Winter is a time for introspection, appreciating the landscape lacking canopies of coverage. Branches extend skyward with greater reach as new growth emerges pointing toward Spring. Recently I visited the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT to see Pressed for Time: Botanical Collecting as Genteel Pastime or Scientific Pursuit? running through March 3. Concerning the hobby and profession of plant collecting at the turn of the 19th century, several collectors collections show the diverse purposes for gathering specimens. Some plants were pressed to show plants for posterity as their owners were stewards preserving current plant-life (scientific), others tended toward the leisurely pursuits of walking through nature, plucking and pressing to enjoy the art of nature (respectable pastime). It was a transporting story of a simpler time with a pure focus on nature.
Please enjoy Beverly Duncan’s Ashfield Compositions focusing on Winter. Her piece depicts specimens found during the season in Ashfield, MA, nestled in the eastern foothills of The Berkshires. Historically an agrarian community, Duncan looks down during long walks, collecting specimens from nature first planted and cultivated in the 18th century.