Conclusions: My Churchill Fellowship journey in 2018, largely focused on accessing and examining the significant botanical and illustrative collections held in Herbariums in France, the UK and Italy, collected by the naturalists aboard the D’Entrecasteaux and Baudin Expeditions to Australia in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
This project had cross-cultural relevance, examining the interplay between art and science, and the significant and largely unexplored botanical legacy of the D'Entrecasteaux expedition.
Whilst viewing the herbarium specimens and various books in the museums and libraries in France, Italy and the United Kingdom I felt a sense of the rich interconnectedness of the flow and linkages across cultures and the collection/curation of knowledge held so carefully over time.
The curators and scientists I met were interested in the story of Tasmanians’ engagement with their flora and the artistic use of it. My research fostered cross-cultural connections, demonstrated through the relations built between myself, French, Italian and English scientists and institutions.
The significance of my research highlighted the notable historical and artistic resource represented by the large Australian collections of French biologist Jacques Labillardière held at the Webb Herbarium in Florence.
Resulting designs for fabric and wallpaper will present Australian flora in a contemporary and international context. These products, with new hybrid cultural motifs, will continue dialogue and strengthen engagement between the two cultures. They will also democratise and make more visible, elements of the earliest collections, combining this with elements of my own, original etchings, drawings and plant pressings.
I have bought to life for others the considerable knowledge and experiences that I have gained over my Churchill Fellowship through film, storytelling, song and fabric design and production. The resulting artwork and designs to fabric are evolving into a growing collection visible on my website: www.deborahwace.com
Keywords: Tasmanian botany, fabric designer, Type Specimen, Webb Herbarium, Kew Gardens, Jardin des Plants, printmaker, botanical artist, historical collections, J.J.H. Labillardiere
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