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My Creative Process--From Eucalyptus Care Package to a New Collection

How does your creative process work? I think I’ve just kind of arrived at mine somewhat organically through the years. Art is funny like that. I’ve always been a collector – and my continued collecting fuels my art. I also have some great friends, family members, and customers who find botanicals all over the place and pick them up and send them my way. These boxes of treasures on my doorstep always make my day. My friend Jane sent me some great leaves and pods from eucalyptus trees recently (ok, I’ve had them for a while, read on…). These unique plants have parts that are so different from the native vegetation here in the Pacific Northwest. One of the cool things about these ‘new’ plant parts is that they are different from what I am used to – and I think it is those differences in forms, shapes, textures that intrigue me. The old internet taught me that there are over 700 species of eucalyptus, and many have evolved to survive wildfires. One cool thing I learned is that the buds on some eucalyptus have an operculum (this is also what the gill cover in a fish is called). In the plant, this operculum is formed by a fusing of the sepals (bud scales). This stout cover/cap provides protection for the developing stamens and pollen-bearing anthers inside the flower. Then, when the plant is ready to reproduce – the cap slides off – and the pollen is released to (maybe) find its way to the female part of a flower (the pistil - and on down through the stigma to the ovary). Plant sex, hmmmm.

Sorry, got a little sidetracked with all the plant sex thoughts. Back to my creative process… So, if you’ve stayed with me this far, I’ll try to save you some time by going with a list of the general steps I progress through in my creative process. Here goes...

1. Collect – or receive from other kind people who have collected. For me – this is usually botanicals, but also includes seaweeds, corals, shells, bones, other flotsam that catches my eye.

2. Organize the items on trays in the studio. I use old lunch trays, like you may have had if you were lucky enough (?) to eat in a cafeteria at some point.