More May Art

Today some more views of prints starring Coreopsis verticillata. This coreopsis is a native of North America. The Cherokee apparently knew of its red dye. Other forms of coreopsis, like “tinctoria” give deep yellows, and “lanceolata” blooms give yellowy- orange. I am trying each of these, and the whole plant not just the bloom.

Here Is what she looks like in bloom:

Meet C. verticillata's cousins, C. lanceolata and C. tinctoria (in front of Husband's Maypoles…(Did you know that medieval herb gardens often used brightly-coloured, striped wood to delineate square planting beds? I had that in mind when I, errrr, “commissioned” this sculpture from my resident Garden Art Sculptor) The coreopsis bloom with the red striped face is tinctoria.

I tried all three kinds in a wee “Blizzard” book (thank you, Hedi Kyle, for showing us that freely), inserting entire stems with blooms into the book pages and then steaming as usual. (C. Verticillata has no blooms yet). With these results. Coreo v. = all red; Coreo l. = orange-ellow and deep red-brown blooms, brown stems; Coreo t. = yellow blooms, brownish stems. Grey-blue from…???



A spent marigold joined the party, with large golden prints on the point of the left triangle fold: a bit of sumac, too. Going Native, you see.


The C. lanceolata gave the deep blackish marks here.

In the steamer: I wrapped the Blizzard Book in paper to avoid the bamboo strips printing on the book.

I have to say, they look edible…like exotic pastries…

Now a selection of printed papers (Strathmore Wet Media, 90 lb, mordanted with alum acetate in an overnight soak) First, some sprays of pink crabapple blooms with red leaves and stalks (Malus “Royalty”) that printed beautiful yellows and blues with teal. The white space does wonders for the composition.

Acer saccharum seeds with spent tulip petals and anthers: Nice to play with the colours and the placement of elements. Baroque curliqueues.

More tuiip petals: pink, yellow and red ones with black patches and anthers.

Maple seeds alone:

Elm leaves:

More red “Royalty”: Amazing teal blue-greens!

Ms. Isabella Preston's legacy blue lilacs: yellow leaf prints, turquoise blooms, a bit of iron.

A LOT iron, dipped post-printing. Coreopsis v. with Prestonia lilacs. Accordion folded paper, opened out. The colours settled so well in the folds.

More iron dipped colours: turquoise lilacs turn blue-grey.

A paper liner from under bundles in the steamer:

Tulips a-rioting

A stack of riotous prints:

White lilac with Purple Sandcherry and red “Royalty” crabapple. And a slice of rusty metal.

To finish: some more Embroidery Retrospectives. These embroideries were inspired by our Boreal spring growth and rushing snow-melt waters

“Beyond” – on painted silk.

“Summer Willows”. On painted silk organza.


Until next time and the last of my May posts for this year.

The crabapple and has now dropped all its blooms, and the tulips are nearly all gone. So no more eco prints from the garden using these lovelies.

The lilacs and the Prunus cistena will be with us for maybe another week, soon making way for iris, peony, poppies, cranesbills and the first of the roses.

But faithful coreopsis will be sticking around all season – no spring ephemeral is she.

Next post: A review of coreopsis in my dye studio


Found in New York: A Pop Up Park

” It’s very important to pass on what you know, to pass on new things, things you found out. If I tell my “secrets” very quickly, then I have to find some new secrets. And so, it keeps me always on the edge — always trying something else. Passing on information is one part of your obligation of being a professional; you have to give back to your milieu.”

– Louise Genest, Book Artist. Collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.

I like that thought as it applies to the art I share on this page.

This Thanksgiving Day I also want to share with you just one of the wonders I found out about on a recent trip to NYC.

The Highline is a mile-and-a-half long park, sculpture garden, walkway, viewing platform and nature sanctuary created from disused overhead rail lines, long ago abandoned to Nature who, left to her own devices, abundantly populated the rail tracks with small trees, bushes, grasses and wildflowers (no weeds, of course). A Pop Up Park! When this quirky haven was threatened with demolition, a few committed folk of vision and energy worked hard and long with an inspired community to save it, redesign it and create The Highline.

The idea was to plant the old rail tracks with grasses, groundcovers, wildflowers, bushes and small trees – many of them natives, especially species that had survived well along the tracks previously. The planting style is loose (though not chaotic), with a “wild meadow” feel…Just think how daring that idea is, meadows and fields among the skyscrapers:

Birches and (?) serviceberries

Echinacea among grasses:

Coreopsis among grasses:

Black Eyed Susans among grasses:

Not sure of this bush but it looks rather rhodo-ish:

Sculptures are an integral part of the planting designs: each successive planted area is companioned with sculptures that relate to the planting themes. This charming stretch recalls a prehistoric era by the use of partly concealed stone figures intended to recall dinosaurs hiding among stands of vegetation. It was fun watching the kids on The Highline trying to spot shy dinos!

A “textiles” art highlight for me is the in-process work by El Anatsui using sheets of rusted metals to construct a huge metal tapestry partially on an adjacent wall behind one of the track gardens. (The old rail tracks brought freight cars to warehouses so The Highline is hemmed in by brick walls quite tightly in stretches)



And then there are the views from the heights: The white criss- crosses are simply reflections of the low late afternoon sun from window glass in the building opposite “Heavenly Body Works”…and that little green pacman thingy is a sculpture…does anyone recall the artist? I understand he has many others around the world like this, a kind of Banksy art:

Beautiful brick and stone works:

Some great sight lines at the start of The Highline at 30th St./8th Ave.:

Across to the Chelsea Piers:

More great skylines viewed through greenery:

The tracks themselves suggested a sculptural approach to hardscape for the plantings:


And one last iconic view from The Highline, a special surprise as you approach the end of the line – the Lovely Lady Liberty!

…and a final wish for Thanksgiving:

Have FUN !!!… like this next Lovely Lady with a special headdress who will be cooking her first US TG this year:

And a last, last look at The Highline….

Next post: NYC art with a textile sensibility