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Make your pledge to help save nature

La Maison de la Maille met the American artist Rachel Marks during the presentation of her work "Esohpromatém" created for the ecological action summit "Change Now" at the Grand Palais in Paris.


Change Now is the largest positive impact gathering in the world and took place between 30 January 30 and February 1, 2020, in the Grand Palais in central Paris.


The event included 1,000 solutions and 500 investors from 120 countries and promises to make a dynamic impact on the world.


American born artist, Rachel Marks, created her installation for the event, which she hoped encouraged visitors to think about the future of the world and importantly, their role within it. Her installation is entitled  ‘Esohpromatém’ which is the French word ‘métamorphose’ (metamorphosis) written backwards. Rachel explains that she invented the word and uses it to describe looking to the future and the desired return to nature.

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Having originally trained as a ballet dancer, Rachel Marks found her creativity and artistic interpretation both strongly awakened.  She studied art in several countries as she loved exploring different cultures and languages, before being drawn to Paris which she loves for its vibrancy, which she finds truly inspirational.


Her work often features trees and butterflies as she deeply loves nature.

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During her research she found herself drawn to learning about the nuclear accident that followed the earthquake in Fukushima Daiichi (Japan) in 2011. She was shocked by what she read about the huge negative impact it had on nature and how the problems are being tackled. She was fascinated to learn that vast numbers of sunflowers were planted as it had been found that these large, beautiful flowers absorb radioactivity from the soil. The golden flowers are strong enough to flourish in contaminated soil, but are nevertheless affected by the radioactivity they absorb - sometimes growing two or three flowers per stem, or producing blooms that are much darker in colour than usual.

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Having been invited to take part in Change Now, Rachel Marks decided to create a sizeable thought-provoking installation. She worked hard everyday in her studio, carefully cutting pages from a myriad of different books, written in different languages to use as bark and grass. She laughed when asked about two of the pages she is gluing next to each other to form the bark on one of the trees, as one page is from a Jewish prayer book and the other a Christian one - " In art, it is possible to break down so many barriers and I am purposefully using pages from books from many different cultures which I can mix and glue together to create beauty ."

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Her attention to detail is impressive. Her monumental tree, stood firmly with its trunk on ground that on a closer look, revealed the amount of radiation that was recorded in the sea following the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. There were also 30 beautiful paper sunflowers that represented the number of years that experts said that it will take to clean nature in the area that surrounds Fukushima Daiichi. Rachel's iminse tree was sizeable as it was five metres in height and its width measures the same as Rachel's height.

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She spent many hours, carefully creating the year rings inside the tree trunk. She created these from different coloured paper to once again portray the horrific damage that man inflicts on nature. There were 12 colored rings inside the tree trunk. The United Nations said in the 2018 Paris Agreement that this is the length of time that is left before the earth is damaged irrevocably by man. The artist firmly believes that man must act immediately to start making a serious difference to the negative impact on nature – before it is too late.

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There was the opportunity for visitors to spend a few moments of reflection inside Rachel Marks' tree. There was just enough room for one person inside and a piece of paper and a pen was provided with a special task to be completed. The artist encouraged everyone to write a promise to nature – one that they will commit to fulfil.

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These promises will be folded into a three dimensional origami shape that cocooned the promise, these were pinned on the tree.


As the artist explained: " These origami shapes are very special as not only will they conceal personal pledges, they also contain the writer's DNA, making their promise even more important The origami shapes will metamorphose into a new mindset that will develop into a reality. "

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As Rachel Marks sits hard at work, she is keeping herself snug and warm with a  beautiful black scarf from La Maison de la Maille : 

" I feel very strongly about the future of our beautiful planet and La Maison de la Maille mirrors my ethos perfectly "

Discover the work of artist Rachel Marks on her website:

The Change Now Summit:


Rachel wears a La Maison de la Maille scarf in merino wool:

Written by Christina Stephen for La Maison de la Maille

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