Archive of Author | Heather McMordie & Peter Stempel

Heather McMordie is an artist and printmaker making prints, puzzles and installations informed by soil science. Her work finds balance between artistic and scientific exploration and seeks to visualize the complex patterns and processes of soil systems. Recent projects have been developed through field explorations and collaborations in Rhode Island, USA and Surama Village, Guyana, and have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States.

Peter Stempel is a social scientist, educator, and architect focusing on art and design as science communication. In his current role as Provost’s fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design he is developing inclusive curriculum to train artists and designers to collaborate more effectively with scientists, policy makers, and stakeholders to equitably address complex societal issues like climate adaptation.

Articles with Heather McMordie & Peter Stempel


Returning the artist to the field: Utilizing printmaking’s multiplicity, mediation and materiality for enhanced science communication.

Visual art as a parallel practice to science research offers opportunities for communicating the complexities of many ecological systems to non-experts. Immersive and interactive artworks provide a means to complexity, perceived distance, and opaqueness of language surrounding ecological systems. This paper describes the use of printmaking and print installations as analogues that engage audiences in complex soil systems. The three projects discussed here trace the journey of artist observer to field collaborator and examine printmaking’s capacity to facilitate the communication of both explicit and experiential knowledge of soil systems.

Keywords: field research, practices of arts and sciences, soil science, tacit knowledge, fine arts, printmaking