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Ice Books with Seeds

These Ice Books Transport Seeds and Reforest Lands


Messengers and seed carriers, these objects act as pulses of esthetics and awareness.

Obsessed with water, artist Basia Irland makes ice cubes in the form of books whose titles are made of seeds. She then places the books in rivers around the world as an esthetic gesture and a message about the importance of collective awareness in the struggle for recovery and conservation of our planet’s water supply.

Irland —based in Albuquerque, New Mexico— defines herself as “a sculptor and installation artist, a poet and book artist, and an activist in water issues.” Her love of rivers has led her to work with professionals in diverse fields and to create installations, sculptures, systems for capturing water and documentaries to create awareness. The project Ice Books: receding / reseeding, whose mysterious texts and covers are written with lines of seeds, are made with water from different rivers; water collected from nearby communities – artists, scientists, children, students – who all voluntarily participate in her project. The artist, with the help of biologists, botanists and ecologists, selects the seeds, taking always into account the plants and animals that inhabit the region.

When it is finished, the frozen book is launched into the river in a beautiful community ceremony. As it floats on the surface, the tome melts little by little and sends the seeds to other parts of the riverbank, populating it with plants and grasses.

As an esthetic and symbolic gesture, the book also helps to avoid flooding by reducing the accelerated erosion of the riverbanks, fomenting the pollination of other plants, regenerating the earth and filtering water pollutants.

Few works of art as ephemeral and beautiful as Basia Irland’s stress the importance of community tasks and scientific knowledge for conserving waterways and life on earth. Her enigmatic texts float downstream like a message in a bottle, like a call for art to be part of conservation and to invest its final destination with life.

Images (courtesy of Basia Irland):

1. Beaver Creek Book Three in snow. Colorado. Native riparian grass seeds.

2. Beaver Creek Book Two in snow. Colorado. Native Riparian Grass seeds.

3. Beaver Creek Ice Book One. Colorado. Native riparian grass seeds.

4. 11. Tome I. Mountain Maple, Columbine flower, Blue Spruce. Colorado.

5. 8. River Oats Volume Two (detail).

6. Wild rose and Iris (detail).  Big Wood River, Idaho.

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