dandelion project

I am interested in the symbolism of the dandelion and how it is represented in collections of material culture such as prints, textiles, ceramics and the decorative arts.
I am also looking at how the European dandelion (
Taraxacum officinale) has become an alien invasive species in Japan and is out-competing native Japanese dandelions.
In April 2010 I travelled to Japan on a research trip to collect specimens of European and Japanese dandelions. I also visited museum collections to look for the representation of dandelions in art.

chesney dandelion

Dandelion x 20
Screen print, 2012

Seen by many as a persistent weed, unwanted in lawns and the curse of garden boarders, this familiar perennial plant can provoke distaste and is usually labelled a common pest. A symbol of hope in folklore and used for different types of superstitions divinations, the dandelion has endured a contradictory mixture of fond associations with negative persecution for its wilful resilience.

Week of Dandelions
Screen print, 2011

Dandelion Archive
From Albrecht Durer, Stanley Spencer, Helen Chadwick and Paul Morrison in art; to Kate Greenaway, Cicely Mary Barker and Walter Crane in illustration; photographer Anna Atkins; and designers William Morris and CFA Vosey – each has been inspired by and depicted dandelions in their work. The Dandelion Archive collects objects and holds information on dandelions in art and material culture and considers the motivation to deliberately include a dandelion in an artwork.

dandelion plate 01
Majolica plate with dandelion design, made by Zell Factories in Germany.
Held in the Dandelion Archive

dandelion tray 02
Villeroy and Boch ceramic tray, made in Luxemburg.
Held in the Dandelion Archive

dandelion coffee
Nestle dandelion coffee, French.
Held in the Dandelion Archive.

Dandelions: Rustic Oracles
Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library 2018

In 2018 I was invited to spend time in the Harris Museum archive to discover any objects in their collection connected to the theme of dandelions. For the exhibition objects from my Dandelion Archive and items from the collection were placed in sixteen different locations within the museum's displays and galleries for visitors to find.

display 02
Items from the Dandelion Archive (tea, coffee and cup & saucer) included in the Teetotal display at the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library in Preston, 2018.

archive 03
Hand screen print on Japanese newspaper on display alongside one of the botany books from the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library special collection, 2018.
Photograph Gavin Renshaw

Please visit my dandelion blog for more information on the Dandelion Archive and my research about the subject.

Tanpopo Tour of Preston 2010
Guided weed walk of Preston for
In Certain Places

Preston is host to intuders, aliens and escaped chancers - thriving alongside natives in back streets and adapting to the harsh, inhospitable conditions of the urban landscape. Have these inhabitants always been resident? Are they accidental tourists, perhaps the offspring of invited guests or a result of climate change? The Tanpopo Tour of Preston took participants to some of the weed hotspots of the city - revealing how plant species from all over the world have come to settle in this unlikely habitat.

Photograph by Andy Greenacre

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