Plants in Art, Word, and Healing
Plants invite us into relationships. Relationships invite us into health. This program explores plant arts in contexts that support healing. Specifically, we will explore and cultivate skills related to (1) plant drawing and plant morphology; (2) creating color with plants as natural dyes; (3) poetry and its connections with plants, color, and healing –– tangibly and metaphorically –– including writing and revising our own poetry as well as reading, analysis, and critique of environmental poetry of place; and (4) botanical medicine through the lenses of body systems, medicine-making, and cultural perspectives on healing. These areas will be woven together through consideration of the relationships they foster –– relationships with each other, with the natural world of which we are part, and with ourselves. Activities will include lectures and workshops on the nature of relationship; plant parts (morphology) and how to see and draw them; basic methods for dyeing with plants; selected body systems, relevant medicinal plants, and medicine-making techniques; and the craft of literary arts –– especially, poetry and spoken word –– using plants as texts, creating and revising free verse and formal patterned poems symmetrical to patterns in nature, and practicing literary techniques to heighten tension and deepen meaning in poetic works. We will also perform our poems at community poetry events, and engage with the Longhouse Ethnobotanical Garden website to post our poetry. Students will select one of the areas described above for a final project that –– among other possibilities including plant drawing, dyeing, medicine-making or cultural traditions of healing –– could consist of a collaborative poetry chapbook that includes research, presentation, and an explicit linking to the broader concepts of relationship and healing.
Course Reference Numbers
education, environmental education, writing, botany, botanical medicine, health, community development, cultural diversity, visual arts, fiber arts
$65 for workshop supplies and performance entrance fees
Wednesday evenings 5:30-9:30, Alternate Saturdays 9:30-5:30 (Jan 12, 26, Feb 9, 23, Mar 9, 16) plus One Thursday evening 6-9 p.m. for a community-based poetry field trip (this event is strongly encouraged, however, an alternate assignment will be available for those who cannot attend).