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  • Jennifer Jewell


"The Glow Within" a botanical art print by Kate Blairstone, all rights reserved.



There is an ancient association between the natural and botanical world and the inspiration it provides to the visual and dimensional arts.

This week we kick off a four part series in which we hear about the process, purpose and passions of 5 different artists all expressing their love for plants through their artistry. Today botanical illustrator Kate Blairstone of Portland Oregon and Mona Caron, international artist, known in part for her urban murals.

We start out inside with Kate Blairstone, a bold graphic artist and botanical illustrator - designer of botanically inspired wall papers, textiles and accessories.

"Plants have been used for centuries - for aeons - as decoration and that surface design is the way to manifest that decoration and historically all those avenues of - embroidery, printmaking, tattooing and all of those things have connected to plants and how we feel about our environment, how we exist in our environment and how that expresses our identity

Kate Blairstone, Botanical Graphic Artist


Mona Caron's heroic Taking Root mural in Union City, California. Photo by Mona Caron, all rights reserved.

"There was one mural I was painting and there was a beautiful, perfect dandelion that had grown at the foot of the wall. I was somehow cherishing that little flower in the cement, but it kept getting eradicated. People would come and 'clean' the street ,and the first thing they’d do is eradicate this dandelion instead of perhaps spending greater time with far worse dirt that exists on the street. But it kept coming back, and I was inspired by the resilience of this tiny little being - by the fact that you just don’t give up. And even though it was clandestine, without permission, it kept insisting in its own very subtle way - it kept insisting in its task of breaking through the seemingly invincible cement and reaching the sky and reconnecting the earth with the sky and creating a pathway for water to reconnect too despite all odds and despite all of these setbacks. I was inspired to do some tributes to these plants.”

- Mona Caron, Artist

In the second half of the program we head outside, joined by Mona Caron – internationally known artist, whose artistry graces exterior city walls from a few feet high to many, many stories high on buildings around the globe. Her visionary work takes tiny, unlikely plant lives and makes them the heroes of her art.

There are so many ways people engage in and grow from the cultivation of their places.


* * * * * * * *

And like that it’s October – or Botanical Artober for Cultivating Place. I am fascinated by people’s expressions of the botanical in so many facets of their lives: way beyond their gardens and kitchens. Their tattoos, their love songs, their needlework, and so many other surface arts – finials, dishware, cakes of soap, and on.....

I was interested in Kate’s thesis and ongoing work exploring how color and pattern can evoke a specific place, time, culture and how that connects to and helps communicate both cultural and individual identity.

I am well aware of the old adage – show me your garden and I will tell you who you are, but to expand that to show me how you or your cultural represent the botanical world and we’ll know so much more – made me look around. At my color choices, at the flowers and foliage rendered in my office curtains, the huge enormous gourd and nut watercolor painting by my cousin above my office door….

What do these say about me – this cultural moment. I am hoping they are signs of hope. Not sure. What do you think?

Mona's statement about the aspect of the plants that truly inspired her was their action - their insistence - their resistance, really resonated with me.

I am part of plenty of movements described as the resistance – and this one, my plant and gardening loving friends, holds my whole heart. In it, I truly believe we redirect our world toward a far better, kinder, bolder more beautiful and just world all the way around.

The plants as always have so much to teach us.

I’m fully enjoying Botanical Artober so far – how about you? I know there are so, so, so, many artists out there I wanted to host in this series – if I follow you on Instagram or Facebook or interact with you about your art in any way - in person or on-line way, please know I wanted to invite you. You know who you are! Over there in England in Australia, in Japan, in Ireland, and Africa. Your work is beautiful and powerful and meaningful. Keep it up. And I will hope to keep adding to this series every year.

I have to tell myself – as the saying goes: there will be time, there will be time. (Any other Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock fans out there ? ;)

And thank you all for reflecting the magic of the world of plants back to a world that needs it - in your gardens, in ALL your art.

For information on upcoming episodes in the series, to read more about wrapping up the unbelievably gratifying Seeds of September Series – make sure to read this month’s A VIEW FROM HERE newsletter that went out early this week. SUBSCRIBE to it -that helps me stay in touch with you, too!

If you ever want to connect more directly to me – or to one another – or comment on weekly posts on Instagram and Facebook – I always enjoy hearing from you and connecting back.

Enjoy the Cultivating Place Podcast? If yes, SHARE IT WITH FRIENDS.

The value of conversations like these is powerful action for positive shifts in this world.

And thank you....

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