Welcome to Plant Exchange Blog where we try to showcase the talents of people of the Northern Plains who like plants.
Amy Fill is a local sculptor and painter and also gardens. She’s also the interim director of university art galleries at University of South Dakota.
Fill lives and works in an art studio in a small valley by a creek bank in the hills along the Missouri River east of Volin, South Dakota. In winter, her perennials and flowerbeds and vegetable garden are hidden with snow while she draws and paints and creates sculpture and other art indoors. Some of her work is especially centered on plants.
Fill and other artists collaborated with writer Marcella Remund for Remund’s show: “Triple Goddess: Poetry, Visual Art and Music” at the First National Bank Coyote Gallery in Vermillion in February.
Fill placed elements of her plant collection with writer Marcella Remund’s poem “Garden Hymn” at the artists’ show. Her groupings of carefully dried plants that she collected became precious to her. She chose laboratory containers such as Petri dishes and graduated cylinders and droppers as ways to display them for careful observation or meditative reflection.
She finds connections between her plant reflections and the Marcella Remund’s poem: “Garden Hymn.” Fill sees her plant collections as little worlds, one-of-a kind specimens, not unlike the world in the poem.
Marcella Remund’s “Garden Hymn” appears in her manuscript called The Book of Crooked Prayer for which she is seeking a publisher. Thanks to her for sharing her poem.
By Marcella Remund
This is no English tea garden, pal.
No fragile limp fuchsia edged in periwinkle
ruffles, no meandering crocus border,
wisteria draped over a pale trellis,
no painted wrought-iron bench
resting in the thick, damp shade.
No thin ivy dipping its compact buds
in a moss-blue wading pool dotted
with alabaster cherubs and creamy-white lilies.
No sir, this is serious prairie stock.
Drought-resistant bush beans, 60 quarts’ worth,
squared off in rotten railroad ties.
Screaming red Big Girl tomatoes strung up
on chicken wire with old support hose.
Hot jalapenos and other strange fruit hanging
from twisted vines in a sudden mud-spattering
downpour—a brief storm that somewhere
washes out another delicate, orderly flower bed.
Amy Fill’s dried plants and nature finds are each a “still life” in her plant collection that she studies for creative inspiration. “These parts are like a vase gift of flowers to share from my grandmother’s yard,” Fill said. For other influences in Fill’s work, see “Amy Fill Artwork” Facebook page.
Fill describes her art with plants in the article that appeared in the Yankton Press & Dakotan newspaper recently at this link:
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