Environmental artist Richard Solomon, known in his New Mexico community as the Seed Shaman, gently transforms local seeds and plants into stunning works of art. Working with the Goat’s Beard plant from high in the mountains, Solomon encases the native plant’s bud in a clear 3¼ inch glass orb to create a timeless snapshot of the natural world.
“After more than twenty years of working with plant materials, it is the only plant that I have found that does this magical opening to make the seed head,” explains Solomon. However, it took several years, decades even, for the right sequence of events to allow the Goat’s Beard seed heads to reveal their magnificence to Solomon.
"When I was collecting the buds about 10 years ago, I noticed that all the seeds in the seed heads blew away,” explains Solomon of his trial and error process. “Every year in late spring, I would collect them and eventually figured out that if I just cut the buds, then maybe I could help them open.”
He eventually experimented with placing the bud inside a glass orb and the results were magnificent.
“When I come back to my studio with the buds, I clean and sort them and they all go into water. Once they are in water, they begin to open a little and as they open, at certain times, I will take them out of the water and put them into the glass ball,” he explains in a quiet voice.
Once the seed heads are placed in the glass ball, within one to four days they open and remain timelessly captured in the orb.
“When I put the seed head inside and it opened up in the glass ball it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” Solomon explains.