botanic

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Craft Illustration

Dried Botanics Pressed into Delicate Fauna Compositions by Artist Helen Ahpornsiri

May 28, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Helen Ahpornsiri, shared with permission

England-based artist Helen Ahpornsiri (previously) presses delicate flowers and plants into wondrous artworks that depict the colorful diversity of the natural world. By foraging botanics from her garden, Ahpornsiri pieces the dried natural matter together in a manner that’s similar to constructing a jigsaw puzzle. “I prefer to use fern and common wildflower species as I like the idea of giving something unassuming, or thought of as a weed, a new narrative—and they are relatively easy to grow!” she says. “The marine algae I use is foraged from beaches on the south coast of England. I search for loose pieces of marine algae along strandlines and in rockpools, especially after stormy seas, to avoid being disruptive to the surrounding ecosystem.”

The artist’s collection features mammals and insects from across the animal kingdom—ranging from peacocks and bees to elephants—some of which are aligned with tiny pieces of gold leaf that reflect the sparkling color and vibrancy of the species she creates. Upon close inspection, the flowers’ color appears faded from the drying process, similar to the way watercolors dry and bleed into their canvas. In one of the artist’s most recent pieces, a comet moth is mounted on black board, with its antenna crafted from a minuscule leaf that elegantly depicts the fragility of the insect’s anatomy.

You can see more of Ahpornsiri’s delicate botanic compositions on her website, on Instagram, and via her shop.

 

 

 



Illustration

Illustrated Florals Adorn A Gold-Wrapped Tarot Deck Infused with Botanic History

May 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Beehive Books

By pairing a classic tarot deck with stunning botanical illustrations, Kevin Jay Stanton merges the spiritual practice with the historical mythology behind plants and flowers. “Their archetypal symbols have mystical, philosophical, and psychological implications that allow us to understand our past, our future, and ourselves,” the illustrator said in a Kickstarter explainer. “But even older than that is the symbolism we’ve always assigned to the plants that grow around us.”

Lined with gold foil, the 78-card deck is replete with acrylic and ink renderings on a dark backdrop. While the Major Arcana features lone specimens, the Minor Arcana details botanical compositions with suit-specific objects like coins or cups. Every court card is adorned with royal notations.

Stanton’s pairings of The Queen of Swords and red oleander, The Devil and nightshade, and The High Priestess and elderflower each expand the potential readings. “Divination is the process of finding meaning in symbols or patterns, and similarly, the act of reading tarot is finding patterns, meaning, and visions in the symbols,” he said. “A larger picture is created when a story is formed from how one card interacts with the next, as a bouquet is created from the harmony between many flowers.”

To pick up your own set, three editions—the Herbalist, Dark Alchemist, and Enchanter—are available for pre-order through Beehive Books. Stay up-to-date with Stanton’s mythical projects on Instagram. And if you’re interested in another entrance into the divine, check out Salvador Dalí’s deck.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Homegrown Botanics Collaged into Conflict-Ridden Figures by Artist Meggan Joy

May 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Meggan Joy, shared with permission

For Meggan Joy to begin creating her flowery assemblages, she first has to plant the seeds. The Seattle-based artist cultivates a plot in a community garden throughout the summer months, tending to each fern and vibrant petal. Once her patch is in full bloom, she captures thousands of individual photographs of her rooted plants before combining them into allegorical digital collages of the female body. Birds, butterflies, and other visitors to her garden make an appearance, as well.

Her latest series, Battle Cry, depicts women in the midst of conflict. Imbued with action, each figure is comprised of layers of the living world that are derived from both the opened flowers and the powerful bodily poses. “Color and texture form each woman’s shape, and from the photographs of once-living individual things, portraits of ethereal beings begin to emerge,” the artist says. A snake wraps itself around one figure’s neck, while two others are twisted among flowing ribbon, merging notions of natural beauty and strength.

Joy’s work will be on view at J. Rinehart Gallery in Seattle from June 13 to July 25, with a virtual opening on June 13. Take a peek at her studio, which includes a walk through her garden plot, in the video below, and follow her textured compositions on Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

Rosy Eyes Peer Out From Leaves and Insects in Bizarre Illustrations by Ana Miminoshvili

May 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Jasmine” (2018). All images © Ana Miminoshvili

Tbilisi-based illustrator and designer Ana Miminoshvili captures the essence of modern surveillance by hiding it in plain sight. In Blooming Eyes, she implants her verdant leaves and botanical compositions with numerous eyes that peer out from their natural surroundings. Red speckles indicate that they’re bloodshot and strained, giving the scleras a rosy hue that complements and blends with the pink florals.

Miminoshvili describes the surreal series as commentary “on anxiety, (the) fear of being watched, and pressure of social media exposure.” The staring eyes disguise themselves in unusual and yet organic places like ladybugs’ spots and a newly opened flower. In a statement, the illustrator said she prefers “creating warm ambiances and combining strict, geometric shapes with more free and natural lines,” after pinpointing a tight color palette that allows her to merge the otherwise disparate elements.

Follow Miminoshvili’s ongoing illustrations and embroideries that consider privacy in contemporary life on Instagram and Behance, and purchase a print in her shop.

 

“Ladybugs” (2018)

“Blooming face” (2020)

“Caterpillar” (2020)

“Eyeballs” (2019)

 

 



Craft Design

Assemblages of Found Florals Imprinted on Ceramic Mugs and Plates by Hessa Al Ajmani

March 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Hessa Al Ajmani

Artist Hessa Al Ajmani often gathers small flowers and fronds from her mother’s garden. She brings the floral arrangements to her home studio, where she presses the groupings onto her earthenware and stoneware pieces, leaving simple and realistic imprints. Based in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates, the artist uses some plaster molds and stamps she creates herself, although each piece is hand-built, preventing any two from being exactly alike. Before firing, she peels off the greenery and petals, revealing the small grooves and divots that she later paints.

Because Al Aljmani doesn’t use a wheel, her pieces typically take hours, or even days, to finish. “I’ve been playing with all sorts of clay (air-drying, polymer, earthenware) since I was a child. I learned how to work with it professionally in university, but didn’t pick up the practice until about a year ago,” she said on her site. “I had to re-teach myself all the basics and do endless tests with clay consistency, form, texture, firings, etc.”

Shaping each ceramic piece and layering the found florals is therapeutic, the artist says, because it requires patience and has fostered an acceptance of and appreciation for imperfection. “My ceramic work speaks of my memories of home and the process of self-healing. Through imprints of flower, leaves, and patterns, it invokes a sense of nostalgia and the idea of home as a space of free thought and personal growth,” she said.

In addition to her own practice, the artist founded the Clay Corner Studio in 2019, which offers ceramics and painting classes. To watch Al Ajmani’s process, check out her Instagram and see which pieces she has available for purchase in her shop.

 

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Animation Science

A Verdant Botanical Animation Takes a Macro View of Nature’s Cycles

February 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

Spanning from day to night and from sunshine to rain and wind, “Story of Flowers” shows the various stages of botanical growth and the help plants get along the way. The instructional project—which was illustrated by Katie Scott, animated by James Paulley, and directed by Azuma Makoto—depicts the interconnected networks within an ecosystem, like the organisms underground fertilizing the soil or a bumblebee landing atop and pollinating a pistil. Each stage of the germination process is shot with an enlarged view to magnify roots stretching out, sprouts poking through the ground, and flowers opening up to bloom. As rain falls, the petals drop and plants release their seeds, which then are embedded into the soil, beginning the cycle once again. Head to Instagram to check out more work from Scott, Paulley, and Makoto. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 



Craft

Countless Hand-Scored Notches Comprise Aquatic Sculptures by Lisa Stevens

January 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Lisa Stevens, shared with permission

From her home studio near Bristol, Lisa Stevens designs heavily detailed sculptures that mimic sea life and natural elements. Her small bowls are complete with ridges and plant-like protrusions, while her organ-shaped sculptures are teeming with seemingly endless dots and scores that imitate coral reefs, flowers, minerals, moss, and lichen. Formerly a sculptor for Aardman Animations, Stevens forgoes stamps, texture sheets, or molds to craft each mark with a small set of tools, ensuring no pieces are identical. Most of her works are made of high-fired porcelain clay that becomes translucent when light shines through it. The sculptor often uses stoneware glazes, underglaze, or melted glass to finish her pieces with vibrant pigments.

Stevens said in an artist’s statement that she intends “to highlight the issues that human activity has on the environment. Small differences in each of our behaviours can add up to make a big difference.” More of Steven’s geologically inspired sculptures can be found on Instagram, and some are even available for purchase on Etsy.

 

 

A Colossal

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins