In addition to being featured for my work as Airplantman I was honored to be asked to write a forward for this beautiful book about plants and people. The result is one of my more passionate plant diatribes. So without further ado, for your reading pleasure:
The connection between plants and people is a deep and enduring one. A powerful evolutionary cue links the human mind and body to the botanical world. It may be a subconscious recognition of plants role in sustaining all aspects of life; creating everything from the oxygen we breathe, the food we eat, to even the clothes we wear. Without plants humans and life on our planet would not exist. Beyond owing our lives to plants, they are also sources of inspiration and relaxation for humans bombarded by the stresses of modern life and its symptomatic separation from nature. By rediscovering this connection the designers, artists, and florists featured in this book have found unique ways to bring the botanical world back into our lives.
Whether in a home, studio, or workshop plants can define a space. Our living spaces often suffer from a lack of connection with nature. The effect on inhabitants can be dramatic, from both a mental and physical perspective. Countless studies have shown the benefits of incorporating plant life into our living and work spaces. Mental acuity, lower stress levels, and increased sense of well-being are all reported. In addition plants have been shown to filter toxins from the air and provide valuable oxygen. Something within the human brain turns on when it witnesses green leaves engaging in photosynthesis and the more we can bring this special interaction within our environment the happy and more productive we are.
In addition to the scientific benefits provided by plant-life there is an intangible benefit provided by the process of caring for these living creatures. The simple act of observing a plants health and providing the watering and the other care it requires has innumerable benefits. As humans we intrinsically benefit from this connection with a life form and process beyond ourselves. The ‘monkey mind’ of our scattered thoughts can be focused and falls away as we engage in these simple nourishing activities.
Once we recognize the vital role of plant life in human well-being one has the opportunity to expand the consideration to aesthetics. The three parts of Aesthetic Botanica focus on different aspects: Floral, Lush Leaf, and Miniature. Each of these parts highlights a different area of botanical aesthetic inspiration. This includes the powerful colors of floral displays, the full green depth of leaves, and the unusual miniature aspects of plants from mosses to succulents. The botanical world offers a range of scales, colors, and forms to intrigue the aesthetic senses and the designers featured each have followed different paths to create their art.
Plants have inspired art and aesthetics throughout history. Ancient cave drawings depict the plants and animals that supported life from its origins. From this time on humans have looked to the botanical world for inspiration. The color and form of flowers, the patterns of foliage, and the golden mean ratio found in so many species growth patterns have even connected the human mind with the underlying mathematical principals that govern life.
In the modern world of social media plants and images of how they are integrated into our living spaces are among the most popular. Bloggers have recognized the value and appeal these spaces and inspiration provide. This popularity taps into a desire to reclaim our botanical heritage and re-connect with nature. When a thoughtful aesthetic is also introduced to botanical displays people can literally not get enough, and the enthusiasm is remarkable.
In the future it is unclear where botanical design will go next. New people are inspired to design with plants every day and trends are hard to predict. What one can safely assume however is that humans will continue to be moved by botanical art and seek to elevate and bring it into their lives. This art can take many forms but will undoubtedly return to its ‘roots’ in the natural world while also highlighting the designer’s hand inspired by the nourishing role of the botanical world in all our lives.