Endless creative opportunities with this recent find. Amphilophium paniculatum is the scientific name of the ligneous vine bearing this beautiful seed pod. Here the local kids call them ‘barquitos’ which means ‘little boats’ as they float in the water. Once the pods dry up about 100 seeds per pod are dispersed to start all over again! Still so much to discover here in the jungle!

 

This composition is made up of seeds gathered from the native trees and plants around the reserve. Arranged on a table of thick white slate, these potential offsprings lie. In order to open the pods you need a rock or a hammer. Designed for survival and to withstand all the elements. I look to nature as my example.

Nature is my catalyst for creativity. Alone, the lichen covered stone is a masterpiece. Then, I add some filters, manipulate it a bit and you have a mysterious image. A satellite image of land, lakes, and vegetation on Earth? An image from NASA of an exoplanet? Caribbean beaches pocked with orange umbrellas? What do you see? What an intricate texture for a piece of stained glass or a dope pattern for a pair of leggings!

These photos are just a few of the mushrooms I encountered while walking through Villa Monte Reserve. Mushrooms are merely the fruit that is born from a much larger organism called mycelium. They are the oldest and largest organisms in the world and have survived multiple catastrophic and massive extinctions in Earth’s history. This is due in part by their intelligent and intricate ability to adapt, evolve and share information! From cleaning toxic spills to curing diseases, these complex organisms are critical for our survival. Mushrooms aren’t just for making champignons á la créme! There are only a fraction of mushrooms identified and scientists believe there are millions more unidentified species!  If you are also fascinated, check out Paul Stamets, the mushroom guru.

 

Plantain is a relative of the banana and member of the Musa genus. The flower is made up of layer upon layer of pedals. Within each layer lies smaller flowers that eventually turn into the fruit, plantain. What’s more, the flower alone is rich in flavonoids, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, to name a few, and is eaten by many all over the world.  Whether a banana flower stir fry or eaten raw in salad, it can surely add an exotic element to any dish as well as some color! Read more… For me it was an opportunity to do some ‘land art’!

 

From watercolor to stained glass window.

When I start a design for a stained glass, I typically make a watercolor rendition first. This is an example of a window I made in Salta, Argentina. For the finished stained glass I chose to use a brighter blue and changed a bit the composition, but you see the idea.

Nature’s gallery…

Like a snowflake, none the same. But they do have something in common besides all being stones. Like distant relatives, they lay with their distinct form, design and mineral makeup. To a geologist they hold clues about ancient civilizations and the earth.  To me it is art! All in all, fascinating…