A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April is All Things Botanical Month

Antique botanical illustration
 Well, it's "All Things Botanical" Month on the "...And Then We Set It on Fire" blog. I am Cris Winters, artist in residence on this blog for the month of April 2016. How lucky am I to be part of this beautiful, delicious surface design blog???!!! Just to let you know who I am and how I got here, I was asked last year to participate by Beth Berman. We had exchanged messages on this blog and mine: crisniche.blogspot.com. I am also a fabric artist and love what happens here on the Fire Blog. But in addition, I am an ecologist with botany and ornithology expertise and experience. I have also been a serious gardener since my mom gave me my own little plot in our yard when I was eight years old. That was a Big Adventure to me, and it was the start of my passion for anything botanical, including drawing and painting plants in the style of scientific illustration.

"Grandpa Ott" morning glory - photo by Cris Winters
Yellow Foxglove - photo by Cris Winters

I know there are a lot of us fabric-and-surface-designy artists who include plants in many forms in our work. So much color, so much variety, so much great design straight from nature. I thought it would be fun this month to explore the many ways plants could be used in our artwork, not just as plant images but also as participants in the making of our art.
Butterflyweed - photo by Cris Winters

In addition, there are so many sources for those botanical images - old botany textbooks, dictionaries, and field guides, Arts and Crafts  and Art Nouveau designs, children's books, and much more. Use them as they appear (with copyright issues in mind) or send them to your photo editing program.

In my next post, I'll list some of the many topics I plan to cover this month. As we go forward together on this topic, I hope you'll send me your experiences of working with botanical materials and images.

William Morris design
Illustration from "Elements of Botany"


  1. Looking forward to this month as I am a HUGE fan of plants. One thing I do know is the illustration of the green sprouting is that it is a dicot. End of knowledge (smile). Looking forward to some yummy plants and flowers

  2. Hi Chris! Sounds like a great month here! Although I've always been an avid gardener and have a real appreciation for botanics, my latest obsession is eco-dyeing and printing using mostly local plants. I'm looking forward to your posts.

  3. I am looking forward to your next post that explains all we'll learn this month. Great topic! On another note, I love Butterfly Weed. It grew in Indiana where I grew up and I miss it now that I have moved to Maine.

  4. A wonderful theme! Looking forward to your posts :)

  5. oh goody! This should be fun! Spent a fun hour with my daughter pounding flowers and leaf into fabric many years ago. Made an impressive design she was very pleased with.

  6. I'm so glad you're all so excited about the botanical theme! I'll try to throw in some botanical tidbits as I go along. For now, Beth gets an A+ for knowing the bean is a dicot!!! Sorry I'm a bit slow to get going - back to normalish now ;-)


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