I know you take pictures of your flowers, but did you ever consider scanning them? Yes, with the scanner that sits on your desk. I tried it back in 2007 but never did much with it. My friend and fellow ACNARGS* member Craig Cramer found it to be “the medium that would combine [his] love for art, gardening, and technology.”
On his blog Ellis Hollow, Craig would post scanned images of his flowers for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. I learned through Facebook that Cornell was hosting an exhibit of Craig’s and Ellen Hovercamps’s work, plus some students’ work. (They actually have a class called The Art of Horticulture which “helps students from all disciplines consider plants as the subject of art, as well as a material and artform.” Imagine that!)
Sweep of Light, the exhibit at Cornell’s Mann Library, ends on March 31st, so I knew if I was going to see it, I had to act fast. This past weekend the roads were clear and so were the skies, so I bundled up and drove over there. The images that follow were taken with my phone. I apologize for the glare (and my reflection in some of them), but they should give you an idea of what’s possible with this technique. I included the artist’s description of each image in the caption.
Craig especially wanted me to see this image.
I sent Craig some colchicums over a decade ago, and now they are part of an art exhibit!
Yes, I collect colchicums, but I also have a great fondness for narcissus, so the following two images were special favorites.
You may have noticed that some of Craig’s images are sliced and diced to the point where the plants become abstract shapes and patterns. Craig describes how he manipulates the images here.
To make these images, you can’t use the lid of your scanner. Craig uses a black cloth draped over the scanner, while Ellen Hovercamp scans in a darkened room. Perhaps that’s why her scans seem to look even more three-dimensional than Craig’s.
My photos were pretty lousy, so I encourage you to go to each of the artists’ websites to see much better images of their work.
Most of Craig’s images are still up on his blog, and I linked the title of each image to the blog post it was featured in. You can see all of Craig’s scans here. And check out this video, where Craig describes his artistic development and also showcases some of the student work:
*ACNARGS stands for Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society, which meets in the Finger Lakes region (Ithaca), not the Adirondacks.