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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Wendland, Amy [1], McCauley, Ross [2].

Drawing on a scientific legacy: repurposing discarded herbarium specimens as art.

Herbaria and the specimens they contain provide a wealth of information for research and teaching of plant biodiversity. But what does a curator do when faced with piles of scientifically useless specimens? A Sambucus with nothing but the name “purslane” scribbled on the sheet? Cirsium vulgare haphazardly taped above a label with no collection data? During a recent reorganization and move of the herbarium at Fort Lewis College, we uncovered numerous such mounted specimens. Some could easily be used for teaching and dissection and were added to the teaching collection. But realistically how many shriveled dandelion specimens will students use? And how much space should you commit to these? Reluctantly a number were bound for the garbage. But one person’s scientifically invalid trash is another person’s treasure, and thus began a unique collaboration between botany and art. Repurposed herbarium samples form the substrate for a series of contemporary artworks that investigate tensions between seemingly contradictory realms: technical representation and creative interpretation, scientific accuracy and cultural symbolism. Using a mixture of techniques and materials including watercolor, colored pencil, graphite, ink, acrylic paint, cut paper, gold leaf and pyrography, this art series creates works illustrating a botanical marriage of the objective and subjective, the fanciful and the factual and shows how herbaria can be a source of inspiration to not only the scientist but also the artist.

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1 - Fort Lewis College, Department of Art & Design, 1000 Rim Dr., Durango, CO, 81301, USA
2 - Fort Lewis College, Department Of Biology, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango, CO, 81301, United States

Botanical Art.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Education and Outreach Poster Section
Location: Grand Ballroom - Exhibit Hall/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PEO001
Abstract ID:181
Candidate for Awards:None

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