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This project began when I was working at Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA), a restored prairie area owned by Grinnell College. At CERA there is a herbarium which is a physical record of plant specimens found locally. The plants are collected over time, so sometimes there are specimens of the same plant that span over many years. This made me think about what else is in the prairie besides the things that grow there: through working at CERA, I was putting myself and whatever I brought with me in the prairie as well. Additionally, the town where I spend most of my time is built on land that used to be prairie, but is now filled with human-made buildings and objects.

 I realized that I carried and wore over 110 objects when I went to CERA. I thought about my actual needs for what I wanted to do at the prairie: I wanted to go on walks and draw. I categorized each item in terms of whether I used it or needed it and realized that of the over 100 items I brought, I only used and needed about ten.

I brought these objects from my home to the prairie and back again. I used walnut dye from walnuts collected on a walk at CERA and onion skin dye from onions my housemates and I ate at home to draw each object and screenprint labels. Although I categorized each object in terms of use and need, their inclusion in the objectarium was based on having them with me.

Objectarium, 2018. 

Walnut dye, onion skin dye, and wheat paste on drawing paper, walnut-dyed handmade paper.

2.5"x24"x16.5". Installed at Conard Environmental Research Area.

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