Collaging, Beading and Sewing

First FriMarch 0314Exploring materials for collages with plant material has opened up new avenues for creativity. The past couple of weeks I’ve been working with embroidery floss and gemstones with plant material.

I love the texture, color, contrast and richness the mix creates.

I have several new and old pieces up at Cafe Gratitude in Kansas City and will be there for March’s First Friday from 6:30 to around 9:00 with wine to share.

Cafe Gratitude is at 333 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108.




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Studio Tour, Talk and Make Session

Tour a tour of the art studio, hear a talk about the importance Plant Art Studioof plant preservation in spirituality, economy, history and beauty, and a make-your own art card session from the collection of preserved plants.

When: Jan. 19, 2:00 – 4:30 pm.
Cost: $30
Registration: Pre-registration required (register by clicking here)

The Talk
An introduction to the art of plant preservation and how it’s been used throughout history by spiritualists, physicians, philosophers  and scientists will be provided. A 15-20 minute talk about who has preserved plants throughout history (and why), and what remains preserved today. Some discussion about the impact of plants on our lives will be included. We will also talk about the science behind preserving.PlantArtPreserved.jpgA

The Tour
You be able to see a wide variety of preserved plants and finished art pieces in the artist’s studio.

The Make Sesssion
You may bring a favorite quote and/or flat, preserved plant to use and/or some selected pieces from the collection (shown in the image below and on the right) will be available to use. Additionally, prepared cut mat board and all supplies will be provided to make one or two (as time allows) 5″ x 7″ pieces suitable for framing or sending in the mail. All materials will be artist quality and appropriate for plant material.

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Sage was loved in ancient Arabia because it was believed to help one live a long, healthy life. Some even believed it contained the power to imbue immortality.

It was sacred to ancient Romans, who believed it extended life.

In the language of flowers, sage is a petal of domestic virtue.

The botanical name for sage in latin, Salvia Officianalis, refers to both its ability to save or heal, and its being prescribed as medicine.

Today it’s used in alternative medicine, and most commonly to add flavor to dishes that include chicken and eggs.




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BASE KC and Some Gratitude

Some gratitude (in the form of art cards) for the Business Alliance for a Sustainable Economy in Kansas City (BASE KC), the speakers and organizers of The Climate Event held at the end of September.

Japanese MapleThe founding principles of BASE KC really speak to me: that sustainable economic development is compatible with shared prosperity, environmental protection, and social justice.

Representatives from twelve local, regional and international organizations shared large scale green initiatives they had been taking. A few of the stellar organizations and their representatives were: Dennis Wierzbicki with Grundfos (based in Denmark); Amy Hargroves with Sprint; Cindy Circo, KCMO City Council and Mayor Pro Tem; Bryan McGannon, Deputy Director of Policy, American Sustainable Business Council (based in Washington D.C.). A full list is at the BASEKC website.

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Denver Herbarium

Brigid Greene at the Denver Botanical Garden HerbariumThe Herbarium associated with the Denver Botanical Gardens has an excellent specimen collection related to the plant diversity of Colorado and the Southern Rocky Mountain region. And that’s not the best thing about it.

It also has one of the few actively curated ethnobotany collections in the U.S. One of the items reported was the widespread use of plants in the Cedar/Juniper family by dozens of Native American tribes for things like as a talisman to help protect against evil spirits, medicine, fuel and dyes. And although I love this kind of stuff, it’s still not the best part.

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Orchid Skeleton Collage

May2013 004-OrchidThe skeleton of this collage is a preserved orchid plant. Like most root systems, the roots of orchid plants are  surprisingly strong.  Most of the roots original to this plant are still intact.

Other elements in this collage include a variety of poly-cotton threads, Macrocarpa leaves, Honey Locust thorns, one milkweed seedpod lining, and an old orchid bloom.

Orchids have a long history of inspiring people. As early as 479 B.C., Confucius compared all that was virtuous to orchids. For this reason, Chinese artists placed orchids in their work to evoke qualities of humility, integrity, and refinement.

Orchids must have been the inspiration for at least one song Confucius wrote. He’s  credited with composing “Youlan,” (The Solitary Orchid”), one of the earliest pieces of written music that survived the centuries.

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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.

May2013 003-Card-2.jpg

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.

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A Better Block

In October (2012) a group of innovative minds in Kansas City decided to create an ideal city block. They got the idea from Jason Roberts, who gave a TEDx talk in early 2012 on the subject.

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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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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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