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Art + Design Store – Friday Feature – Lucerne

July 29, 2011

The Art + Design Store – Friday Feature column, where I give you all a closer look at one of the artworks in my Art + Design Store, focuses today on the limited edition letterpress print Lucerne, which featured in my recent solo exhibition: Collected Patterns: The botany of Walter Hill. Part of a series of six letterpress prints, printed on Magnani Incisioni 100% Cotton Rag Paper using rubber-based inks, this black on white work was inspired by the dedicated research of Walter Hill, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens’ first and most significant curator (1855-1881).

Hill undertook a lot of research into grasses during his work at the Gardens and found that a successful crop would often entail mixing different grass seeds together or grass seeds with different plants, to create the food source for livestock, sheep and horses. This was really important to a burgeoning colony. Animals worked the land, helping produce food crops, they were important to the settler as a mode of transport and also freight. They were well loved and well needed, so it was critical they be looked after and fed well! 

In his 1878 Annual Report on the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Walter Hill wrote, “The importance of the cultivation of grasses and fodder plants most suitable to withstand the variations of our climate, and provide in the best manner possible for the continued sustenance of horses, cattle, and sheep, is undoubted, and second only to the production of food for man.” Hill achieved this and so much more with the assistance of many farmers and graziers across Queensland as they planted and helped him test the hardiness and suitability of many varieties of grasses.

In the form of the artwork, I used a very simple mirroring repeat, but with a slight variation, reflecting one side upside down to create interest and movement.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the work, as I had a ball researching and developing it! The prints are part of an edition of 10 and there are still some available in the Store.

Want more Queensland history, keep following on Fridays for the next artwork featured in the Art + Design Store!

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