02 march 2019

Juggling all of one’s interests can be quite overwhelming at times. Perhaps this is an artist’s issue, or the issue of an overly curious (shall I say intellectually insatiable?) individual. At 24 years old, I am young. Give me another 10 years, and I will still be young. Another 20 years? Young! How much, I ask myself, can I learn in this amount of time? How much can I experience?

As an undergraduate student working on my thesis a few years back, I could not decide between art and science. Even within science, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to focus on food crops, medicinal plants, recreational crops, or ornamental. I couldn’t decide between folklore and biochemistry. I studied them all. I often spread myself thin, and I often feel like I can’t focus on one project because there are just too many projects I want to work on.

Well, so be it. It’s how I am.

Food to medicine, fiber to dye, I have to follow my curiosity. I do hope to write here with more articulation and reflective thought. Right now, I need to flip through my old Biology of Plants text book to remind myself of long-forgotten plant facts.

Lime (Citrus spp.)

Lime is a mysterious fruit. His name refers to many species within the genus Citrus, which is partly due to the genus’s ease in hybridizing. Species cross with others successfully and make new, often tasty, fruits. His place of origin is also still unclear, though he most likely was born in Indonesia or Southeast Asia before traveling westward in 1000 CE.

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Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis; Ranunculaceae)

A tried and true medicine as well as colorant, Goldenseal is believed to cure ailments as diverse as muscle spasms, infection, cancer, and more. Like many other wild medicinals, Goldenseal has become endangered, her populations never recovering from mid 19th century over harvesting. While it is now illegal to harvest this Buttercup cousin on public land, there is no control of the sale of herbal products made from this herb. Sources must be carefully vetted to ensure sustainability and respect, or one should avoid use altogether 🍃

16 feb 2019

No matter how passionate one is about a project, craft, or idea, it can be difficult to find justification in the energetic and emotional input such project, craft, or idea requires when the return is lacking. Of course, when we do things out of passion, it is often for our own sake and should not require the validation of others. But sometimes, it does.

Creativity ebbs and flows, but discipline must remain constant. I admit, the will to paint has been difficult to find lately. I question the purpose of the work I do when so few people seem to care (though I cherish the ones who have shown me such support).

If I cannot paint, then I will write. Book after book and experience upon experience, I am growing and learning. If no one is here to read my words, then at least I will articulate my thoughts and cement my ideas.

I do hope, however, that someone will read my words…

Turnip (Brassica rapa)

Turnip has been a popular root vegetable in Europe since prehistoric times. The Roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder even claimed that Turnip’s use “surpassed that of any other plant.” Though still cherished by some today, this has-been Brassica is not the star he used to be.

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Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea

Cauliflower, whose name literally means “Cabbage Flower,” belongs to the species Brassica oleracea along with Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, and others. A mathematician’s favorite vegetable, Cauliflower is known for his fractal dimensions most notable in Romanesco varieties.

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Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

Flesh-eating is not a behavior reserved for zombies and maggots – even sunshiny Pineapple can devour us. Pineapple is the only known plant to produce the protein-digesting chemical bromelain. Every time your mouth burns from Pineapple’s exquisite juices, it’s him eating you back!

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     I’m well aware that, at this stage in my career, this website has very little traffic. The art I make and the books I read are my world, however, and that is more than enough justification I need to write out the rambling thoughts I have.

      As someone who spends the majority of her waking hours lost in thought, I find it necessary to cement my mind’s abstractions in some way. Only when one can write clearly on a matter does one fully understand that matter, and that is why I need this outlet – so I can meld the things I learn and the thoughts I have together, but with clarity and precision.

      It is my intention for this to be a place for serious thought. If you know me, you probably know how important sense of humor is to me. I have lost far too much time to depression and anxious thinking to believe that we need to be serious all of the time. Yet, there is no denying that the world is sodden with cruelty and that countless lives have been spent in desolation and suffering. We all know this, and it seems we are reminded of it everywhere we look. Cruelty is an inevitable part of human nature, but that is never an excuse to stop striving for a better world. Improving our planet is no easy task; We must constantly educate ourselves and engage in productive rhetoric if we wish to see change.

      With all of that said, it is here where I will supplement my whimsical writing of herbs and vegetables with the heavy-handed writing. Agriculture has a rich history of heirloom varieties, self-sustenance, and summertime meditations. Yet far more prominent are its associations with slavery, serfdom, and soil exhaustion. Industrial agriculture is a curse that scourges the laborers who toil away for meager wages, the animals whose entire confined lives are spent wallowing in excrement, and the wild squashes and sunflowers who are slipping into the cracks of genetic erosion.

      Food has always been inseparable from politics. Monocultures have always existed, running the soil barren until famine inevitably strikes. Now, these issues are compounded with the heavy use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that poison our waterways, our soil, and our children. Mechanization has exacerbated the habitat loss and fragmentation caused by farming,  proving to be a death sentence for our planet’s astounding biodiversity.

     Under my whit and sarcasm, my heart is always heavy with thoughts of those victimized by industrialized agriculture – human, animal, and plant alike.