Botanical artists plant seeds in East York

Despite the chill of autumn outdoors, flora flourished indoors at the Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum and Arts Centre Oct. 27-Nov. 7. But these plants, displayed in the facility’s Papermill Gallery, weren’t real. They were artful renditions by the Botanical Artists of Canada (BAC), which held its annual juried art exhibition at the centre, located on Pottery Road.
Elizabeth Tudor, publicist for the BAC, said they came back to the Papermill Gallery for the second year in a row because of its facilities and the East York environment.
“We were here last year. It’s a beautiful gallery,” she said. “It (East York) blends well with the botanical theme and there’s a lot of history here.”
While the BAC doesn’t have a long history — it celebrates its tenth anniversary next year — the art form these artists represent does. According to Tudor, the artistic rendition of plants dates back to the time before cameras… and is a lot more complex than it seems.
“Explorers used to bring artists with them and they actually started drawing the plants,” she said. “Botanical art almost has to be a scientific rendering of the plant. The form of the plant, the nature and the colour has to be exact.”
Tudor said that interest in the art form, expressed by East York residents drawn by BAC’s advertising, helped grow the not-for-profit organization.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback. We advertised in libraries, we sent flyers and they put them up for us. It was very helpful,” she said. “Through exhibitions like this… we’re growing.”
Hannah Levitt, a pencil-crayon artist and member of BAC since its inception in 2001, said that East Yorkers have shown “a fair amount of interest,” which helped to make the 12-day event a success.
“Students come, friends come, we send out invitations,” she said. “We had a very good turnout on opening night and closing night. The exhibit has been quite a success.”
The juried art exhibition has been such a success that both Levitt and Tudor don’t hesitate to voice their hope of bringing the event back to East York for a third-straight year.
“We will definitely be back next year,” Levitt said. “We want to show our work to the public, and here (East York), they want to see it.”
“We absolutely want to come back,” Tudor added. “People come out and see the exhibits and when they do they’re impressed.”