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Paintings of Wild Plants, Medicinal Herbs, and Plant Folklore

 

Growing in the cracks of sidewalks, along roads, in between train tracks, and in the carefully tended gardens of our grandmothers, grow plants with whom our ancestors had relationships.

 

They gave them names based on what they observed about them; coffeeweed, scotchbriar, white man’s footprint, and bloodwort are a few. They boiled them into teas, applied them to wounds and rashes, added them to stews, placed poultices on the chests of sick children, and learned which plants were helpers.

 

Our ancestors recognized the significance of these “weeds” and wildflowers, understanding how they signaled the health of the land and marked the passage of seasons. This deep relationship with plants is echoed in the songs and poetry of cultures worldwide.

 

Yet, in modern times, our attention is often elsewhere. For many of us, simply identifying a wildflower is a challenge. I, too, once overlooked the resilient plants pushing through neglected soil, dismissing them as signs of forgotten spaces.

 

Now, I find myself captivated by these overlooked plants. I paint them, finding beauty and mystery in their forms. As I paint, I am not only identifying them but delving into their stories and sharing them through my art. In doing so, I honor our ancestors’ wisdom, passing their knowledge on in the best way I know how.

 

 

- Margaret Shipman

 

I'm the co-creator of the Wayfarer Tarot and collaborating on a second deck to be released soon.

Margaret Shipman CV

Press:

Brattleboro Reformer, September 2020, Adding Something Different, Kris Radder

Vermont Winter Vacation Guide 2017, Love Where You Live

The Commons, February 24, 2016, Drawing a Crowd, Richard Henke

The Commons, February 10, 2016, Shipman Paintings on Display at Amy's

Southern Vermont Art & Living, Winter 2013 - 2014, The Art/Life Balance, Arlene Distler

 

Photo by Kris Radder of the Brattleboro

photo by Kris Radder of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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Underpinning my art is the need to establish a connection with the land. 

 

I'm seeking to understand the workings of the ecology of the landscape as well as human history with nature. 

 

My paintings are of wild plants, herbs, and pollinators. They are also about folklore and the interrelationship between nature and humans. Small bits of wisdom, poetry, and practical advice are written among the busy-ness of my designs.

 

Respect for the interconnectedness of the natural world as well as our own relationship with it is important to my own journey, and grows for me with every painting.

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