June 18, 2013

Pollinator Week

        Did you know that this is National Pollinator Week?  Every week is something, and I'm often amused by all the things somebody goes through the trouble of making official.  (I'm not about to lobby for a National Relief Block Print Week.)  As you may have noticed, whenever I hear of a Day or Week or Month that seems worthy of celebration, I like to use it as an excuse for a collection of block prints on the theme.  And pollinators are a cool thing to focus on, to be sure.  They've been getting more love recently, but many people remain unaware of their vital contributions to our food supply and all the other products we use that come from plants that require pollination.
        Over 200,000 different species of all kinds from crickets and wasps to lemurs and lizards have been discovered to be vital in pollinating certain plants.  Many plants and creatures have vey specific partnerships, too, which I find fascinating.  But perhaps the most important pollinators are bees, beetles, hummingbirds, bats, butterflies, and moths.
        To segue from last week, I began with some butterflies and moths by M.C. Escher, above.  Starting geometric and turning realistic, this piece shows Escher's ability to capture both the precise mathematical geometry of abstract patterns and the
detailed curves and patterns of realism.
        This bold alphabetic bee is quite pleasing, and her very black-and-white style makes a nice contrast to the detailed contours of the hummingbird.  Also detailed in that classic Victorian way is this lovely fruit bat.
        Just to add to the mix, here's an even older moth, from Maria Sybilla Merian, and a collage of assorted pollinators, printed and then hand-colored.
       Next time you eat a papaya, thank a moth.  Bananas are pollinated by bats, and for chocolate you have to thank a tiny midge.  Bees are responsible for the growth of at least a hundred commercial crops including apples,
almonds, and onions.  Now go out in your garden, or head to the nearest park, and appreciate all the work those busy pollinators are doing for us.

[Pictures: Butterflies, wood engraving by M.C. Escher, 1950 (Image from Saint Louis University);
B is for Bee, linocut by Steve Duffy (Image from his Etsy shop Steve Duffy Designs);
The Humming Bird, wood block print from The Illustrated Alphabet of Birds, 1851 (Image from International Children's Digital Library);
Bat, wood block print - found on-line with no information, alas;
Moth, wood block print reproduced from drawing by Maria Sybilla Merian, from Erucarum ortus, alimentum et paradoxa metamorphosis, 1717 (Image from Göttinger Digitalisierungszentrum);
Insect collage, linoleum block prints colored and collaged, by Amanda Coville (Image from her blog Mangle Prints, or visit her Etsy shop for more, including bees and moths.)]


the Aging Wordsmith said...

Here is a limerick from the Aging Wordsmith.

There once was a woman from Needham
Whose garden was crowded with sedum.
She gouged out a block
Of a steam-punky clock
For her family used sedum t feed 'em.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...