborates with other artists or organizations that share her desire to communicate creatively and affect change both environmentally and socially.

“I feel the best place for some of my creations is in the public eye. I aim for my work to spark intrigue and questioning as it melds into our transitory daily landscape. My work needs to make an immediate impact given its ephemeral nature. I don’t wish to preserve it, it lives, it dies, and new growth ensues.”


And then there are her leaves. This typography (image above) was also site specific and completely sustainable. Garforth used thorns and fallen leaves (image below) to construct the words RETHINK and THINK.

“This piece was located in front of two main resources we heavily depend upon, gas and water. The word communicates a need to rethink about what we consume and how we consume it.”


For another outdoor piece, Gartforth created the word CHANGE in leaf typography. And in yet another, she spelled Nourish with moss (image below).

Look up nourish in the diction…I mean, Google “nourish definition” and it reads: “To provide with the substances necessary for growth, health and good condition. From Latin nutrire, ‘feed, cherish’. To provide for, sustain, encourage, nurture, cultivate, strengthen, enrich.”

Nourish, indeed.

Images via artist’s website