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Community News from the Heart of Summit County

Eileen Richardson’s Botanic Art Enlivens the SPAC

Published August 14, 2019
Eileen Richardson's Botanic Art

If you have not been inside the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center in recent weeks, you are in for a floral feast for the senses. 

Thanks to the work of Colorado artist Eileen Roscina Richardson, more than 4,000 individually pressed flowers have been incorporated into a 5-foot-long suspended work, titled “Echoscope,” and the finished project is a botanic wonder to behold. 

An echo experience

“Echoscope” features more than 100 different species of flowers, separated using a gradient that goes from white to brown. In total, the piece took about eight months to complete. Eileen calls flower gathering the most important part of her entire art practice and uses as many natives and perennials as possible, sticking to yarrow, apache plume, Russian sage and other species that grow in abundance. She takes special care to not harvest too much from one plant and chooses flowers that grow well. 

Grab a partner and head upstairs to the balcony to experience the immersive nature of the piece; it serves as a kaleidoscope – a visual metaphor for an echo chamber – when two people are looking at each other from either side of it.

In addition to “Echoscope,” Eileen’s other works displayed in the SPAC lobby are a hybrid between baskets and nests, inspired by the Ute tribe’s basket weaving traditions and the way in which birds weave nests together. Three of these hang alongside the main piece. A separate willow piece that looks like an hourglass hangs above the stairs.

Eileen is thrilled to have her work on display at the SPAC, a space that she describes as beautiful and full of light, and a cultural hub for the town. Eileen’s work will be on display through March of 2020, where viewers may see it at any time during the SPAC’s open hours of operation.

Eileen’s work was discovered by the town of Silverthorne Art Board, during a Front Range “art safari” to seek out new artists for public art display. 

About the artist

Eileen developed a passion for the art of pressing flowers while taking courses at the School of Botanical Art and Illustration at Denver’s Botanic Gardens. Through the herbarian program, Eileen developed an intimate relationship with plants and gained a spiritual connection with nature through her process of flower gathering.

A Denver native born and raised, Eileen’s journey started with film making, shifted to the culinary arts, and then transitioned to creating the art she now showcases. Like her art, these talents are interwoven and Eileen still pursues them, from making short experimental films to growing and maintaining large gardens for food production at home.

Eileen’s work can also be found at Redline Contemporary Art Center, where she is a resident artist, and Walker Fine Art, both in Denver. When not pressing flowers, tending her garden and cooking, Eileen teaches at Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, a nonprofit that offers free after-school art programming to students ages 7-17 years old.