Friday, November 6, 2015

We're All Ears :: November Inspiration

Papilionaceae seed pods

The last weekend in October found me winding my way along the coast of Lake Michigan to the sleepy little tourist town of South Haven for the 5th annual Inspired by Nature retreat hosted by Heather Powers. This year the theme was inspired by the forest floor. One of the things we did was investigate the unique shapes of seed pods.

We were given instruction on replicating different species of pods and then painting them. Mine turned out quite alien looking, but they really do resemble something that is not of this world!

Mahogany tree seed pod

So I went in search of some more inspiration, and found that in the form of vintage botanical illustrations. This art depicts the form, color, and details of plant species, frequently in pen and ink or watercolor paintings. They were frequently published in books, magazines devoted to their study, and seed catalogs. I would dearly love to unearth a vintage book or magazine devoted to this commonplace art! I find it fascinating.

Seed annual, 1908
So this month, I thought we could honor the seed pods that might be all about us. It really has made me stop and search for these tiny treasures! Since the illustrations don't really have much in the way of color, my hope is that you will focus on the form of the pods, and let their shape be your guide for your creations. It will be fascinating to see where this one takes you!

Join me for the We're All Ears reveal on
Friday, November 20th!


  1. Interesting post & lovely sketches ... takes me back to my Botany sketching & foraging days :-)
    I think my Star Anise Studs would kind of fit this unique theme !
    Looking forward to your unveiling

  2. Great inspiration as always Erin. These vintage botanical illustrations are amazing. So much detail. I can't wait to see what you and all other participants create. I will dive in my bead stash as well :-)

  3. Great theme! I hope I can get something in this month! Love anything Ocean! And seed pods too- very inspiring! Thank you Erin!