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Art + Design Store – Friday Feature – White Clover

August 26, 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 White Clover, 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).

White Clover falls into the leguminous pea family Fabacea and while not technically a grass, Hill found combining some legumes and grasses provided more drought resistant solutions than simply growing grasses in isolation.

Quoted from “Walter Hill of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens” by Gordon Smith – “My uncle says it more scientifically [talking of Hill]. It has been conclusively proved that if an acre of good land is sown with three pecks of rye-grass and one peck of clover, that only 470 plants will be maintained… He found, though, that the addition of more pecks of these two seeds didn’t improve the number of plants. But if, instead of two species of grasses, from eight to twenty different sorts are grown, a thousand plants will be maintained on the same space. He had found a way to more than double the amount of fodder that each grazier could grow. And he had found a way to ensure that grass would be growing throughout the winter.” This was so incredibly important to the burgeoning colony – keeping livestock healthy meant the colony could continue growing and thriving.

This design was the clear favourite at the exhibition. Flowing, winding, wrapping and curvaceous, the clover has a joyful, childlike appeal. I remember looking for 4-leaf clover, picking it as a child and making necklaces, dodging bees pollinating the clover fields in spring and summer.

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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