Flower Mandalas

Flower mandalas are a botanical version of the ancient spiritual form that reminds us of the organization of the universe, and our connection to the infinite, within and without.

Buddhist priests make yearly trips to Kansas City to create exacting geometric mandalas in  sand. In a celebration of the importance of life,  the monks return the sand to the earth, destroying the image.

Through silence and guided meditation, participants in the Flower Mandala + Meditation workshop experienced a deeper connection with nature and themselves.

The meditation style was one of physical connection to the flowers held by each participant and gratitude and awareness of for their beauty, texture and scent. While breathing that fresh flower smell, the gratitude portion could have been endless. Sami Aaron led a guided mediation that raised awareness of the many, many senses that are activated while interacting with nature.

While the workshop could be hosted in many locations, Gardens of Delight was a perfect location for the spring  workshop.

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Posted by Brigid in International Influences

Kava Head

kava root

Lateral kava roots, soon to be kava tea, are what you see in the picture above.

The “tea” from kava root is far and away my favorite drink.

I typically have a kava drink in the evening a few nights a week, completely replacing  all alcohol-based cocktails.

Kava is a plant-based intoxicant. Sometimes called the “drink of peace” or the “drink of the gods,”  it is deeply embedded in the cultures of the pacific islands. It’s said you can’t be angry on kava.  No mental or physical abilities are diminished while consuming normal amounts of kava

Historically, it’s been a central aspect of ceremonies, social gatherings and even political sessions where problems are worked out.  In the weeks-long coronation celebration of the of King of Tonga in 2015, there was a special kava ceremony.

In Fiji, the drink from kava is considered the national drink, and is widely consumed.

Most (not all) historians agree that kava was first grown in Vanuatu around 3,000 years ago. The islanders and their sailing canoes helped it’s spread throughout Polynesia, Fiji, and also west to Micronesia and New Guinea.

A popular drink in the Pacific Islands for over 3000 years now, kava-kava is typically consumed before the beginning of any important religious rituals or ceremonies.



“Kava on My Mind”

Whole lateral roots from Fiji were soaked for days, then split with a utility knife. Pressed, dried and dehydrated for weeks, the pieces were then adhered to the quick-dry plaster mask (painted in coffee, beet juice and acrylic paint).

Posted by Brigid in International Influences

Corn Seedlings



One spring, a Holt County, Missouri, farmer brought young corn seedlings from their family farm to my studio. The task was to preserve them so that each of the five children would have a kind of a botanical artifact from the farm they grew up on.

I used a frame hand crafted frame in old growth pine.

Outside dimensions are 26″  x  35″

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Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts


There are so many disparate elements in the finished piece, the self-portrait as it is now might be best called “an organic compound.”

I started with my first attempt at a plant mask, which has leaves, spores, seeds, a dried flower and beads, added it to the finished roots piece, added stone bird and ball beads from Mexico using and heavy duty thread, and added sewing around sections of root.


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Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts

Fringe Festival KC 2015

2015 was the second year of the visual arts component of the Fringe Festival in Kansas City.

Union Station beautifully hosted the art displays of the 14 or so participating artists.

Kansas City Finge Festival 2015


I really enjoyed watching the surprise and curiosity of travelers passing by the exhibit, exiting the train station.

While many of the travelers might not have chosen to make a special trip to see the visual arts show, but the majority were genuinely taken with the variety and beauty they saw.



Posted by Brigid in Green Art

Humble Plants: Their Secrets

Art and science often cross paths. I recently uncovered a TED talk given by the president of an African country in which she shows how art, science, culture and health are intertwined.

The talk is given by Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, biodiversity scientist and first female president of Mauritius.

Gurib-Fakim says that we don’t realize how valuable our plant resources are, and yet, we keep destroying them.

Plants have a fundamental role to play in the lives of humans: they feed us and they also give us the oxygen we breathe.

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Posted by Brigid in Inspiration, International Influences, Native Plants

About Kava

Posted by Brigid in Research

Framed Portraits

After completing the masks of mother and daughters, it seemed fitting to frame them together.


The orange tree root weaves them together; together but separate.

Mother and children were able to start gluing down plant material soon after the quick-dry plaster masks were removed and the petroleum jelly was cleaned off.

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Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts

Inside the Presses

flats 002-fThe inside of every plant press is full inspiration. The photos in this post will show a small amount of the plant material I’ve collected over the years, including the sourcing info, background data and collection dates for some of the items.

The presses themselves were handcrafted based on the world-wide industry standard botanical press size 12″ x 18″.   Most of the plant material was collected to fit in the botanical press standard .

One benefit of having presses that size is that I can buy and use industry standard blotting paper and cardboard.

Some of the presses, which I made to be easy to carry and maximize airflow, were built way oversize to acommodate larger items, like squash, papaya, elephant ear and castor leaves, and branches from trees, stalks of wheat, and the tall 6-row barley I had sent from Washington for a project for a local brewer.

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Posted by Brigid in Herbaria, Research
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