ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷 (pjammer) wrote,
ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷

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Art on the Main - Walnut Creek, CA [Seed Packet Art]

After one of the most grueling (though ultimately rewarding) weeks in recent memory, I slept in today before my morning run and took a desperately-needed break to attend the open-air Art on the Main festival in Walnut Creek, CA.

Discovered one of the most fascinatingly unique pieces of horticultural and printing history at Harvey and Georgia Cohen's Seed Art booth, featuring seed packets printed nearly a century ago by manual-labor-intensive methods that would boggle the imagination of those of us familiar with the modern-day 4-color printing process.

From the website:
These original antique seed packets were hand drawn by artists between 1910 and 1917. Prior to 1917, color film had not been introduced. Modern printing had not arrived. Metal plate technology did not exist. This was the period in history when normal production was only one at a time. During the 1880s, most packets were not in color nor were there any images on the packet, only words. By the end of the century, flower and vegetable seed companies hired artists who drew incredibly detailed flower and vegetable seed packets using as many as 24 magnificent colors in one image.

- SeedArt.com

On a biodiversity note, I found it fascinating that many of the vegetables and flowers featured on these lithographs are extinct in the form depicted in those pictures - casualties of ambitious cross-pollination programs or natural evolution.

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