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natural instincts

April 3, 2016


Anne Blackwell Thompson preserves foliage and flowers using centuries-old traditions. Then the Virginia-based artist turns her botanical treasures into bold compositions with contemporary style.

The designer & background: Grew up in Texas with a profound appreciation for the diverse landscape and studied educational psychology and art history at Texas A&M and Richmond College in London. In 2010, apprenticed under botanical artist Stuart Thornton in Turin, Italy, before settling in Virginia to explore the many layers of nature in the Southern landscape.

The company: Blackwell Botanicals started in 2010 in Richmond, where Thompson maintains a studio and herbarium.

The goods: Flowers, foliage and seaweed that Thompson harvests, dries and presses on paper to create her highly sculptural, mixed media compositions.

What’s popular: The standard herbarium size of 11.5 inches wide by 20 inches high ($300, unframed). Also large-statement specimens, such as the elephant ear — or large vines and ferns.

Other favorites: Seaweed, which is not typically associated with botanical art, but is graphic and has an abstract quality.

Claim to fame: The Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay in Hawaii recently purchased three of the enormous Taro pieces for its lobby. Taro (Colocasia), also known as elephant ears because of its gigantic foliage, is a huge part of the Hawaiian and Pacific Island culture.

What’s next: Thompson will be an artist-in-residence this year at Tuckahoe Plantation, the childhood home of Thomas Jefferson. She will explore the flora of the historical property.

Where to buy:  




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