Printmaking Residency, Burning Bones Press, Houston, TX

Printmaking Residency, Burning Bones Press, Houston, TX

Animals in Imaginary Gardens
Printmaking Residency at Burning Bones Press, Houston, TX, 2019
Edition-Print Project

Since late 2018, I have been creating pieces that feature animals in imaginary garden scenes, under the night sky or the sun, using digital drawing methods, monotype, and silkscreen techniques. In these mixed-media prints, I mix and match Persian, Arab and European scientific images or diagrams- from those manuscripts that I research-to construct historical knowledge of various points of view into one form and to tell a visual story using familiar scenes.

The main visual elements (animals and plants) in my garden prints are from a prominent botanical manuscript, The Herbal, a 12th-century Arabic medicinal botanical manuscript from Andalusia. Inspired by this manuscript’s images, I digitally draw the botanical and animal silhouettes first and then prepare them for the printing processes. The overall color palette is inspired by hues found in The Herbal manuscript and those on the Persian tiles of traditional fountains or structures inside the historic botanical gardens in Shiraz, Iran (where my family is originated).

In May 2019, I was invited for an edition-print project at the Burning Bones Press in Houston, Texas. For this project, I used animals and plants from the same 12th c. botanical manuscript. Cathie Kayser, artist and printmaker at the Burning Bones Press, and I worked on a four-color intaglio print edition: The Chase in Chamomile Garden. I digitally drew select animals chasing each other and composed them in a chamomile garden scene. Using copper plates and intaglio techniques during my four-day residency I worked with Cathie on details and printing a few tests. By the end of the 4th day, I signed the B.A.T. and approved the colors. Cathie Kayser at Burning Bones Press printed a limited edition of 10 after I returned.  You can see the process and the final print here.

The Chase in Chamomile Garden, 2/10, 4-color intaglio
Image size: 7″ x 9″, paper size: 15″ x 22″

The Chase in Chamomile Garden, detail

Preparing the plates and testing colors, Burning Bones Press, Houston, TX, May 2019

Test prints for colors, 7″ x 9″

Preparing the plates and test prints, Burning Bones Press, Houston, TX, May 2019


“When plants and animals were specifically studied in the Middle Ages, it was usually in the context of medicine, natural philosophy, or agriculture.”
“The illustration seems to have been expected in luxury copies of Arabic texts describing medicinal plants, animals, constellations, and mechanical devices. In the manuscript, The Herbal, there are eight animals.”
Jaclynne J.Kerner

Animals featured in The Herbal manuscript, 12th c.