"to sleep we must dream"

By Donica Larade

Cyanotype quilt

In my first piece as a fabric artist, “to sleep we must dream”, I created a quilt using dozens of cyanotypes I’ve printed,  composed of plants, animals and fungi that grew in Nova Scotia during the spring and early summer. I emphasized both local and invasive species, as well as delicious edibles or traditional medicinal species. My familiarity with these local species and their uses couldn’t have been achieved without the traditional knowledge of the Mi’kmaq people. 

My work is often centred around the natural world and our relationship with it, and this piece was inspired by a future I dream of where we respect local wildlife. Common and uncommon, big and small, misconceptions around species are lost when you change your perspective and view a subject as a blue silhouette. My work was heavily inspired by our discussions on nature, art, relationships, disability and self (to name a few!), as well as many wonderful quotes from Braiding Sweetgrass. 

Special thank-you to Vie Jones, Sylvia Bell, and  Christine Anstey.


Donica is a multi disciplinary artist that reimagines traditional scientific illustrations and creates autobiographical comics. Her background in science has given her a unique perspective and appreciation for the natural world, and her creative family that has helped her to foster her artistic skills. 

Science communication through art inspires their work, and they love to learn (and help others learn!). 

Foraging during the pandemic has also influenced their practice, and they are passionate about highlighting local species and reconnecting with their environment through sustainable affordable food. They began freelance illustrating in February 2022 and are so thankful for the challenges and successes they’ve faced as an artist. You can find their previous work on banners in the North End, selling their wares in local businesses  throughout Kjipuktuk, and an upcoming gallery show “Re-imagining conservation”. 

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