Botanical Artifacts

Corn Seedlings

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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

Self-Portrait

Brigid-SelfThere 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 an attempt at a plant mask, made of leaves, spores, seeds, a dried flower and beads. I added Mexican stone bird beads to the roots,  using and heavy duty thread. Finally, I added , and added embroidery  and sewing around sections of root.

 

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Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts

Framed Portraits

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

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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

The Band of Hills Known as the Flint Hills

Native tallgrasses have always thrived in the Flint Hills. The rocky terrain has prevented plant based farming, so native plants (at least those not displaced by invasives like Bush Honeysuckle) have perpetuated through centuries of droughts, floods, wildfires and controlled burns.

Milkweed occurs frequently among the grasses in the prairies. Monarch butterflies depend on (and can’t exist without) milkweed. I’ve tried to cultivate it and can’t. (I hate it when I’m at an intersection in the late summer and see the Monarchs fluttering aroung – it’s like they know the flowers they need used to be there.)

In the winter, as the fallen seedpods begin to disassemble and deteriorate in the elements, the inner linings of the seedpod separate from the casings.

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The innermost surface of the seedpod is shiny and metallic. It’s quite extraordinary. I’m still trying to find an appropriate way to appreciate the pieces I found.

This post shows two small pieces of seedpod lining with prairie grasses.

Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts, Native Plants

Small Native Pieces

I used to think the variety of plant material Sea Oats, Little Bluestem, Brigid Greeneavailable to me here in the midwest was sadly limited. I was always planning trips and fantasizing about the exotic plant material I would find.

Traveling around a bit is great, and I’ve also developed a better appreciation for what’s here.

Pictured in this post are several small 3″ x 8.5″  matted pieces, that all use native plants, and are great examples of eco art.

To the right here are Sea Oats and Little Bluestem.

Below are Wood Fern / Paw Paw, Lamb’s Ears / Paw Paw, Sea Oats / Hydrangea as layered pieces (in that order).

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Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts, Native Plants

City of Alexandria Herbarium

I found historic type specimen and unusual plant material at the City of Alexandria, VA herbarium.  While I had hoped to get into the United States National Herbarium at the Smithsonian to see historic specimen,  I got to see some of what I was hoping for here because of sharing that always occurs among herbaria.

This label is for a plant specimen that’s not only from the famous national herbarium, but it’s also a “type specimen”  (from Paris, 1921) which indicates it’s the best possible representation of that plant. It’s the reference point for scientists when attempting to identify plants. Type specimen are among the most valuable pieces in an herbarium.

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Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts, Herbaria