Quarantine Herbarium is a collaborative, socially engaged botanical photography project between myself and artists Gem Toes-Crichton and William Arnold instigated at the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine in early April 2020.
The project seeks to alleviate symptoms of plant blindness* through a hyperlocal focus on flora while salving the boredom of lockdown through engagement with the accessible historical photo method of cyanotype sun-prints!
Cyanotype paper with instructions for use is posted to participants to make unique plant prints to be compiled into both an online and physical collection of specimens. The lockdown forces a focus on that which is close to home, so it is hoped that the Quarantine Herbarium will form an important record of an unusual interaction with an oft overlooked part of the natural world.
Weeds are much encouraged but plant specimens must be collected from the participant’s gardens, or area immediately adjacent to their homes, as per government guidelines on travel and permitted exercise, no ‘plant collecting’ trips are allowed.
*Plant Blindness, a term coined by botanists James Wandersee and Elisabeth Schussler in 1998, refers to a cognitive bias in which we struggle to recognise and appreciate the value of diverse flora over zoological forms, especially prestige species.
The project has received funding from FEAST and further funding to continue the project is being sort.