"When we built our earthship eco home we had no idea where it would lead. We simply wanted to live in the peace of the campo here in Southern Spain."
Hola, I'm Laura the artist and founder of the Keep It Wild Project in southern Spain. An art and conservation program set up to protect bees and other flora and fauna. Surrounding the earthship eco home I built with my partner, this Nature Reserve is located in the only semi desert in Europe, the Tabernas steppe in the Almeria Province of Andalucia.
I create art and crafts inspired by the flora and fauna I see in the reserve. Using natural and upcycled materials these pieces are not only rooted in the nature they originate from, they also actively protect it - with proceeds from the selection of originals and prints going towards buying more land to wild.
Covering nearly 20 hectares (50 acres) of garrigue land, in the only semi-desert in Europe, the project has been running for over 10 years, slowly increasing in size. There are a number of different habitats within the Reserve, from olive terraces, wild esparto grasslands, ravines and a newly purchased almond field (now starting it's process of re-wilding).
Since moving into the earthship in 2014 we have slowly expanded the land we own around it, letting it go back to wild. Not because we wanted more land, quite the opposite, as I said we just wanted to live a quiet, simple life.
But it was becoming clear this wasn't our path when we saw the steady destruction of the wild habitats in this beautiful valley. This semi-desert with it's surprising biodiversity of flora and fauna was being ripped up and vanishing before our eyes.
Huge corporations setting up industrial scale farms of olive and almonds where wild habitats are being ploughed into dust bowls.
Trees are planted too close together to survive in this semi desert - they're not appropriate or sustainable. Being watered from illegal wells, cutting deeper into the already straining aquifer, breaking it's stratas, local village wells are drying up.
The only way to stop this is to own the land.
This started our journey into creating a nature reserve.
But how to fund it?
Moving into our earthship changed my studio from a huge white, light-filled space to a desk in the corner of our 80m2 of living space.
As much as I miss my large studio, I don't regret the move one bit!
It has focused my mind and evolved my art.
Now I paint onto tea bags, I use upcycled packaging, foils, eco friendly paints. I make soft sculptures with vintage fabrics and the wool from our sheep.
And we use the profits from my sales to protect more wild land.
Watch this short video to see why we do this
Want to be a part of this project but don't want to buy any art? No probs, we welcome donations of any amount and send you many thanks from the nature you're helping to protect
You can donate securely by credit card through Paypal without having an account with them.
My inspiration, of course, comes from the wild nature around me
Each day I walk out into it,
Drawing breath from the ever changing light,
I marvel at the plants and creatures who live here with us
Using what I have around me
I record fleeting moments of nature
Upcycling to honor my commitment to it's survival
A permaculture approach to art
To infuse the work with love and care
I know I'm part of the problem
But I strive to also be part of the solution
a wild response
I try to tame my inner wild, but the inspiration of the external is too strong. Inviting me to revel in it, using natural history illustrations and craft techniques to tell it's story.
Collections to choose from
As much as we're using the profits from my art to protect more wild land I also believe in making art accessible to everyone. So my art is affordable with originals starting at just £35. This means I need to sell a lot to be able to fund the nature reserve.
I'm so grateful for every purchase you make and every time you share my art with your friends and family. Together we can make a difference.
Visit the Bee Print Collection - A4 and 30 x 30cm prints from £30. Greeting card sets and journals from £10.
Visit the Original Paintings on Tea Bags - Creatures and Botanicals - painted onto upcycled tea bags these originals are full of detail and the ultimate in eco friendly art. Prices from £35 make them great gifts.
Visit the Originals - In My Backyard Collection - mixed media pieces that combine tea bag paintings, vintage fabrics and lace, slow stitching and natural finds. Infused with the intention to protect wild nature, these wall hangings start at £75.
Earthship Get Started Book
Ever dreamt of building your own eco friendly home? Don't know where to start? How to buy land let alone navigate through the planning permission process?
Our Get Started On Your Own Earthship Book walks you through the process of buying land and getting the planning and building permissions to start your very own dream home.
Whether it's an earthship, a straw bale, a cob house or a simple container conversion. Start with this book to help ease you into the buying land and planning process with confidence and the questions you need to ask first.