Art to Science

Both of us feel honoured to have been invited to this prestigious gathering and excited to present our work to plant pathologists. We hoped to inspire them in their work and to learn from their latest research. Many thanks to all who have helped us travel to Palencia with our art (for a list of supporters, click our Sponsors page). We are grateful for all the contributions we received!

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Preparing to take our art to Palencia

Both of us feel honoured to have been invited to this prestigious gathering and excited to present our work to plant pathologists. We hope to inspire them in their work and to learn from their latest research. Many thanks to all who are helping us travel to Palencia with our art (for a list of supporters, click our Sponsors page). We are grateful for contributions of any amount!

Here are some photos from our preparations:

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Claire tries out various combinations of her torn, stained, canvas “trees” to make her final selections. Some of these will hang in grove-like stands at the exhibition in Palencia.

Expo Garrachon

A digital maquette of Claire’s trees in the exhibition space in Palencia. (Those paintings won’t be on the walls!)

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The first colour Bill has silkscreened onto Mitsumata paper hand made by Juan Barbé. Thanks to Kathy Kinakin of Beau Photo for sending reference photos of the “paperbush” in Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver!

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After the second printing of the paperbush plant (this part of the edition is on Somerset paper, as well as Mitsumata). Brushwork allows one stencil to create the illusion of several, with painterly effects; all are different.

Bill’s goal is to take two new prints along with other from this series of plant papers. One is on Juan’s Mitsumata paper made in his Eskulan studio, another is on Curly Dock paper that we made together in 2013.

The kitchen table is often the location of last minute touch-ups & gathering wooden hanging parts for Claire's trees.

The kitchen table is often the location of last minute touch-ups & gathering wooden hanging parts for Claire’s trees.

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IUFRO Banff 2013: day 4

On our last morning we heard the seven more presentations on the theme of Climate Change & Altered Disturbances. Among them were Amber Marciniak talking about western spruce budworm and Anthony Robinson’s models and scenarios to calculate how long it might take for MPB to reach eastern Canada. We also learned about eastern larch beetles. All fascinating.

Dr. Jim Labonte of Oregon’s Dept of Agriculture gave the final presentation: the challenges of forest insect identification. According to him,  “the identification of an organism is the key to knowledge.”

We highly recommend his inspiring Extended Depth of Field photographs of insects. Here’s one slide from the Screening Aid for the Buprestidae of the Western USA: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PLANT/IPPM/Pages/buprestid_screening_aid.aspx

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After lunch, we dismantled our exhibition, packed up and said our farewells before heading back to BC.

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We drove as far as Mcbride that evening; thanks to Matthew Wheeler for finding us a great place to stay, and for seconding our choice of breakfast spot: Morels on Facebook, operated by Julian Randall & Anastasia McPartlin.

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IUFRO Banff 2013: day 3

On the Wednesday morning we heard seven presentations on the effects of climate change on species such as spruce bark beetles, pine weevils, MPB and defoliators. Among them, Maartje Klapwijk of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences wove together Hungarian data from 1961 and showed an overlay of various moths to illuminate existing correlations.

Then we went on field trips. The hike up Sulphur Mountain had been canceled due to wet snow have higher elevations, and it was pouring rain at our level. Claire, Annerose and I chose the Tunnel Mountain excursion over Johnson Lake.

We couldn’t see much through the low clouds and rain, but the weather created a lovely inkscape through which we looked at two kinds of pine that are at risk there: white bark (P. albicaulis) and limber (P. flexilis)

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Then an amazing thing happened. Just as Erica Samis (from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development), our stalwart guide was explaining how Clark’s nutcracker plays a role in caching white bark pine seeds, one flew onto a branch right behind her! I was afraid of what might happen if she uttered the word, “grizzly”!

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At the end of the afternoon we attended a poster session – a very different, more informal way to share research, compared to the oral screen presentations.

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At the conference banquet that evening, Jane Park of Parks Canada gave a screen presentation about the history of fire in Banff National Park. After about 100 years of fire suppression, they are now returning to something similar to the intentional fires First Nations used to start to create fresh pasture for ungulates, etc.

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IUFRO Banff 2013: day 2

Tuesday’s presentations were on trophic & effects of weather and & climate. For example, Adriana Arango-Velez from the University of Alberta discussed lodgepole & jack pine responses to a blue fungus associated with MPB under water deficit conditions, Ken Raffa of the University of Wisconsin-Madison talked about the detoxification of plant defense compounds by bacteria associated with various insects, and Crisia Tabacaru from the University of Alberta shared her findings on MPB in post burn lodgepole forests.

Barbara Bentz, a Research Entomologist in the Forest and Woodland Ecosystems Science Program (Rocky Mountain Research Station), talked about MPB “voltinism”, i.e. life cycles (to simplify the term) across different elevations & latitudes. Another fascinating day!

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Around 3 pm Annerose, Claire and I each gave a screen presentation about our artwork and its relationship to MPB. Then after questions from delegates, we had an “opening” in our exhibition space across the hall.

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We were very well received, and many commented on the variety of imagery & perspectives among us. It was really nice to chat with people one-on-one, and several were especially appreciative of the inclusion of our art in the conference.

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Thanks to Margaret Inoue for FTPing our PDF screen presentations from Wells to Banff!
(I had left my memory stick in the computer at home 😮

Bill Horne

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IUFRO Banff 2013 day 1

After a long, beautiful drive down the icefields parkway, Annerose Georgeson, Claire Kujundzic and I arrived at the Banff Centre late Saturday night and unloaded our artwork. The staff were very helpful, bringing us ladders and vacuum cleaners when we needed them, but it took most of Sunday to install it. We are all very happy with how it looks.

Allan Carroll of UBC welcomes delegates.

Allan Carroll of UBC welcomes delegates.

Monday was a very full day. After welcoming remarks by Allan Carroll of UBC and Bill Riel of Canadian Forest Service, Daniel Lux, Senior Manager of Alberta’s Forest Health Section, gave a livel, candid keynote address on recent mountain pine beetle history on this side if the Rockies.

Iñaki Extebeste gives his presentation.

Iñaki Extebeste gives his presentation.

Then we heard 17 fascinating presentations of research on various aspects the conference theme, Forest Insect Disturbance in a Warming Environment. There are 60 scientists here from around the world; some are presenting post graduate research. A very full day!

Jim Labonte of Oregon's Dept of Agriculture shares his exquisite extreme depth of field photographs of insects.

Jim Labonte of Oregon’s Dept of Agriculture shares his exquisite extreme depth of field photographs of insects.

After the sessions we met up with Ed Bamiling who heads the ceramics department at the Banff Centre. It was lovely to reconnect after many years, and to visit his studio.

Claire, Ed & Bill in Ed's studio.

Claire, Ed & Bill in Ed’s studio.

More to follow…

Bill Horne

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Budapest-Munich-Vancouver

On Wednesday Laszlo dropped us at the train to Munich where we stayed at the hostel again before our flight to Vancouver the next afternoon. He had made bread for our trip and loaded us up with grapes, peppers and tomatoes from his garden, so it was a very pleasant trip, apart from delays.

Laszlo's home grown grapes

Contrary to the system at Vancouver’s airport, in Munich one must check in at the airline and get boarding passes and baggage tags before going to customs with a Carnet! So we ended up lining up twice 😮 However, no one lost our luggage and we didn’t have any hassles with customs re-entering Canada with the artwork this time. It was a great trip, but good to be home!

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