Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update on Foraging-Scapes: Food


This is an update on 'foraging-scapes', my little cloth project to help me think about pollinators and the work they are doing in our gardens. I'm thinking a lot about the ways their work is creating the landscape that our gardens are part of.


Most of the cloth is made from stuff I have found, except some cast off bits given to me by family and neighbours. I've dyed the cloth using stuff we've found, too- berries, leaves, walnuts, washers for shibori dots, a segment of copper sheeting. The thread is mostly single strands of bamboo yarn, waxed with plain beeswax. This update is about how I've chosen to represent pollinator food- you'll recognize Jude's stitches from Heart Whispering below....


I have been working on representing pollen. While pollinators eat nectar, they rely on the nutrients in pollen for growth, to feed their offspring and to fight off disease.


And pollen comes in the most eccentric shapes. I'm particularly taken by the pollens with hooks- microscopic little curved rays that stick out of individual pollen grains. One of my favorite native plants, Cardinal Flower, produces such wonderfully shaped pollen.


My fascination with these spiny pollens aside, pollinators require a diversity of types of pollen- they are malnourished if they don't have that diversity. So lots of different kinds of pollen are getting worked in too.


These are Jude's thread beads, and at first I was making them as a mass of little bits of pollen, but then I started to think they look like the little clusters of honey pots that the social bumblebees build as food for their offspring. So I'm going to make more of these little clusters here and there.



A note, also, on colours. As far as I have read, bees and hornets and wasps don't see colour, and in particular don't see red. On the other hand, most pollinators can see light in the ultraviolet spectrum. This means that there is stuff in the world, in the garden, that they see that we don't.

The spectacular thing about this- wondrous even- is that many plants produce flowers marked with ultraviolet reflective and absorbent compounds, producing patterns and markings that only the bees can see. So I'm working on this idea, too.

12 comments:

  1. magnificent. so much great info as well. i just love the color palette and must try that honeycomb stitch you do.

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  2. Any pollinator should feel honored to visit THIS garden...

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  3. Very wonderful. Loved the concept but the actual is even better. Embroidered bits are great.

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  4. This is becoming such a beautiful homage to the industrious bee and a credit to you.......so beautiful.

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  5. wendy---this is just glorious --i'm with deanna on the luscious color palette---& the fascinating information --your love is so clear--

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  6. Spectacular. I am in awe of this piece. You inspire me!

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  7. Oh my! This is exquisite...the concept and the ~ so beautiful ~ work.

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  8. this is beyond beautiful... concept conception and finale!

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  9. This is incredibly complex and beautiful - and I love the colors. :-)

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  10. Oh my God, my head is reeling - so fantastic. I used to be a beekeeper, and maybe you are one too - you totally get it!

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  11. Just discovered your blog and I'm inspired and fascinated with all you do and collect and then stitch back together. I tried to find an e-mail address for you so I could ask you several things. First, may I share you and your blog and work with my high school art/crafts students? And secondly, I'm very interested in purchasing, if it is indeed for sale, "Foraging-Scapes". I just adore it! Love the color palette, the sensitivity in your stitching and placement of shapes and edges, and I would love to be able to show it to my students since I'm trying to keep stitching alive with my young ones. Look forward to hearing back from you.
    Deb at dartisun@gmail.com
    Also see my students work at www.artisun.blogspot.com

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