Edible plants celebrated in Turners Falls artist’s exhibit at Great Falls Discovery Center

  • Leonore Alaniz with her prints of edible plants at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Great Hall in Turners Falls. These are of swamp cabbage and bloodroot foliage. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Leonore Alaniz’s prints of edible plants at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Great Hall in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Leonore Alaniz with one of her prints of edible plants at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Great Hall in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Leonore Alaniz’s prints of edible plants at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Great Hall in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Leonore Alaniz’s prints of edible plants at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Great Hall in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 8/11/2022 3:48:32 PM
Modified: 8/11/2022 3:45:14 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Save the hummus and ranch dressing; Turners Falls artist Leonore Alaniz prefers to dip her veggies in ink.

Labeled the “Let Food Be Your Medicine” exhibit, the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Great Hall is currently showcasing Alaniz’s “nature printing,” a medium the artist described as “a way of plant storytelling.” The prints, composed of impressions made by the ink-dipped side of a fruit or vegetable, “capture the anatomy and life force of edible plants,” as described in the center’s event calendar. While the artwork is available for people to enjoy, locals also have the opportunity to both see the printing in action as well as make their own prints over the course of the month.

“When people look at these prints and especially take a class and learn how to do it, they start to look at plants in a different way,” Alaniz said.

It is especially pertinent to celebrate edible plants in this region due to it having “a very healthy food infrastructure,” according to the artist, who has been nature printing for 30 years and has “exhibited widely in the valley.”

“It’s very fitting because we’re connecting a lot of dots here between the farms, the co-ops, the consumers,” she explained. “They all relate to food and they all relate to the agriculture. They all relate to the land here.”

Observing the intricacies of organisms through nature prints is “a lot like X-rays,” Alaniz described. Nature printing, she added, isn’t confined to just plants. Nature printing with fish is also common, she noted.

“Our own finger print is really a nature print because we could never render that fine detail with a pencil or a brush,” Alaniz added.

A printing project Alaniz highlighted as one of her most notable involved a trip to Costa Rica in which she printed using tropical foliage that was “Jurassic in size.” A 42-inch leaf print is available for viewing at the Great Falls Discovery Center.

“It satisfies me tremendously technically because it’s very hands-on and requires very close attention every step of the way,” Alaniz said of how nature printing fulfills her.

In addition to Alaniz’s exhibit running through Aug. 31, the artist will hold a reception “including medicinal treats” on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Great Hall. Alaniz will then hold a nature printing demonstration on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Finally, locals of all ages will have an opportunity to “design a personal Veggie Mandala on fabric with vegetable parts or medicinal weeds” on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Attendees may take home the artwork they make. Registration, which is free and recommended, can be done by calling 413-863-3221.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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