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16 JUNE 2013

Marianne North: pioneering botanical artist

"Victorian artist Marianne North, one of the only women of her time to travel to places like the Seychelles Islands, Australia, and Chile, and who left behind a trail of impressive art and writing about her botanical discoveries, is not a household name. ...

In 1871, when a 40–year–old North set out after the death of her father to travel around the world and to paint as many of world's flora in oils as possible, she unwittingly found herself both ahead of and behind her times. In the art world, she was definitely not part of the avant–garde; in France, Claude Monet and Pierre–Auguste Renoir had already started their Impressionist paintings, creating works that were worlds away from the status quo of a polished depiction of nature.

North went around the world twice, in fifteen years, traveling by train, boat, mule, and on foot, to every continent, except for Antarctica. In Brazil, where she spent 13 months, North painted lush landscapes and tropical flowers with tight brushstrokes and clean lines – a style that would soon be left behind with the revolutionary style of the Impressionists. North didn't perceive or paint her subjects in a particularly unique way, but she relayed every minute detail of a plant, flower, or landscape with breathtaking precision. Her paintings give you a straight, dispassionate look at an unfamiliar world."

(Alexia Nader, Garden Design)

Fig.1 Marianne North, New Zealand Flowers and Fruit, Date painted: early 1880s, Oil on board, 50.9 x 35.4 cm, Collection: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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187119th centuryaccuracyAotearoa New ZealandartistAustraliabiodiversity • botanical artist • botanical record • BrazilCaliforniaCharles DarwinChiledepiction • dispassionate look • Edward Lear • fidelityfloragarden design • George Eliot • IndiaJapanKew Gardens • Marianne North • natural history • natural landscape • nature • non-European species • Origin of Speciespainting • painting nature • phytotomypioneering womenplant anatomyplantsscientific illustrationscientific illustrator • Seychelles • Seychelles Islands • travel • travel writing • travelogue • tropical plants • UK • unfamiliar world • Victorian art

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 APRIL 2013

Guerrilla Gardening: Seed Bombs & Seed Balls

"I've been following guerrilla gardening on Twitter for quite some time, and have become familiar with the term 'seed bombing' as a result. It's an idea that's always appealed to me – it's a kind of eco–friendly, bee–friendly, slightly radical anti–vandalism activism – but it's just one of those things that I'd never pursued. ...

So how do they work? It's a simple process really – the seeds I bought are encased in a ball of peat–free compost, dried clay and chilli, which are hand–rolled in North London (yes, really, and no, it's not what you're thinking). The dried clay acts as a protective casing from common seed predators (such as ants, mice and birds). When enough rain permeates the clay, the seeds inside begin to germinate – helped along by the nutrients and minerals contained within the balls. So it's like a tiny self–sufficient seeding system. Maya [http://www.mayaproject.org/] have added chili powder to the mix to help to deter predators while the seed ball slowly degrades, and eventually the seeds sprout."

(Lucy Small, 5 April 2013)

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activismagriculture • anti-vandalism activism • ball • bee-friendly • chili • compost • DIY gardening • earthcare • eco-friendly • fairshare • gardening • germination • guerrilla gardeningguerrilla tacticsNative Americans • peat-free compost • peoplecare • permacultureplants • project MAYA • seed • seed balls • seed bomb • seed bombing • seed bombs • seeding system • self-sufficientsustainable society

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 MARCH 2013

Lou Loeber: childrens picture book illustrations

"Prentenboek met 18 platen met geometrische gevormde figuren van een van de 'constructivistisch gerichte experimentele schilders' met plaatjes die gemaakt lijken 'met behulp van de tangramdoos' (S. de Bodt. Prentenboeken). Bevat onder andere gedichten en prenten over een vlinder, kippen, spreeuwen, een geitenbok, speelgoed, een varken, de sproeiwagen, een watermannetje, de vuilnisman, lammetjes, spelen met een tol, een interieur met zonnestraal, een kwikstaart, koe en schaap in de wei, een lezend meisje, regen, sneeuwpret en Sinterklaas."

(The Memory of the Netherlands)

Simon Franke (1927). "Gouden Vlinders" picture book illustrated Lou Loeber.

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1927abstract artbook illustrationbutterfly • Charles-Edouard Jeanneret • chickenchildrens bookchildrens book illustrationcityscapeConstructivist-inspiredcowDe Stijldesign formalismdrawingetchingeveryday life • experimental painter • farm • farmyard • gedichtenbundels • geometric figures • glass painting • goat • Gouden Vlinders • human figure • illustration • kunstenaarsboeken • lamb • landscapeLe Corbusierlinocut • Lou Loeber • meadow • modernist aestheticspicture bookPiet Mondrianpigplants • prentenboeken • rain • rubbish collector • Santa Claus • Saskia de Bodt • sheep • Simon Franke • simplified forms • simplified representations • snow • spinning top • starlingsstill life • storybook • tangram box • The Memory of the Netherlands • tightened forms • visual abstractionvisual artwomen in art and design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 NOVEMBER 2011

You can have a garden: Edible Island Planters

"Eliza Donald couldn't find a large enough planter that suited her purposes, so decided to make her own. 'It took two years, working with plant specialists, and industrial designers, also asking a lot of people questions. It's important that a design functions well but it's equally important to ask why a person would want to use it in the first place,' she says. Eliza is now director of Edible Islands – handy aesthetically lovely planters the size of a small bathtub. You can plant out your veggies and a small tree, or once all your herbs die (if you have my touch) you can pop a lid on and just sit under your tree. Ingenious.

As Eliza points out, the potential benefits are plentiful, 'Sometimes people don't have an easy access to fresh veg. The planters help with Transition Towns – educating people on how to grow their own food and prevention of depression as people swap seeds, plants and recipes, and grow plants with their grandchildren. They increase flight pathways across cities for birds, bees and butterflies as more Edible Island Planters are put on roof tops, back yards, and schools.' The planters are all made in Pakenham, Australia."

(Lou Pardi, (small)LUST, 02 August 2011)

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Australia • backyard • bathtubbetter-functioning productsbusiness women • domestic furniture • ecodesign • Edible Island Planters • Edible Islands • Eliza Donald • entrepreneurshipenvironmentally conscious design • fresh food • gardeninggreen design • grow your own food • herbs • industrial designkiwi ingenuity • Little Veggie Patch Company • Pakenham • planter • plantsproduct designproduct designerprotoductionresearch and developmentrooftopseedself-sufficientsustainable agriculture • sustainable cities • sustainable landscape and garden design • swappingtransition towns • veggies • women designers

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
27 MAY 2009

1stAveMachine: a succulent garden of bio-electronic cyberflora

"Manhattan–based 1stAveMachine produces lush, hyperreal short videos that glisten with bleeding–edge CGI. The clip above, a music video for Alias made in 2006, is considered their breakout masterpiece: a succulent garden of bio–electronic cyberflora. Describing the clip, director Arvind Palep told CGISociety, 'we were looking at a merge between synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and what could spawn from them.'"

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1stAveMachine • 2006animationartificial intelligence • Arvind Palep • bio-electronic • CGI • Coilhouse • cyberflora • cyberpunkflowersgardengenetic engineeringhyperrealmusic videomutantnanotechnologyplantsshortssynthetic biologyzoomorphism

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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