f l o r i l e g i u m


Installation shot, Pressed for Time, Seymour Art Gallery. Photo credit: Kara Wightman

A florilegium is a collection of flower illustrations. It might be illustrations recording plants in a specific garden, a known geographical area, or plants found on voyages of discovery.

The word comes from the Latin, flor, a flower, and legere, to gather or collect. In its early history, the term didn’t refer literally to flowers, but to the “little flowers of writing,”[1] that is, compositions, poems and epigrams taken from various authors. An anthology of sorts.

I like the fact that the term florilegium encompasses both the literary and the botanical both at the same time, and since my present work involves research and direct observation, it encapsulates the idea of my project.

The work you see here is part of an on-going study, a work in progress.  It is a voyage of exploration and discovery, a gathering and a collection–indirectly from distant shores since many of the plants found in our gardens are not native to N.A.– and from the near and the local.  I harvest pollen from flowers, taste tiny droplets of nectar, peer closely at blooms, dissect their incredible beauty and structure, and record the bees and pollinators that thrive on these floral resources.  This is my garden, both imaginary and real, but it comes from our common garden, that is, the place we as humans share with other creatures. We are all gatherers and collectors, are we not? The question for me is, “Do we deplete this wild garden as we have done for millennia, or do we also give back, enhance and cultivate?”

[1] Worldwidewords.org


Yarrow. 43x33. Archival print on gampi, beeswax, collage

Yarrow. 43×33. Archival print on gampi, beeswax, collage

Salmonberry, 34″x44″, archival ink on gampi, beeswax, collage