207: Botanical Arts

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In this captivating division, artists craft jewelry, fish, valentines, and ball gowns using dried plant material!


Botanical Arts, Couture, Class 1 - Jewels of the Sea

Botanical Arts, Jewelry, Class 1 - Jewels of the Sea


In this gallery the Botanical Arts division features Jewels of the Sea—necklaces inspired by the mystery of our planet’s deep blue waters.  These exquisite treasurers will fool your eye!  Designers use only natural dried plant material, such as peas, mustard seeds, cactus branches, vines, twigs, nuts, and orange rinds to create wearable-size jewelry that also appears functional.  Important structural materials, such as wire, cardboard, glue, and string, known as “mechanics,” must not be visible.  And while plant material is assembled to create desired shapes, carving wood into figural forms is prohibited in Botanical Arts.  Each exhibit is judged on design, craftsmanship, originality, interpretation of theme, and distinction.

Botanical Arts, Jewelry, Class 2 - Sea Creatures

Botanical Arts, Jewelry, Class 2 - Sea Creatures


The Botanical Jewelry-Sea Creatures class delivers mind-boggling wearable pins depicting a real or imagined sea creature! Each exhibit is made of dried natural plant material including flowers, foliage, seeds, pods, nuts (in or out of shells), vegetables, twigs, vines, reeds, etc.  Look each exhibit’s sample card to see the natural untreated plant material.  Additionally, observe the common and botanical names for each plant!  And finally, surface treatments hold an extremely important place in Botanical Arts.  Surfaces are often treated with paint, nail polish, varnish, and wax.  Note, locally invasive plant material and processed products, such as couscous, pasta, tapioca, and balsa wood may not be used.    

Fish, Gowns, and Valentines all started with one of these forms.
Botanical Arts, Embellishment, Class 3 - Schooling Around

Botanical Arts, Embellishment, Class 3 - Schooling Around

The Schooling Around class displays 8” wooden fish carefully embellished with dried plant material such as Brazil nuts, peas, and slender reeds dried and twisted into a new life.  A favorite technique of Botanical artists is to soak reeds then shape them around dowels to create curls which can later be cut in to fish scale rings.  These designs are intended to be viewed from all sides and the artist may even embellish the wooden dowel stand if she chooses.   

Botanical Arts, Embellishment, Class 4 - Sea of Love

Botanical Arts, Embellishment, Class 4 - Sea of Love

Love is in the air with these awe-inspiring sailor’s valentines in this Botanical Arts Sea of Love class.  Here exhibitors embellish wooden hexagon shadow boxes measuring 5” on each side and interior dimensions of approximately 7” x 81⁄4”.  Artists use only dried plant material such as nuts, twigs, seeds, and vines, complemented with surface treatments like paint and polish to create expressions of love.  And the tools used by botanical artists, remain intriguing.  An artist’s toolbox often includes angle-tipped tweezers, lighted magnifying glasses, and box-cutter knives. 

Botanical Arts, Couture, Class 5 - Neptune's Ball

Botanical Arts, Couture, Class 5 - Neptune's Ball

The couture gowns of Neptune’s Ball bestow a special treat on you—a dance with the god of the Sea! Using an array of natural elements suitable for a mythological gala, exhibitors craft gowns using dried plant material such as broad leaves, corn husks, pistachio shells, hibiscus seeds, curled stems, braided raffia, and dehydrated mushrooms.