Seed Pack

Back in early summer I found out that I'd been selected to create a seed pack for the Hudson Valley Seed Company (formerly Hudson Valley Seed Library). I was thrilled because I'm a huge fan of everything they do, from non-GMO seed preservation, heirloom varieties, and great garden advice, to artwork and nature coming together. They're a huge inspiration, so I was excited and nervous! My mission was to make artwork for the Siberian Watermelon. I started with a friendly wolf/Siberian husky who loves watermelon, as all good dogs do. 

I lay out the plants and tried to figure out how best to use different shapes to describe the husky.

Then came the fun part of painting the fruit itself, a lovely apricot colored water melon that's very sweet!

I ended up here with this image and then it went to the Hudson Valley Seed Company to be designed into a pack. They have beautiful distinctive folding packs, so the image needed a little tweaking.

And here it is! You can buy this pack and many others - as well as a 2017 calendar featuring all the new art packs for the year - on their website!

Plant Press

I have an aversion to reading directions and doing things the "right" way. Sometimes this can lead to innovations and interesting discoveries and sometimes it gets in my way. And it's probably the reason that my plant press still looks like this! Two pieces of wood, the same size, one on the bottom one on the top, layers of cardboard and paper, and weighted with two giant dictionaries. It actually works really well! I also stick small specimen into the books to press (in paper). 

Ideally, if you were making a proper plant press, you would have two pieces of wooden board, equal size, latticed or at least with holes cut in them for ventilation. Pieces of cardboard the same size as the boards. Absorbent paper, such as paper towels or blotter paper, newspaper to fold the specimen in, and straps to cinch the press closed tightly. If you have a fleshier plant with more water in it you will need to change the blotting paper out after a day or two. I often have large pieces of glassene left over from shipping or transporting artwork and I reuse it in my plant press.

How you arrange the plant before you press it is also something to consider. You can adjust the shape it will end up in by spreading leaves and flattening it in a particular way. 

When you choose which plants to press, don't rule out weeds! Weeds make some of the best specimen. Below you can see Dandelions which create really interesting shapes. Another favorite of mine is Vetch. Queen Anne's Lace makes another fabulous pressed plant. So keep your eye out for all the great weeds around!!

Drop Forge & Tool

In January I did a residency at Drop Forge & Tool in Hudson, NY. The space is incredible, with lots of light and room to work on multiple large scale pieces at a time. I began by working on a new Flower Wolf piece.

But I also had this wonderful cozy corner table with a bench seat that I set up as a water color and drawing area. I had some water colors that my mom had given me and I'd never used. She bought them at Goodwill and it turns out they are from the 1850's!! This blew my mind. They turned out to be beautiful and I was able to work with them in this lovely little spot.

Here's a close up of one of the water color cakes, unicorns and lions! The set is gorgeous.

I made these two small water colors and then decided to translate them into large scale fabric pieces using fabric ink for the birds, and embroidery for the figures. 

This is a close up of one of them. I used a simple back stitch for the embroidery and the same pressed plant technique I use with the Flower Wolves but in fabric paint instead of ink.

Fabric is hard to photograph! I am working on stretching and framing this piece and will post better photos once I do.

And this is another experiment on fabric made while at Drop Forge & Tool. It was so helpful to have the time and space to experiment and create new work, play with new ideas and spread out!! Katharine and Michael, who run the residency are a delight. All in all, it was a fabulous experience, I felt so lucky to be there. I'll be teaching a workshop there in the summer, "Printing With Plants", so check back for more info!

Bear Banner

I've started a new project!! I'm making heraldic banners with animals made up of flowers printed with fabric paint. So the process is along the lines of the flower wolves but with fabric and using heraldic imagery. It's been really fun, and I wanted to share some of the process. I start by sewing a banner shape and then sketch on an animal with added elements like the moon and axe that are block printed. Then I lay out the pressed plants and flowers.

After choosing which pressed plants I want to use to compose the bear, I start to paint each specimen with fabric paint and the press it onto the fabric with a paper towel on the back to absorb any excess ink.

 

The final result is oddly like a constellation. I'm happy with how the block printed and flower elements work together. Looking forward to trying more!!

Memory

I've started a new video project! It's based on one of my earliest childhood memories: the day my dog died. My dog was mostly German Shepherd, but also part wolf, and I struggled to find a way to portray her in the video. Until I found a woman in Oregon on Etsy. She is a taxidermist and artist who creates, among other things, ceremonial headdresses. She happened to have a wolf who looked a lot like my dog. Only bigger. 

I was relieved to read this on her Etsy site: 

"...all natural materials I use in my creations are either sourced from roadkill, Fish and Game, or secondhand sources such as fellow artists, auctions houses, estate sales, and antique stores."

Pretty cool. 

Here is a picture of my son, playing me in the video. He's wearing my old t-shirt from when I was his age. He loved the wolf and wanted to keep her.

Here is a picture of my son, playing me in the video. He's wearing my old t-shirt from when I was his age. He loved the wolf and wanted to keep her.

Here is a quick iphone shot I took of my husband, playing my dad,  who dug the grave for our dog in our backyard. 

Here is a quick iphone shot I took of my husband, playing my dad,  who dug the grave for our dog in our backyard. 

I couldn't resist taking a self portrait wearing this beautiful creature. When I opened the box she arrived in, I literally jumped she looks so real and has such powerful presence. 

As I worked on the video it was exciting to think about memory, and to try to recreate some of the experience of it through video. Did I have on shorts that day, or pants? Was it morning or afternoon? Was my mom there the whole time? Playing around with these ideas, my son appears (as me) in different outfits; we shot scenes at various times of the day; in some shots my son wears a wig, and in some he doesn't; etc. I am looking forward to editing it, and to doing one more shoot for it in the fall.

Worlds of Wonder

I just installed my piece "Ghost House" at the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz. It looks like it'll be a great show! Opening is June 21st from 5-7.

Made a special plinth for it this time. I think it makes a real difference, the height is much better!

Not sure if this is exactly where it will be, the curator, Ian Berry still has to place everything.

Fellow Bardie Adriana Farmiga is also in the show, love her work.