Mandy Bonnell, “Eloise Butler’s Wildflower Garden”

Handmade box with letterpress title. The box contains three fold packets with embossed Letterpress titles: Flower Flora Fleuron, that holds 8 folded page-spreads as a response to a garden notebook. Flower contains 8 drawings of wildflowers; Flora contains 8 dried pressed wildflowers; Fleuron contains letterpress ornamentals.

Title page; printed with Univers type, drawing and collage

Broad-side from – Flora – White Oak leaf, collage on tracing paper with emboss

Broad-side from – Flower – White Oak leaf drawing, graphite, collage and paper cut

Fleuron- 8 broadsides pages, which include a variety of letterpress ornamentals, borders and Univers punctuation marks printed on Johannot paper as a response to plant stems.


Mandy Bonnell (London, U.K.)

Eloise Butler’s Wildflower Garden
August 2013
Box/book: Drawing, Collage, Letterpress and Emboss
Unique work
25 pages
21cm x 46cm x5cm open
21cm x 23cmx5cm closed

I am interested in responding to self taught Eighteenth and Nineteenth century women naturalists who were predominant in producing herbariums, watercolors’ and embroideries of nature, as this was frequently considered a feminine leisure activity.

However there were many Victorian women such as Marianne North, Constance Cummings and Maria Burgess who took the pastime of gathering, collecting and recording very seriously and with appreciation for their subject matter. They rightly gained respect for the detailed intricacy of their imagery and have influenced the work that I do.

Drawing is my primary means of enquiry. My work investigates traditional drawing methods and materials and explores how to apply them to a contemporary, interdisciplinary practice.

I am interested in the exploration of the book as an art form, which has a historical affinity to the tradition of sample books, in use for over 300 years.

I work with paper and incorporate traditional materials and methods, applying them to current drawing practices and traditional printmaking techniques. I explore binding and packaging as a conduit and container for images of mementos and memories.

I have examined the intricacies of lace making as a touchstone to counter the structures within nature, and I have developed my own visual language using graphite dots, pinpricking and typographic punctuation marks in different combinations, so as to evoke an emerging form or narrative. The time it takes to produce these sequences unites the pursuit of hand-stitched needlepoint.

Eloise Butler’s Wildflower Garden is a handmade box, which contains 3 envelopes, which incorporate letterpress plant stems made up from ornamentals, borders and punctuation marks, drawings of wildflowers and pressed wildflowers.

Eloise Butler was an independent intrepid woman with a deep wish to see the wildflowers of Minnesota protected and safe. Her wildflower garden was established in 1906 and her vision to protect indigenous flora in Minnesota survives to this day.