Sunday, November 21, 2010

My curiosity cabinet ~ Elizabeth Smith

Things from my yard
The natural things I see below my feet - these small items tell a story of place and life.

The story of place is about habitat: rocks and soil and water and climate. Tropical heat and the harsh bite of salt, the legacy of marine sediment and the alchemy of fresh water meeting ocean. This is the history of Florida.

Things from an estuary
The story of life reflects a connection to the other life forms that share this space, and adaptations to place. Flower > berry> bird> seedling> plant> flower completes a cycle of life.  How this leaf curls and why this leaf becomes needle-like, how an oyster clasps an underwater root, how these seeds are thrown from a pod, but those seeds fly on the wind.

Things from Iowa
 I invite you to share a journey of exploration of the simple wonders all around us through the bits and pieces that I collect in my images, my version of the wunderkammer (wonder-room) or cabinet of curiosities.  Click here to see more of these collections on my Flickr photostream.

The "cabinet of curiosities" concept started in Renaissance Europe, mainly by aristocrats with a bent for collecting, who accumulated curious and strange objects (some of which were fictional!), and housed them in a special room to show to friends and colleagues.

Wikipedia has a comprehensive entry on the history of these collections and their evolution into museums, as well as a summary of how virtual wunderkammern - such as this blog - are being created and shared.

~ Elizabeth Smith, Naples, Florida, USA


  1. Elizabeth, I am SO glad you shared these with us. It's a rare gift to see the magic in the mundane, and you possess it.

  2. Elizabeth, your Curiosity Cabinet is so wonderful on soooo many levels! Thank you for always taking time to capture natures wonders and sharing them!

  3. Loved those 2 precious collections. Wonderful and spirited close up of marvels that could be so easily missed

  4. Absolutely beautiful sketches! Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Elizabeth.these pages are beautifully illustrated and explained. I really like the way these pages are put together

  6. These are beautiful. Not only are the collections wonderful, but their sketches are rich with color and detail.

  7. Thanks so much everyone - your comments overwhelm me! :)

    I love sharing these with you - just be glad I don't keep all of those shoe and cigar boxes under my bed! Journals are a lot more space efficient!

  8. Wonderful collections! I went to Flickr too.

    I'm forever bringing tidbits like those home -- a plephorda of dust catchers. I should skech them as you do.


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