Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Prairie Fire

A limited edition block print celebrating fire that helps maintain and sustain a prairie. Used by native peoples to keep woodland from overgrowing a prairie, fire favors abundant grass growth that would have attracted roaming herds of bison. Fire keeps 'weed' woody seedlings out, burns off accumulated dried grasses, returns nutrients stored in dead plant material to the soil, and exposes and blackens the soil so that it warms earlier in the spring so that prairie plants can get a head start on growth. It is in those years after a burn that the grasses grow their tallest. The print features the three parted seed head of big bluestem, the low creeping flames of a typical prairie fire moving toward the dried tops of stiff goldenrod and prairie dock and milkweed, and at bottom, the dense seed sprouting that can happen on the prairie floor that allows for prairie rejuvenation in the summer after a burn.