Plant / Life

Art | Dance with U.M.K.C. at the Plaza Art Fair

My collaboration with U.M.K.C.’s Her Art Project at the Plaza Art Fair was designed to explore sharing plant art and dance with as many people as possible. I was excited for the opportunity to be in such a highly traffic-ed  area. It turned out to be way more people than I had expected.

There were more kids than there was space at the art making table from the moment I arrived to the time I cleared the table. The kids were determined and focused – they seemed absolutely starved to create. There was little time to talk about their creations or about dance.

After the table was converted to another project, I issued the dance invitation to people who passed by U.M.K.C.’s tent dance, and then I went into the crowd. The invitation was for a dance dare: go up behind someone and do a great dance – without them knowing it – in exchange for an art card.

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Posted by Bedegee in Art and Dance

Money Experiment at the Maker Faire

It’s not easy selling something I love for $14. The 5″ x 7″ art cards I create and sell for under $15 are carefully crafted on conservation quality materials and always seem like such a perfect piece of natural beauty. And maybe I have a hard time letting go.

This year I gave myself some time to struggle with understanding the issue of letting go. Do I really want other people to have them? (I decided Yes!) Am I ready to let go of them? (Well, I thought, if they appreciate them “enough,” then yes). Am I doing this for the money? (I’m not making enough to matter, so no). Then why would the money exchange matter?

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Posted by Bedegee in Art and Dance

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 Bedegee in Native Plants


Lavender has been growing wild for all of recorded history. I’ve preserved this most lovely specimen to create truly green art. It’s not the best picture – the color is actually rich and green. It hasn’t changed much in the six years I’ve had it.

Lavender a powerful herb. It is used for a huge variety things, including to treat stress and depression, to speed healing, and to kill bacteria.

It’s been used throughout history in cleaning and as a perfume. During the peak of the Roman times, one pound of good lavender was sold for the price of an average worker’s monthly salary.

It’s known to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.  It can aid sleep and relaxation, treat burns and helps acne. Dried lavender is a highly desireable fragrance and deters moths.

I’ve loved this piece of lavender for years, but I never framed it. I was happy to let it go as part of a series to a new home last month.


Posted by Bedegee in Green Art, Herbs

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 Bedegee 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 Bedegee in Green Art, Native Plants

Plants as Form

Explorers collected and preserved plants to bring their beauty to their homes far away. Early healers preserved plants to heal their patients. I preserve plants for their beauty and the richness of their history.

Click on any image below to see it larger.

Posted by Bedegee in Green Art

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 Bedegee in Botanical Artifacts, Herbaria

University of Maryland Herbarium

There were some beautiful specimen, as well as interesting historical remnants, at the Norton-Brown Herbarium at the University of Maryland. The herbarium was established in 1901 making it one of the oldest in the U.S. (the University of Florida Herbarium is the oldest, established in 1891).

Most of my inspiration comes from historical preserved specimen. The two here are especially nice.  I love seeing plant material that is not otherwise accessible to me.

The Astragalus, left,  was collected in Wyoming in 1971.  The Trillium, right, is from Ohio, 1983.


Early American collection equipment were often metal containers meant to protect the integrity of the plant material (and retain bits that come loose).

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Posted by Bedegee in Herbaria, Inspiration, Research

Art and an Indigenous Religion

The Freer Gallery of Art on the national mall  in D.C. houses one of the most outstanding collections of Asian art in the U.S.  It was a highlight of my trip to that area this fall.

Seeing art from the Shinto era was really special. The prevailing religious practice, or more like world view, prior to the arrival of Buddhism in the 6th century, was Shinto. It lacked intellectually complex doctrines, formality, and organization. But, there were many groups of people devoted to the spirits (Kami) of nature that were found everywhere, in plants, animals, mountains, seas, and all natural phenomena. The realms of earth and the supernatural world were so closely integrated that they were seen as part of the same.

Shinto sees divinity in everything, and practicing it is designed to bring us into communion with the Divine.

The image posted above is a Shinto shrine gate, or Torii, marking the shrine entrance. These gates mark the division between the spiritual world and the physical world. The shrines / gates were always located outside.

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Posted by Bedegee in Inspiration, International Influences