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Workshops, talk to explore crafting art out of invasive species
Friday, August 14, 2015

Workshops, talk to explore crafting art out of invasive species

How to create art out of unwanted plants will be described by Patterson Clark, a visual journalist and science graphics editor with The Washington Post, at a visiting artist presentation and workshop series he will give from Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 23 to 25.

Clark, who has a degree in biology from Hendrix College and an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts, creates artwork and illustrations using paper, ink and print substrates that he makes from harvests of invasive flora. He began making paper from fibers of English ivy, Rose of Sharon and garlic mustard.

Based in Washington, D.C., Clark creates prints inspired by postage stamps, feed sacks and currency using papers, inks, brushes and engraved printing-press blocks that are all derived from invasive species. Equipped with a permit and training from the National Park Service, Clark harvests most of his material from Whitehaven Park, near his home, and philosophizes that he will “measure my success by the scarcity of my materials.”

Clark, son of an Arkansas teacher-turned-botanist, began writing and illustrating a weekly natural history column, “Urban Jungle,” for The Washington Post 15 years ago. His skirmishes with invasive species were detailed in an NPR story, “The Art of War on Invasive Species,” in 2011.

The visiting artist lecture will be held Thursday, Sept. 24, 8:30 p.m., at McEwen Hall Room 209 and is free and open to the public.

Topics of individual workshops to be held at Rockefeller Art Center Print Studio at RAC Room 231 include:

  • Papermaking from invasive mulberry, Morus alba (white mulberry) -- plant identification, harvesting, bark preparation and cooking -- Wednesday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., limited to 12 students;
  • Continuation of papermaking from invasive mulberry, Morus alba (white mulberry) -- hand beating and paper formation of mulberry paper -- Thursday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
  • Papermaking from garlic mustard -- plant identification, discuss harvesting, cooking, beating with a Hollander beater and work on paper formation – Friday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., limited to 12 students.

All workshops are free and open to the public on a first come, first served signup basis. Contact Professor Tim Frerichs at for further information and to register.

Clark’s workshops and artist presentation are sponsored by Fredonia’s Department of Biology, Sustainability Committee and Department of Visual Arts and New Media.

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