Karl Blossfeldt’s Beautiful Plants

Every summer, I visit the Newberry Library Book Fair, an incredible used and rare books festival which takes places at The Newberry Library in Chicago. I save up money and spend most of it on as many books as I can carry back home.

I’ve recently been looking at one of the books that I picked up at the fair. I wanted to share it with my students, then found myself completely immersed in it (this happens a lot). It’s a beautiful collection of over 100 full-page photographs of highly magnified plant forms. They are characterful and lively; with a little imagination, one could find faces, bodies, architecture, and plenty of inspiration in the simple, graphic structures.

The book is “Art Forms in the Plant World” by Karl Blossfeldt. It is not a rare book and can be acquired online inexpensively.

Below are a few of my favorite pages scanned from the book. Click to view larger.
Blossfeldt, Pumpkin Tendrils
Pumpkin Tendrils

Blossfeldt, horsetail shoots
Varied shoots

Blossfeldt, Bourgati's Eryngo Leaf
Bourgati’s Eryngo Leaf

Blossfeldt, American Horse-Chestnut
Small-flowered American Horse-Chestnut

Blossfeldt, Weeping Forsythia
Weeping Forsythia, young shoot

Blossfeldt, Scorpion weed
Scorpion-weed panicles

Blossfeldt, Winter Horsetail Shoots
Varied shoots

Snakes and lino prints

A few things I’ve been up to recently.
Working on some quick linoleum prints at home

This is a goofy demo for my screen printing class. I wanted to show the students how to separate colors by hand, without any use of a computer. I made a drawing of the snake in pencil, then traced out the color separations using Dur-a-lar film and opaque black markers. These were exposed onto screens and printed in yellow and blue transparent inks. The green is created wherever the two inks overlap.

A small print of a tiger-like creature in the woods.