Photo by Kelli Shedd
Earlier this month I had the pleasure to visit the city of Chicago for the first time. By far the best adventure I had was walking through the beautiful Lincoln Park Conservatory in Lincoln Park. The are four main rooms in the Conservatory: the show room, palm room, fern room and my favorite … the orchid room.
In the 19th Century many cities were constructing conservatories to house a variety of plants, many medicinal, in an attempt to cope with the enduring industrial revolution. The one in Lincoln Park was constructed between the years of 1890 -1895 and originally contained a “tropical room” which is now the orchid room. What I found so fascinating about the orchids was the diversity and amount of blooms clustered into the room. Orchids are growing from the ceiling, out of walls, and every little crack exposed in the conservatory.
While the park was kind enough to provide each species with a name plate with both common and Latin names, it was difficult at times to identify which orchid the plaque was referring to — there are that many orchids! Many of these flowers took on a resemblance of another animal or plant in nature. The “pansy orchid” looks exactly like a pansy, the “blue orchid” is a delicate powder blue, and the “birds nest orchid” forms a pouch which contains the heart of the flower.
If you ever find yourself with time to spare while hanging out in Chicago I highly suggest you stop in at the Conservatory. Open year-round, this free activity will absolutley be the highlight of your day. I can only imagine how wonderful a walk through the orchid room must feel on a blustery Chicago winter day. For more information on the hours of operation visit: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/conservatories-and-greenhouse/
Photo by Kelli Shedd
I have a deep love for handmade books. Especially handmade artists books which over the years I have accidentally collected — I say accidentally because many of the handmade books I own simply found their way into my house, onto my bookshelves!
My most treasured artist book, For Those Who See, came into my house via my mother-in-law, a woman who has a supreme knack for pulling treasures from piles of antiques, and also has a love affair with books. Written and created by Gwen Frostic, this beautiful collection of word and illustrations capture nature in a variety of moods, from the mundane everyday occurrence, to the cycle of life beyond our control. Published in 1965 in Benzonia, Michigan, For Those Who See is illustrated by Frostic as well, and only scratches the surface of her extensive career as an artist and print-maker. She lived and worked in a home studio nestled within a wildlife sanctuary in Northern Michigan which is still open to the public even after her passing in April 2001.
Turning the pages of this small masterpiece, the layers of vellum and linen, and the soft muted color of inks used to print the images, I simply wish this book would never end.
Photo by Kelli Shedd
Hi Everyone, I’m Kelli, the Borealchick and I’m so excited to be sharing here today on Dearest Nature!
For my first post I thought it would be fitting to explore one of my current inspirations, the world of fungi. Nature plays a strong role in the art that I make, and every now and then I become enchanted with a subject within it. My recent drawings are an exploration fungi using a combination of found and imagined patterns to describe these delicate and sometimes colorful organic shapes.
The climate in the Northeast is the prefect breeding ground for a variety of fungi year-round with polypores being the most abundant this time of the year. Polypores are small to large in size and look like a shelf or disk attached to the side of a live or dead tree. With spring only slowly creeping in, my hiking has turned more into a search for new fungi unearthed by the snow and ice.
The photographs shown above are of fungi on fallen trees, the round variety may be a colony of insect galls, but the jury is still out!