Native Plants

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

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

The Tallgrass Prairie

The cold wind in the Flint Hills on a “warm” winter day was brutal. I took a trip to there to collect some winter-dried grasses before the killer part of our 2011 winter set in.

I wasn’t ready for the early sunset while I was knee deep in the native grasses, surrounded by the woody remains  of an old train station. I hadn’t noticed the increasing darkness, but the moon was rising large and orange, the temperature was sliding lower, and my nose was running freely.

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Posted by Brigid in 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

Multiple Layers

Experimenting with depth and dimension, I recently started using  multiple layers of plant material. 


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Posted by Brigid in Green Art, Native Plants

Magnolia and Grape Vine Tendrils

Wherever we go in life, we bring with us stories running through our minds and hearts. We might have brief moments of pure experience in the moment,  but those are rare.

When I’m looking at plant material, there’s always something I love about it or have some idea about. I never go to the presses and say “let me find something that looks like…” It’s also really ineffective to try and change the shape of something. Looking at these grapevine tendrils I’m aware of how delicate and lovely they are. I don’t do anything to make them that way. How you see them is exactly how they occured in nature.

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Posted by Brigid in Native Plants

Papaya

Papaya. It’s native to the Americas Papaya Leaf as Green Artand is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

When I visited Negril (Jamaica) a few years ago, I noticed the gorgeous leaves everywhere. I brought a plant press with me and did preserve some, but there are heavy restrictions about transporting plant material internationally.

The stunning image of the leaf stayed with me.

While visiting a friend one day I was taken aback when I saw a Papaya tree growing inside his house! He let me collect a few gorgeous leaves. This is one. Totally legal.

 

Posted by Brigid in International Influences, Native Plants