Our physical store is more than a tea shop, it’s a place to explore, to inspire curiosity in plants (tea in particular), and a place of calm wonder. And it is with great pleasure that five years after opening I’ve finally added the next piece to the experience, a series of botanical paintings of threatened native plants.
Curating the Space
When first imagining the shop (and quite frankly feeling quite overwhelmed) one of my friends gave me the best advice — just approach it like you would any exhibit or room sized installation.
Taking it to heart, I turned my artist eye to the shop. I stopped thinking in terms of maximizing shelf space and ROI’s, but instead how it would feel to come into the shop and the environment I was trying to create.
When a customer told me that coming in the shop was like taking a walk in the woods at dawn… that, well. I’m tearing up just thinking about it. That’s it. Right there. That feeling. Wonder, calm, curiosity, solace.
I’ve hosted my own work in the space before, but this particular series feels in tune with the shop so completely. I’m pleased to announce its addition to the space. Currently they are not for sale, but I do have prints of select tiles available. I can also create a similar piece for you space upon request based on a plant that speaks to your story. Just reach out via my portfolio site to arrange a commission.
So without further ado, here is a deeper look at the works.
En. Specimens 01 & 02
En. is an immersive study of a single plant specimen slide. A meditation, an indulgence in a native plant that has threatened status. It’s not endangered yet, but our actions now will determine if it tips to endangered or stable. During the last decade more species of plants have faded away than in the entirety of my grandmother’s lifetime. And as new species thrive and others go extinct, what is our role going forward? For me, these paintings create a pause for us to consider their fate, our fate.
The specimen slides were provided by the Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL through their digital archive program. The Morton Arboretum is a 1700 acres living museum representing 4300 taxa from around the world. Their specimen vaults house plants native to the Chicago land area — where I attended university.
Come visit the shop next time your in town to see the works in person, or visit my online portfolio to see details of this and other works. I’ll be posting a video of install + detail shots of the panels next week.
Until next time…
Kristin M Roach