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Peacock and Rattlesnake

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

Continuing with my artist residency at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, I came across a few tropical plants with exquisite leaves in the Conservatory. I couldn't resist being inspired by their patterns.

The Rattlesnake plant or Calathea lancifolia has long and slender ornamental leaves. They are native to areas with high humidity and partial sunlight like in rainforests. These leaves inspired my headpiece which I made from crepe paper and drawn-on design. I added a few dried flowers, roses and hydrangeas, to the front.

The other tropical plant that caught my attention with its dramatic foliage was the Fishbone Prayer plant or Ctenanthe burle-marxii (update-this is the Peacock plant/Calathea makoyana. They look very similar to the Ctenanthe). Its wide leaves were larger than my hand. They inspired the rest of my outfit. I made large quilted leaf shapes and tried to emulate the design of the plant with fabric paint and stitching. I used these leaves on the skirt, arm pieces and my t-shirt. I had planned to make more leaves to fill out the skirt but ran out of material (update-I added many more leaves. Added pic below). I may still go back and do that.

I certainly felt like the bell of the ball this day. And being able to tell garden visitors about two plants I just learned about was the icing on the cake. I would love to have these beautiful plants in my home - once I get an actual green thumb that is!

See my first outfit here.

Ctenanthe burle marxii (Fishbone Prayer plant)

Calathea makoyana (Peacock plant)

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