Hi Bonnee! What brought you to found Florabundance, and can you tell us more about your practice as an artist?
I have been a landscape painter for many years since my training in art school. I happen to love being out of doors, and am constantly in awe of Nature, so that was an easy choice for me. I also am an avid gardener, having owned a flower shop and nursery for many years.
Given those factors, when I happened upon the magical process of Botanical Printing, or Eco Printing, I fell immediately in love.
It clearly combines all of my favorite things, and I was quick to learn as much as I could by experimenting and bringing my own experience and ideas to the table.
I then made the decision to leave my office job, and throw myself into art full time. That was the greatest decision I could've made, and one that has changed my life for the better. Doing something that makes me happy and that I believe in is an absolute game changer for me!
Can you tell us more about eco-printing as a practice and a process?
Engaging with the natural world has always been very important to me, and I love to be immersed in Nature. Eco Printing is the combination of all of these ideas. For those unfamiliar with the medium, it is the art of imprinting fabric with images of flowers and leaves using the natural tannins, pigments and acids present in nature.
It is an all-natural process, and it is done by using local plants from my own garden and other local farms. I also incorporate natural dyes from plants in the process. For me, the most joyful aspect of creating Eco Prints, is knowing that I have only a certain amount of control over the outcome of the art. In many ways, each and every piece is a marvelous surprise and a gift from Nature that can never be duplicated in the exact same way. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art with its own subtleties of form and color.
How do you pick what plants and flowers you choose to work with?
Due to the actual Eco Printing process, it is important to use plants and flowers that are high in acids and tannins. It is a fascinating fact that leaves and flowers can vary in their tannins based upon the time of year, (Summer and Autumn having the highest tannins), how much water and sun that particular plant receives, and many other factors. That is what makes each piece I create one-of-a-kind, as the 'chemical reaction' between the plants and the fibers are never the same.
Which botanical is your favorite to work with?
Such a tricky question to answer, how does one decide?! I probably will have to say that ferns, of all varieties tend to be my favorite, though I will need to mention Eucalyptus, Geranium, Sumac, rose leaves, the list goes on...
We met you at a Farmhouse Project market where our booths were next to each other. What's your favorite market to sell or shop at?
I love all local markets, and choose the places I sell at carefully with regard to what company or individual is sponsoring it. I am very aware of how it is marketed, the professionalism of the people organizing it, location, how well attended it is, and who the other vendors are. I prefer juried art shows, makers fairs, and especially love having a booth at Farmers Markets. I also choose the markets I shop at myself with the same set of standards. Because of my own career path, I am very tuned in to supporting other local artists, and do so at any opportunity I am given!
Last Question: What's your favorite spot for experiencing nature in the region?
So many beautiful places in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, the Berkshires, and where I live in Connecticut.
Hortus Arboretum, Bard College campus. Olana, Thomas Cole Historical Site, and so many more. Honestly though, my own property alongside a river, and just about any place I can pull over the side of the road, will present itself with more plant material than I can gather and use in a season!