Artwork > Vienna Dioscorides

My recent series, entitled the Vienna Dioscorides, explores my interest in plants, their relationship to our health, and the importance of growing and consuming diverse crops and plant-based foods. Research into the historical role of plants’ medicinal and nutritional properties, brought me to the fountainhead of herbals; the Greek pharmacopoeia written by Dioscorides in c. 65 AD. Dioscorides’ text was considered the authority on medicinal plants for over 1500 years.

The original Vienna Dioscorides herbal (512 AD) contains the oldest surviving complete manuscript of Dioscorides’ pharmacopoeia. Several of the nearly 400 paintings of plants depicted in the Vienna Dioscorides are still known to us today. These plants create a connection to this ancient text, linking past to present. These paintings are the inspiration for my free-motion embroidered drawings. I reflect on the intricacies found within a single plant and the essential properties each plant contributes to the whole, while ruminating on the importance of maintaining diversity, not only for individual health, but healthy communities and ecosystems.

This series recontextualizes the historic role of a needlework sampler. Rather than collect and preserve stitches and patterns, I preserve the ancient medicinal plants of Dioscorides. I use thread, translucent organza, and a sewing machine to create ethereal plant portraits. Floating away from the wall, they cast a secondary shadow drawing.

Dragon Arum
Thread & Organza
12.75" x 12"
2018
Tree House Leek
Thread & Organza
14.5” x 11.25”
2018
Wild Parsnip
Thread & Organza
14" x 9.13"
2018
Sweet Violet
Thread & Organza
13.75" x 11"
2018
Chaste Tree
Thread & Organza
14.5" x 11.25"
2018
Caraway
Thread & Organza
14.75" x 10.75"
2018
Turnip
Thread & Organza
13" x 11.25"
2017
Wooly Blackberry
Thread & Organza
14.5" x 11.5"
2017
Rosemary
Thread & Organza
14.25 x 10.5
2017
Lemon Balm
Thread & Organza
13.25" x 11.5"
2017
European Wild Ginger
Thread & Organza
11" x 12.5"
2017
Wild Carrot
Thread & Organza
14.25" x 11"
2017
Lettuce
Thread & Organza
11.5" x 11"
2017
Arugula
Thread & Organza
12" x 11.5"
2017
Sweet Basil
Thread & Organza
13.5" x 11"
2017
Wild Cabbage
Thread & Organza
13.5" x 11.25"
2017
Celery
Thread & Organza
14.25" x 11.75"
2017
Dill
Thread & Organza
14" x 11.5"
2017
Spearmint
Thread & Organza
14.75" x 11.75"
2017
Garlic
Thread & Organza
13.5" x 11.75"
2017
White Mustard
Thread & Organza
14" x 10"
2017
Fava Bean
Thread & Organza
14.25" x 9.5"
2017
Giant Fennel
Thread & Organza
15" x 12"
2017
Black Elderberry
Thread & Organza
13.5" x 11.5"
2017
Coriander
Thread & Organza
13.5" x 10.5"
2017
Cumin
Thread & Organza
14" x 11.5"
2017
Chickpea
Thread & Organza
13.25" x 11"
2017
Common Purslane
Thread & Organza
12" x 11"
2017
Radish
Thread & Organza
13.5" x 10"
2017
Creeping Thyme
Thread & Organza
13.5" x 11"
2017
Leek
Thread & Organza
13.75" x 8"
2017
Castor Bean
Thread & Organza
13" x 11"
2016
Sea Orache
Thread & Organza
13.75" 11.5"
2016
Purple Nut Sedge
Thread & Organza
13.5" X 9"
2016
Bearded Iris
Thread & Organza
14" x 10.5"
2016
Yarrow
Thread & Organza
14" x 10.75"
2016
Wild Arum
Thread & Organza
12.75" x 10.75"
2016
Wormwood
Thread & Organza
13" x 9.5"
2016
Cowpea
Thread & Organza
12.75" x 10.5"
2016