Screenprints for Terminology and Identification

I had my Serigraphy students do a print exchange for the last project of the course. It had to be on 11 x 15 inch paper, at least 4 layers of printing and the theme was open. I participated (so I could receive their amazing work!) and I used it as an opportunity to try out some more ideas for the terminology work. 

Terminology Continued

Here are some more sketches for the terminology and identification series. I'm sorting out how to deal with the text. I'm looking forward to making some screenprints, digital prints and eventually some hand-colored etchings based on this idea.



My seedlings turned into this (images below). I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these, but since I've incorporated root structures into so many drawings of mine before, I thought I should observe some real little roots up-close and personal. They are so gorgeous. I had to pull the plates from the growing room when they started to show mold... I'm sure I contaminated the heck out of the sample with my nose right in it:

Identification and Terminology

I've been thinking a lot about the difference between the way the scientists are using language and the way we artists use language. In science, specificity and consistency are really important. Everyone has a stake in learning the correct terms for everything and using them whenever possible. Also, the terminology changes very little if at all over time. In art, we use language in a more vague way. Terminology changes relatively quickly, taking into account cultural, social and political awareness. Each artist uses language in personal and varying ways, and often we leave things vague on purpose, prioritizing individuality and personality over communal understanding. I've always been interested in the challenges of communication, the limitations of language, the power of imagery.

Dissecting Plants

Today, Clay and Jesus let me watch them prepare some plants for a process where they calculate the angle of leaf growth off the stem. The way they isolate the individual leaves and put them through a program that cuts away the negative space reflects my own interests in pictorial space. 


Little Drawings

These drawings were made with ink, gouache and watercolor and using as reference photographs I took in the UW Botany Greenhouse. They are all 4x4 inches, inspired by the size and format of the plastic growing plates in the lab.


Biology 101 at 41

Grad student Amy Lanctot and Undergrad Manraj Sahota taught me how to sow some little Columbia strain seeds in plastic trays. After desperately pounding on the growing medium with my pipette and letting out either no seeds or a big pile of seeds (not the goal) and completely contaminating the sterile booth with my poor techniques, I finally got the hang of the gentle tap-out of one seed at a time. These scans are from Day 3:

Screenprinting NW Plants

Dr. Jennifer Nemhauser's Molecular Genetics of Plant Development class spent an afternoon collaboratively screenprinting with my Serigraphy class in the UW printmaking studios.

Nemhauser Biology Lab Artist Residency

I'll be spending Fridays in the Nemhauser Biology Lab at the University of Washington for a while. I will chronicle the stages of my involvement in this blog.


Arabidopsis is a member of the mustard (Brassicaceae) family, which includes cultivated species such as cabbage and radish. Arabidopsis is not of major agronomic significance, but it offers important advantages for basic research in genetics and molecular biology.