Every week we will publish a newsletter documenting life at DARP through a different resident. This week is Ella Yolande. Follow her on instagram @ellayolande or check out her website at

I’ve been putting together flexible recipes for some of the processes I’ve been playing with over the last couple of months. These are in no way full-proof, or are they the only way to approach these materials, but they are more a way to remember how I got to where I got. Hopefully they can be useful as a starting point for others who might be interested.

Phytograms are an alternative photographic process using DIY developer, plants and sunlight. 

Whilst here, I did a little workshop to show Amy Corcoran the process and do more tests for fixing the images. Making a DIY developer is easy enough, but holding onto the ephemeral image is the harder part. 

I’ve been thinking about materials that are more biodegradable and the idea of living sculptures. Hempcrete is one of these as it uses the ‘waste’ fibre from hemp plant processing and local lime. 

Maybe one day I will build a big fountain from hempcrete, cob, earth and raw clay  that sprouts mushrooms, moss, coriander, rocket and mustard seeds.

Fungi are amazing and there’s lots more to say about and learn from them, but as a start, they taste great in lots of butter, garlic, salt and pepper.

I’ve been trying to grow oyster mushrooms in various haphazard ways in various containers to see what they like and they’ve been growing! I’m particularly excited that they grew out of a little hempcrete bulb as hopefully this means I can make larger sculptural forms in the future, from which mushrooms can grow and be harvested.

Natural dyeing has been another little project that Amy Corcoran and myself have been exploring. Using various foods and plants from the school grounds we’ve managed to make some beautiful colours.

As I’ve been working quite a bit with papier-mache, I wanted to look into alternatives to PVA and there’s lots of simple recipes. I used sugar, flour, water and salt and it works really well, however I didn’t close the lid properly and the mouse in my studio ate it all.

I’m currently working on a new video piece (working title - Imagining a garden from Skeletal Sproutings ). I’ve been working with several different softwares and processes that interlink them. I’ve also just started learning Cinema 4D but there’s a long way to go!  

The time and space at DARP has allowed me to spread out, explore various material curiosities and make a mess. It’s not so much about producing outcomes, more feeling out what is possible, making mistakes and building up a personal library for the future.