The Oak Spring Garden Foundation has made some of its collection available online via a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture. This will be of great interest to those (like me) who are enthusiastic about the history of botanical art.
The Foundation was created by Bunny Mellon who was one of the richest women in the world and who died in 2014 age 103. (Learn more about Bunny Mellon)
Oak Spring Farm was the former home of the Mellons and comprised a 4,000-acre estate, in Upperville, Virginia. The farm has now been sold along with other items from her estate
However, her prized collection of books, manuscripts and art on plants, gardens, and landscapes is now housed in The Oak Spring Garden Library within a 263-acre estate which helps to perpetuate her memory.
Oak Spring Garden Foundation on Google Arts & Culture
OSGF is dedicated to inspiring and facilitating scholarship and public dialogue on the history and future of plants, including the culture of gardens and landscapes and the importance of plants for human well-being.
The display on the Oak Spring Garden Foundation Page on Google Arts & Culture includes:
The first video Women Botanical Artists includes:
Women Artists Part 2 covers:
Research at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation
Beginning in January 2018 we are able to offer free overnight accommodation on the Oak Spring estate for bona fide scholars wishing to study material in the Oak Spring Garden Library collections. Since we are only able to accommodate a limited number of scholars at any given time, we will probably need to prioritize our visitors based on timing and topics.
If you'd like to visit, you can find the Oak Spring Garden Foundation at 1776 Loughborough Lane, Upperville, VA 20184, USA.
You need to send a brief proposal
I'm going to be back at RHS Hyde Hall in early August for the RHS Hyde Hall Flower Show - (3-6 August 2017). This year it has an expanded Artists’ Pavilion featuring more exhibitors - including Janie Pirie GM SBA
Botanical artists would be well advised to study the opportunities for exhibiting at the various RHS Flower Shows around the UK - but note that
Information for the RHS application form
Botanical artists can apply for a trade stand within the non-horticultural products category. There are a range of tradestand sizes available and all exhibits are under cover - so you don't need to invest in a tent etc.
This is the page which outlines how to apply for a tradestand
Artists who are new to the RGS Shows need to provide the following information:
In other words, they are looking for relevant and reputable businesses run by experienced and business-like people - who can provide added value for visitors to their shows.
These are NOT shows to go to and exhibit for the very first time - you need some experience in showing on your own elsewhere. Like anything else in life don't apply for and pitch for "the best" before you are ready.
If you want to get to Chelsea you need to first exhibit at another RHS Show and provide documentation of what your stand looked like and what you sold - which essentially means you have to go to the non-Chelsea show with a standard of artwork and display "as if" you are exhibiting at Chelsea - if you want to impress!
Note also that "doing a show" is not for the faint-hearted and you will need back-up and support to deliver a good display and service on your stand.
You also need to note that the non-horticultural category is very much over-subscribed and hence you need to be able to demonstrate high quality and some aspect of being different from everybody else.
Tradestand selection critiera
Understanding what you need to do to apply is only the first step. You then need to know and meet the standards expected of your trade stand in terms of selection and being able to apply again! Plus what items are not allowed and what needs special permission.
The manual (for the recent Chatsworth Flower Show in June 2017) states the following:
Tradestand selection criteria
There is also a Code of Conduct for all exhibitors which must be observed.
Plus they also rate all trade stands for the standard of exhibit presentation.
Botanical artists at RHS Flower Shows
Below are some of the botanical artists who have had trade stands at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. They include
Recovering now from the Chelsea Flower Show. It was such a successful show despite the economic and political nervousness. What a lovely crowd, cheerful, positive and enjoying the sunshine and beautiful gardens. Loved every minute despite the long hours and sheer exhaustion of it all. What a privilege to be there.
These are also artists whose work "sings out" from inside a booth to those walking up and down the pathways at a show. I know from having visited Chelsea during the show that a booth needs to be filled with original and colourful artwork to catch the eye of the very many visitors - and while you want to sell as much as you can, you also must not sell out fast and deplete your stand which needs to look good throughout the show!
It's actually very much akin to having a solo art exhibition if you want to make a profit on the cost of having a trade stand - which is not cheap!
How to apply
The details of how to apply to exhibit at an RHS Show are provided on the Tradestand Non-Horticultural Page
Botanical Art (Medal exhibition) - assessed by Picture Committee
Yesterday I saw what I think might be the best botanical wind sculpture I've ever seen.
RHS Hyde Hall in Essex has a Kinetic Sculpture of two seeds made by David Watkinson. Just watch my video below to see how it works (or watch the HD version on my YouTube Channel)
My Sculpture is often about form and movement, whether actual movement through space or implied. The Kinetic Sculpture may be delicately balanced on precision bearings, where small air currents cause large forms to tip and move in reaction, carving a path through space before returning to a balanced position.
The sycamore seeds move entirely on the basis of the direction and speed of the wind. The movement is assisted by the use of precision ball bearings and delicate weighting by the sculptor.
It is a joy to watch. I want a garden on a ridge and some wind and I'd be happy watching it for hours!
NOTE: RHS Hyde Hall is an expanding RHS Garden at Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8RA
The Botanical Artists of Canada are celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary with an exhibition of Native and Indigeous Plants. Last night was the Opening Reception.
Dates: July 5 to 26, 2017
Venue: Robert Langen Art Gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. The gallery is open: Monday - Friday 8.30am - 7pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am - to 5.30pm.
The exhibition aims to:
[I'm happy to add photos of the exhibition into this post if anybody would like to send me some.]
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-17
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