Friday, August 28, 2015

My Herbarium, Pt. 1

   I've started a new project, an herbarium! An herbarium is a collection of pressed plant specimens that are affixed upon pages in a book. I first learned about herbarium when I went to the San Jose Art Museum with my parents. Usually when I visit my parents, we go to the San Jose Art Museum and it is always full of inspiring and beautiful exhibits. The exhibit in which I learned about herbariums was a photo collection by Annie Leibovitz where she took photographs of personal possessions that once belonged to historical figures. My favorite's were Emily Dikinson's personal possessions which included photographs from her herbarium. Emily Dickinson had a great love of plants and was an enthusiastic gardener as an adult. But her adoration of the natural world started young. When she was only a young teenager, Emily Dickinson wandered the woods around her house to collect plant specimens for her herbarium. But her herbariums completion, she had over 400 plant specimens.
  Herbarium's use to be a popular hobby back in the Victorian Era, but I think it should be brought back to popularity in the modern day. I am using a nontraditional format for my herbarium. I am pressing, identifying and mounting the plants on pages as per traditional herbariums, but I am also drawing pictures to go along with the pressed plant. Because I do not have my own garden and I live in the city, most of my plants are weeds I've collected from the side of the road, abandoned lots, growing from between the cracks in the sidewalk and various other spots that weeds are found thriving. Right now, my herbarium is a story of the invasive plants popping up and spreading around the Seattle area.

Common St. Johns Wort

Butterfly Bush:

Field Bindweed:

Sweet Pea:

Yellow Horned Poppy:

  My herbarium project is an ongoing project. I am excited for Fall to start so I can collect colorful leaves and draw pictures of trees for the project. This project is fun on many levels. When I am walking around outdoors, I like scanning the plants around me to see if there are any potential plant specimens for my project. I've gotten a couple of books from the library and it is fun to scan through these in search for the identities of various plants I've found and pressed. It is also a fun creative art project and an art project that celebrates the natural world. 

Learn More!
  1. The Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage exhibit that was at San Jose Art Museum a couple of years ago. 
  2. Emily Dickinson's love of plants.
  3. More on Emily Dickinson's herbarium.

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