For my exhibition I will be focusing on plant blindness, the piece exhibited will be part of a larger project. For my practice I am aiming to create a book which promotes plants and flowers which are importance for modern life. The book will be a children’s reference book, where’s wally esque, allowing children to not only learn new and relevant knowledge but to become botanical explorers.
The exhibition piece will represent this larger project (an advertisement almost), but it will also protest against plant blindness and encourage people to see plants for their importance.
The piece will be a wire child looking up at one of the pages from the book and flowers which are directly linked to the page the child is looking at will be falling from the child heads into the rest of the body and floor, as if the child is soaking up all the knowledge and making the child more aware of nature bringing it back to earth… (Hello hippy!)
In the last 100 years alone we have lost 75% of crop genetic variety and every six hours we loss a unique vegetable variety.
We are depending on more and more of our food on fewer crops. What if something happened to the crops we depend so much on?
There are over 20,000 varieties of corn in Mexico.
Monoculture – the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop, plant, or livestock species, variety, or breed in a field or farming system at a time.
1/3 of the food produced is wasted.
Carrots are thought to have originated in Afghanistan and are more likely to be purple, white or black. Why are these never illustrated?
Blue and pink pumpkins do exist.
There are 2,000 varieties of rice worldwide.
Kudrat – Nature
Karishma – Miracle
Eggplant, there are over 2,000 varieties in India and each has a unique flavour, texture and cooking style.
TEDx Talks, 2013, Food plant diversity — the key to life: Bhavani Prakash at TEDxSingaporeWomen 2012, Online Video, 19 March 2013, Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk-oC_yKrk4, Accessed: 1 February 2017.
During a tutorial with Clinton Cahill, I discussed how I planned to combine nature with human sculptures to show how they are entwined and interdependent on one another. Clinton then suggested why didn’t make the sculptures out of nature, which brings me to the below experiment…
I tried to make a hand out leaves, first making a skeleton with plaster of paris and then moulding the leaves around the hand via PVA and water. As you can see the leaves did not want to bend! And looking at these pictures I’m crying with laughter at trying to turn myself into a bloody tree. So although I have had some really helpful suggestions from other students on how you can fix the leaves in to shape, further research has led me to an idea which I feel is stronger for my practice.
We’re fully dependent on corn, 69% of the carbon in ones own body can be traced directly to the corn products that we eat. We’re dependent on corn and corn is dependent on us.
Wheat, rice and corn make up of 42% of the worlds calorie requirements.
The other 58% of the worlds calorie requirements are made up of roughly only 30 plants – our diet is not diverse. What about all the other plants we’re ignorant to?
Irish potato famine, causing the death of a million people and the immigration of another million people, cutting the population by 25%. I recently visited Ellis Island in New York, this island was breathtaking and conveyed hope and prospect of new beginnings to the Irish immigrants who came over.
Great american corn famine – that did not happen – in 1971. A fungus disease destroyed all the corn, luckily plant scientists got their act together and resolved the issue so the next year we had enough corn that we needed to survive. If plant scientists hadn’t resolved the issue could we have had a similar disaster to that of the Irish potato famine? If we do not continue botanical studies in universities will there be a plant scientist in the future to combat similar problems?
Over 50% of plant scientists working for American government will be retiring in 15 years, there is no plan to replace them.
Botany used to be in the school curriculum, on a fairly technical level. Collecting plants, learning the technical names, making specimens and they took an exam at the end of the year. High school no longer contains any botany, apart from a small amount on photosynthesis. And why? Because the teachers themselves are not educated, there is no botany being taught in colleges and universities are reducing the number of botany courses. How can we get children interested in botany?
Botany and biology are being combined. Is botany not a large enough topic on its own?
The royal botanic societies membership peaked in 1975. #Iamabotanist
There is no charisma in botany. How can I as an illustrator give plants and flowers charisma?
Chia Pets, introduce children to plants growing.
Leaf Snap, a free app which through shape recognition recognises plants and gives you information. – http://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/identify-nature/leafsnap-uk-app.html
Have you thanked a green plant today? The green world and man cannot get along without each other. The more this vital link is realised today, the better our world can be.
TEDx Talks, 2014, A Cure for Plant Blindness | Margaret Conover | TEDxSBU, Online Video, 17 December 2014, Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUzrRo1T274, Accessed: 31 January 2017.
Plant blindness is the official term coined by Wandersee and Schussler in 1998, “the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment, leading to the inability to recognize the importance of plants in the biosphere and in human affairs.” Plant blindness also comprises an “inability to appreciate the aesthetic and unique biological features” of plants and “the misguided, anthropocentric ranking of plants as inferior to animals, leading to the erroneous conclusion that they are unworthy of human consideration.” (Allen, 2003)
Wandersee and Schussler suggested “that because plants generally do not move, grow close together, and often have uniform colour, they blend together visually and thus are simply not seen.” (2001) Plants are simply easy to ignore unless they are in full bloom. Meaning winter months, people ignore plants and flowers altogether.
Wandersee and Schussler aim to give young people experience in growing plants, and they praise the role of botanical gardens in public education about the role of the plant world. “Our research has shown that having a plant mentor in one’s life makes a pivotal difference in whether one notices, appreciates, seeks to understand, and cultivates plants,” Wandersee says. “Without informal and formal horticultural and botanical education—such as mentors and botanical gardens provide—one is not likely to care about plants or to realise that all life depends on plants.”
“Plants need to be seen, again, as the vitally important elements in our ecosystem that clothe us, feed us, give us the oxygen that we breathe and the medicines that cure us. They need to be understood to be the carbon sinks that will allow us to reduce global warming, controllers of the impacts of drought and maintainers of fresh water supplies. They need to be seen as the complex living organisms, in their myriad of forms, which they truly are. Plants need to become valued again, elevated from their throwaway, second class status and be put back into the limelight – stolen from them by the furniture (or lions). We need to find a cure for plant blindness, and quickly, because if we don’t, it won’t just be horticulture facing a crisis.”
– Robbie Blackhall-Miles, 2015
Robbie Blackhall-Miles. 2015. We need a cure for plant blindness. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2015/sep/17/we-need-a-cure-for-plant-blindness. [Accessed 27 January 2017].
2001, Toward a theory of plant blindness, Plant Science Bulletin 47:2–7.,
William, A., Plant Blindness, BioScience 2003; 53 (10): 926. doi: 10.1641/0006-3568(2003)053[0926:PB]2.0.CO;2
Prevent soil erosion
Food is the prime importance for plants
Their presence is inevitable for clean air, food and water
2332800 seconds and counting…
Until Exploration of Experimentation!
The exhibition has started to take shape.
After a long discussion and lots of poster variations, we have gone ahead with a very simple pleasing poster designed by Damyon Garrity. The poster gives everyone an equal opportunity to have their work seen and also Damyon has created a fantastic 3D alternative.
A catalogue is being created by Katie Laura J, everyone will be having a single page with an image and 50-100 words describing their SciArt project.
Abi Knott & Mick Jongeling have volunteered to liaise with Making our futures and Digital Futures to curate a lovely exhibition space.
I am in charge of the fb event page and aim to post an image a day of students work along with an optional story. A .gif will also we pinned to the top of the page, showcasing everyones work.
Damyon Garrity has created the Eventbrite page and will be emailing this invitation to potential employers!
Initially, I decided to capture flowers and leaves in their natural form by using natural methods via photography, illustration, cyanotypes and this method; which was me pressing the leaves into wet clay to capture the intricate patterns and shapes.
As you can imagine it’s quite difficult to take images of the clay as they’re delicate and quite soft patterns and all development images have been lost after posting my phone to Australia via the loo. But heres a few images to show the results!
This was a good experiment to play with what would happen, but for me the outcome as delicate and pretty in real life as they are, are not strong enough visually.
Rachel Dein, is a prime example of how pressing flowers can be done in a very beautiful successful way, with time and the right equipment. “Rachel Dein makes plaster casts of plants and flowers that record all their texture, pattern, and delicacy in exquisite details. Her composition can be as simple as a single stem or as complex as a field of wildflowers, leaves, and grasses. Pendulous bleeding hearts, curly fiddleheads of ferns, and wispy poppies are some of her favourite flowers to cast.”
Dein creates a framed clay square and arranges her plants and flowers on top, she presses them in to the clay leaving an imprint and then removes the flowers and plants. Leaving the clay to dry, she then fills the frame with plaster to capture the imprints. Once the plaster has dried, she removes the clay and the end results are beautiful! More examples of her work can be found online.