Art with Invasive Species

It’s not entirely fair to call forsythia an invasive species, but it certainly fits the “abundant” category. I’ve offered to prune the forsythia at the Unitarian Church and a friend said: what will you make from it?

So I have googled “art forsythia” several times now and come up with lovely little water colour paintings and how kids can make paintings by blowing brown paint, dabbing yellow with corks and then adding tissue paper. (switch to pink and you’ve got cherry blossoms!)

So today thought, maybe if I just google “art invasive species” I’ll come up with some new ideas in general and then try it out with the forsythia.  (Note to self: next year, prune early and let people have some forced yellow blooms in doors so they have a purpose. Then they may even root if they want a plant themselves.) Along the way I also learned that forsythia is a Chinese medicine product, although nothing I found indicated how or if I could make my own concoction.

I didn’t find what I wanted, but… found some interesting things.

Do you do printmaking? papermaking?  Try this one:

Seth Goldstein: With my wife Paula Stone, I create sculptures out of Oriental Bittersweet, a non-native invasive vine which we cut down from trees on county parkland. Images of Omar the Camel, and Dude are shown.


“One day I was pulling a weed, and I realized there was a little grain of hostility there toward this invasive plant,” said Washington, D.C., artist, Patterson Clark, in an interview with National Public Radio. “And I stopped and thought: I don’t want to be this way in nature. I don’t want to be in an adversarial mode when I’m in nature. How can I change my attitude to make this more of a positive experience? And the word ‘harvest’ came to mind.” Patterson shifted his perspective and began turning weeds into resources – brushes, inks, and even paper.

Turns out Patterson is alienweeds (see above) and was given the first F.E.A.S.T. (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) award. The VisArts Exhibitions Staff honored Clark with his award as well as a straw-fiber F.E.A.S.T. sash.  Clark invited guests, volunteer weed pullers, and interested members to an introductory class that he will be teaching  called Prospecting for Materials from Invasive Plants,

Is this where Vancouver’s East Feast evolved? or a coincidence?

(Love acronyms!)

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