LESSONS FROM THE CREOSOTE BUSH

As a kid growing up in a village in England, I learned about plants from my everyday life and the people around me. We were surrounded by farms; we grew a lot of our own fruit and vegetables; I learned at a young age which wild berries were safe to eat and which to avoid; and if I accidentally brushed by some stinging nettles, I used a dock leaf to relieve the sting.

 

One of the most unexpected joys I’ve experienced living in the desert is the opportunity to reconnect with plants. Soon after moving to Joshua Tree in 2016, I began to notice the creosote bush all around me. Larrea Tridentata is one of the most widespread and resilient desert plants in North America. As Mary Austin wrote in 1903, "the desert begins with the creosote."

 

I became fascinated with the plant - first observing it, then drawing it, and then learning about its botanical and healing properties. The more I learned about the creosote bush, the more I realized I was learning about what it takes to survive in the desert, and perhaps survive more generally.

 

In November 2019 I completed this set of cards for the 20/20 Oracle Show at La Matadora gallery in Joshua Tree. Each card has a botanical detail on one side and a life lesson on the reverse.

This project is inspired by adrienne marie brown's notion of "Emergent Strategy" – that complex patterns and systems of change can be built through an accumulation of relatively small but intentional shifts in ways of thinking any being: "The whole is the mirror of the parts. Existence is fractal – the health of the cell is the health of the species and the planet."

This collection of cards is an offering to others of what this signature desert plant has taught me.

Lessons from the Creosote Bush

Lessons from the Creosote Bush

Image on one side, and a botanical detail with life lesson on the reverse. 14 cards, 4.25" x 5.5" Risograph printed in three colors on acid-free linen cardstock Edition of 50 SOLD OUT I have a small number of "seconds" sets available (1 or 2 cards have slight variations of ink quality) for $10