Botanical Artifacts pay tribute to the land from where they are collected. Plant material is gathered from a special location, preserved and then displayed to help tell the story of the land.
Family land, where children played or spent summers, offer rich opportunities to create momentos from the land. A large piece of family land just outside Smithville, Missouri provided thorns and branches from the enormous Honey Locust trees and native grasses. I preserved soy and carn from a family farm that had gorwn these for the entire lives of their children
Most midwesterners are familar with the lethal thorns of the Honey Locust. It’s an incredibly dangerous task to collect the thorns and branches from this tree. If you get stuck with a thorn, chances are it’ll break off inside you before you get it out.
The trees I collected from in Smithville, Mo, were the biggest and meanest trees I’ve ever seen.
The longest thorn on this piece is 7″ and a few are 6″ long. I have more than one thorn from those trees that are 12″ long.
I pressed and dried the branches for over a year before they were ready to be glued and sewn down to the mat board.
The Fink family have farmed corn and soy for over 35 years in Holt County, Missouri. It’s how the children grew up. I preserved these plants in different stages of growth as remembrances for each of the four children.
You can see the corn kernels in the roots of these corn plants in this piece.
Roots look fragile, but they are very strong and difficult to control. I usually have to sew roots down, as I did for this piece.
The frame is crafted from reclaimed wood.
The Oak Leaf Hydragea below was collected from an urban corner that would soon be cemented over.
I often present plant material in a highly realistic format, showing roots, seeds, and insect infectations.
This hyper-realism often reveals graphic and abstract elements that you wouldn’t normally see.
I like to take plant material out of context, and an unfamilar beauty is often revealed.
The corn examples below show both approaches. The corn leaves alone are so graceful it would be impossible to know what they were if someone didn’t tell you.
Even shown as a whole plant, people are so unfamilar with plant life that it’s very difficult to tell what it is.