During 2017-18, I travelled overseas to study the early French botanical historical collections from Tasmania, which are held in European herbaria. My Churchill Fellowship was a very unique experience that has helped shaped the prints I now produce.
My Churchill Fellowship, to develop artwork and fabric design from European botanical collections of French expeditions to Tasmania, largely focused on accessing and examining the significant botanical and illustrative collections held in herbariums in France, Italy and the UK. These were collected by the naturalists aboard the d’Entrecasteaux and Baudin expeditions to Australia in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
I invite you to read my Churchill Fellowship Report.
This project had cross-cultural relevance, examining the interplay between art and science, and the significant and largely unexplored botanical legacy of the d’Entrecasteaux expedition.
Whilst viewing the herbarium specimens and various books in museums and libraries I felt a sense of the rich interconnectedness of the flow and linkages across cultures and the collection/curation of knowledge held so carefully over time.
The curators and scientists I met were interested in the story of Tasmanians’ engagement with their flora and the artistic use of it. My research fostered cross-cultural connections demonstrated through the relations built between myself, French, Italian and English scientists and institutions.
The significance of my research highlighted the notable historical and artistic resource represented by the large Australian collections of Labillardière, held at the Webb Herbarium in Florence.
Resulting designs will present Australian flora in a contemporary and international context. These products, with new hybrid cultural motifs, will continue dialogue and strengthen engagement between the two cultures. They will also democratise and make more visible, elements of the earliest collections, combining this with elements of my own, original etchings, drawings and plant pressings.
I have brought to life for others the considerable knowledge and experiences that I have gained over my Churchill Fellowship through film, storytelling, song, and fabric design and production. The resulting artwork and designs to fabric will evolve over time.
Featured image: A photo of a herbarium Type Specimen sheet collected by J.J.H. Labillardiere, from the Webb Herbarium, Florence.