Botanical Arts and Crafts

Botanical Arts and Crafts

The Art of Science. The Science of Art.

Get in touch with your inner artist by taking a class in botanical drawing, painting, or photography or by attending one of our hands-on, nature-inspired craft workshops. You will find options for all interests and skill levels. These classes, taught by accomplished, professional artists, will not only allow you to increase your skills but will also enhance your understanding of the natural world.

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Program Information

Location: Most classes will take place at BRIT or at the FW Botanic Garden. Some classes and workshops will be taught off campus and/or may include field trips to other locations around North Central Texas.

Cost: Class tuition varies depending on the length of the class and materials needed. Please see the individual class listings for exact prices.

Who should attend: GROW Adult Education workshops are open to and suitable for all interested members of the general public. 

Nice to Know: Since you never know where GROW Adult Ed might take you, we recommend that participants dress comfortably in clothes that are appropriate for both indoor and outdoor adventures. A sweater or light jacket is a good idea in case the A/C is working too well and closed toe shoes are always a good idea. Please check individual class listings for any specific requirements and, as always, don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you at a GROW Adult Ed class soon! 

Point of Contact

Laura Northern Venhaus

Director of the Libraries and Research Public Engagement

Get in touch with your inner artist by taking a class in botanical drawing, painting, or photography or by attending one of our hands-on, nature-inspired craft workshops. You will find options for all interests and skill levels. These classes, taught by accomplished, professional artists, will not only allow you to increase your skills but will also enhance your understanding of the natural world.

Upcoming Events

Introduction to Oil Painting: Botanical still lifes

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This full day workshop is designed to provide an introduction to oil painting materials and techniques with an emphasis on color mixing. Participants will paint still lifes and botanical specimens from the BRIT collection from direct observation and can complete at least one work. We will discuss tips for working cleanly and safely with oil paint at home, as well. This course is well suited for someone with no oil painting experience, but who has some experience with drawing or watercolor. If you have painted in oils before but would like a refresher and new inspiration from BRIT’s collection, this is also the class for you. Please bring a brown bag lunch and snack, and be prepared for a fun day of painting!

Instructor Devon Nowlin is a Fort Worth native who holds a BFA from the University of North Texas (2004) and an MFA from Texas Christian University (2011). Her oil paintings often feature figures set in an abstracted, densely-patterned, or botanical-inspired settings. Recent exhibitions include "Casual Luxury Complex" at Artspace 111, "Don't Deny Your Heart" at Stephen F. Austin State University, and "Cult of Personality" at David Shelton Gallery, Houston. Nowlin has taught at TCU, The Modern, and the Rachofsky Warehouse and is currently the Assistant Registrar at the Amon Carter Museum. Her public works include "Trailing the Trinity," commissioned by Fort Worth Public Art for the Clearfork Main Street Bridge and the "Look Book Fort Worth" photographic series for the Westbend development on University Drive.

Required Materials:

I teach the use of a “limited pallet.” You will see that there are no greens, purples or blacks on this primary list; we will learn to mix them from this limited color selection. 37ml tubes are sufficient but you may benefit from buying a 200ml tube of white.

  • Cadmium Red (or Hue)
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Thalo Blue
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Lemon Yellow (or Hue)
  • Cadmium Yellow (or Hue)
  • 37 ml or 200ml Titanium White

In addition to paint, you should bring:

  • 1 small glass jar with lid
  • 3 small thin rags (old t-shirts are great)
  • Pencil and eraser
  • 2 primed canvases, 11 x 14 to 16 x 20 inch size is suggested

Brushes, painting mediums, and paper palettes will be provided, and during the course we will discuss other useful supplies for continuing your painting practice at home.

This class will be held at BRIT.

$85 members/$95 non-members

Watercolor Technique Bootcamp

Revisit the basics.

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In this one-day workshop, instructor Samantha Peters will reintroduce students (or introduce new watercolor students) to watercolor techniques including creating flat and graded washes, dry brushing, and basic color theory. She’ll touch on foundational watercolor basics such as brush selection, the interaction of paint, water, and paper, color mixing and layering. Peters will take students through a variety of exercises designed to provide a solid foundation for all future watercolor work. 

Instructor Samantha Peters is a science illustrator based in Dallas, Texas. She received her B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology from the University of Texas at Austin and attended the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, leaving once she realized illustrating her study guides was more fun than actually studying them. Afterwards, while living in New York City, she discovered a love of botanical art through classes at the New York Botanical Garden, and decided to pursue science illustration full time, attending the graduate program in Science Illustration at California State University, Monterey Bay. Samantha currently works in the graphics department at the Dallas Zoo and is the President of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Texas Group. Member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and the American Society of Botanical Artists. 

Please Note: This class will take place at BRIT.

$85 members/$95 non-members

Required Materials:

  • Paints: Look for professional grade watercolors. Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith are good brands. I prefer tubes, but half pan kits are very good.
  • Basic/Primary Palette: Winsor lemon, Winsor yellow, scarlet lake, quinacridone rose, french ultramarine, prussian blue
  • Also useful: sap green, quinacridone gold, quinacridone magenta, burnt sienna, neutral tint
  • Brushes: Round watercolor brushes with good points. Size 0 and 6 are good sizes, but this depends on your preference. Windsor Newton, Daniel Smith, Sceptre Gold, and Princeton are good brands. Look for a sable or synthetic/sable blend with a good point.
  • Mixing palette: white porcelain plates are available for a few dollars at Target. Can also use plastic palettes with multiple wells – look for one with a lid.
  • Plastic tubs for water - empty cream cheese or butter tubs work well!
  • Viva brand paper towels
  • Saral graphite transfer paper
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencils: 2H, H, and HB graphite pencils, mechanical pencils, or lead with holder. Please bring a handheld sharpener as needed
  • Kneaded eraser, white vinyl eraser (Magic Rub or similar)
  • 6” or 12” ruler (clear ones are great!)
  • Drafting tape
  • Watercolor paper: HOT PRESS 140 lb or higher — look for Fabriano or Arches brand

Botanical Watercolors in Practice

Put your skills to work.

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In this follow up one-day intensive workshop that builds on her earlier watercolor techniques class, instructor Samantha Peters will lead students of all skill levels through the process of completing a botanical watercolor painting. She'll cover plant observation and measurements, choosing and mixing colors and botanical grays, and underpaintings. Students will create their own unique watercolor botanical piece using a botanical subject of their choice.

Instructor Samantha Peters is a science illustrator based in Dallas, Texas. She received her B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology from the University of Texas at Austin and attended the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, leaving once she realized illustrating her study guides was more fun than actually studying them. Afterwards, while living in New York City, she discovered a love of botanical art through classes at the New York Botanical Garden, and decided to pursue science illustration full time, attending the graduate program in Science Illustration at California State University, Monterey Bay. Samantha currently works in the graphics department at the Dallas Zoo and is the President of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Texas Group. Member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and the American Society of Botanical Artists. 

Please note: This class will be held at BRIT.

$85 members/$95 non-members

Required Materials:

  • Paints: Look for professional grade watercolors. Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith are good brands. I prefer tubes, but half pan kits are very good.
  • Basic/Primary Palette: Winsor lemon, Winsor yellow, scarlet lake, quinacridone rose, french ultramarine, prussian blue
  • Also useful: sap green, quinacridone gold, quinacridone magenta, burnt sienna, neutral tint
  • Brushes: Round watercolor brushes with good points. Size 0 and 6 are good sizes, but this depends on your preference. Windsor Newton, Daniel Smith, Sceptre Gold, and Princeton are good brands. Look for a sable or synthetic/sable blend with a good point.
  • Mixing palette: white porcelain plates are available for a few dollars at Target. Can also use plastic palettes with multiple wells – look for one with a lid.
  • Plastic tubs for water - empty cream cheese or butter tubs work well!
  • Viva brand paper towels
  • Saral graphite transfer paper
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencils: 2H, H, and HB graphite pencils, mechanical pencils, or lead with holder. Please bring a handheld sharpener as needed
  • Kneaded eraser, white vinyl eraser (Magic Rub or similar)
  • 6” or 12” ruler (clear ones are great!)
  • Drafting tape
  • Watercolor paper: HOT PRESS 140 lb or higher — look for Fabriano or Arches brand
  • PLEASE bring a botanical subject you would like to paint. Fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and simple flowers are all good choices!

Botanical Applique

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Join us for this three hour, hands on class as we learn how to harvest, press, and use botanical applique to preserve plant material. This process is not only fun, it can be used to create unique cards, gifts, journals and more! Students will create and take home two botanical applique cards.

Instructor Alisa Banks is a visual artist whose work centers on issues concerning identity. Her work, which often references traditional crafts, incorporates fibers, plants, and other found materials.  Alisa’s work has been exhibited in venues in the U.S., Canada, England, and Laos, and is housed in several private and public collections, including the U.S. Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Museum, and the New York Public Library. Alisa received her BS from Oklahoma State University and her MFA from Texas Woman’s University. She lives in Dallas, TX.

Please Note: This class will take place at BRIT.

$40 members/$45 non-members

 

Minature Gardens

Create your own world in a planter.

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Join Master Gardeners in this hands-on class as they discuss how to create an attractive and sustainable miniature garden. With step-by-step instructions and practical tips, you will design and create your own miniature garden during the class and take it home with you. All plants and other materials are included. Just bring yourself!

Instructor Hester Schwarzer is a native East Texan. She grew up with a mother who loved and grew flowers, vegetables and fruit and taking the Master Gardener classes the year after retiring from a teaching career has given her the opportunity to return to her roots. Miniature gardens have fascinated her since playing in the soil making roads, designing tiny buildings and finding small plants to populate her landscapes. Instructor Kay Sekio is a native of Japan. She received a Ph.D. in Public Administration from UTA and is currently working as a trilingual linguist. She became a Master Gardner in 2003 and a Plant Propagation Specialist in 2013. Garden craft including miniature gardens is one of her specialties. As the 4th generation of Bonsai-loving family, she was interested in moss and was certified as a moss craft (Kokedama) instructor in 2016 in Japan after completing a special training session.

Please note: This class will be held at the FWBG

$20 members/$25 non-members

Registration opens soon!

Botanical Watercolors Master Class

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Join us for this two day watercolor master class with sought after instructor Soon Y. Warren and learn how to create a floral image with watercolor in a step by step process. Students will work from a reference photo provided by Warren and will have homework prior to the first day of the workshop. Following a painting demonstration, workshop participants will do their own painting in order to fully understand the process. While concentrating on technique, the concept of color theory, composition, and color values will be incorporated into the workshop. While painting workshop participants will learn:
• Glazing and washing techniques to create a luminous under painting
• How to utilize light and dark values in order to capture the sparkle of sbuject
• How to approach a painting
• How to incorporate the concept of color theory and color relationships into a painting
• Discussion and critiques will take place during workshop session
• To make the most of instructional time, prepare the drawing before the workshop.

Instructor Soon Y. Warren was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States in 1987. Since she began painting full time in 1998, she has had many exhibitions and earned numerous awards. She is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society (NWS), the Southern Watercolor Society (SW), the Society of Watercolor Artists (SWA) and the Texas Watercolor Society (TWS)–Purple Sage Brush Society. She is one of the featured artists in Splash 8: Watercolor Discoveries and Splash 10: Passionate Brushstrokes. Soon Y. is the author of two books:  Vibrant Flowers in Watercolor and Painting Vibrant Watercolors.

Please note: This class will take place at BRIT.

This is a two day class that will take place on Saturday, 9/15, from 10am - 3pm and Sunday, 9/16, from 10am - 3pm.

$200 members/$250 non-members

Landscape: Reality, Memory, Imagination

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Students in this day long workshop will create a landscape based on reality, memory and or imagination with an emphasis on Fort Worth’s surrounding nature and landscape. We will begin with a very brief history of landscape paintings and painters and will learn several painting techniques using acrylic paint and/or watercolors. Students will also learn the basics of balance and composition and how to translate a photograph into a painting whilst embracing your own personal style and imagination. The instructor will provide images of landscapes of nature from the surrounding area (Brit’s prairie), but students may bring their own photos for inspiration or reference.

Instructor Erika Duque is a painter who lives and works in Fort Worth, TX. She is originally from Flushing, Queens, NY. Duque received her BFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently an MFA candidate at TCU in painting and graduates in May of 2018. http://www.erikaduque.com
 

Bring Color into your Home with Terrariums

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Join Begonia experts in creating your own terrarium using begonias from the nationally recognized Begonia Species Collection.  You will learn the method of creating and caring for a miniature tropical habitat for rare and exotic species and hybrids.  You will take home your glass terrarium for instant color.

Instructor Bobbie Price is a 20 year volunteer in the nationally recognized Begonia Species Bank along with Don Miller who has spent his life searching for new species and conserving rare begonias. Debbie Garrett, the staff curator for the collection, studied horticulture at the University of North Texas.  Her love for begonias centers on the conservation of the species. 

Please note: This class will take place at the FWBG.

$30 members/$35 non-members

Decorating with Botanicals

Welcoming your family and friends for the holidays

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Join instructor Barbara Baker as she shares her tips, tricks and ideas to achieve that special look for your home during the holidays. Take home a wreath for your front door and a fresh flower arrangement for your dining table. All flowers and other materials are included.

Barbara Baker is former President of Fort Worth Garden Club and Texas Garden Clubs.  She incorporates English gardening ideas from her travels into her own garden. Barbara has taught flower arranging as a National Garden Club Flower Show Judge and Instructor from Oregon to New Hampshire. 

Please note: This class will take place at the FWBG.

$40 members/$45 non-members

Basic Upright Moribana, a Classic Expression of Ikebana

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Join instructor Judy Ratzlaff as she shares her love of Japanese flower arranging using the Ikebana technique of Moribana.  she will supply the flowers, kenzan (frog), and other supplies.  You will need to bring a shallow container for your arrangement.  You may also bring flowers with long stems from your own garden.  Not only will you leave with an Ikebana arrangement but with instructions to create your own at home.

Instructor Judy Ratzlaff was trained in Ikebana in Japan where she lived for many years. She is a Sogetsu school teacher and also studied Ohara school. As 2nd VP on the International Board of Ikebana, headquartered in Tokyo, from 1995-1998 she oversaw 174 Chapters in 60 countries. She was one of only 2 foreigners on the board. She was 1st VP of the Nagoya Chapter in 1991. Judy represented and co-hosted Ikebana International at the American Embassy for a tea and tour and co-chaired the Tokyo Founding Chapters Christmas Fundraiser for three years. She attended 4 International Conferences in Tokyo over 20 years, the Sixth Asian Conference in Manila, Philippines and the North American Conference in Ottawa while an officer. Judy was also 1 of 2 representatives from the North American Conference at the International Conference in Yokohama.

Please note: This class will be held at the FWBG.

$40 members/$45 non-members

Creating Thanksgiving Floral Arrangements

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Join us for this exciting hands-on class in the principles and basics of floral design including color, balance, proportion, scale, and rhythm with Fort Worth Botanic Garden employee, Agnes Slociak Knasiak.  Dr. Slociak Knasiak will share the history of floral arrangements along with the containers, tools and mechanics of designs. Each student will take home the design on which they work along with a 4” potted fern that Agnes propagated to use in future flower designs.

Instructor Agnieszka Slociak Knasiak, has degrees from two universities in Europe including a PhD in Horticulture. During her doctoral study in Wroclaw, Poland she took special classes for “The Art of Floral Design.” She creates the flower designs each year for the Japanese Garden Festivals and designs arrangements for special events in the Botanic Garden such as birthday parties, anniversaries, funerals, holidays tables, etc. She is currently a Greenhouse Attendant for the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

Please note: This class will be held at the FWBG. 

$40 members/$45 non-members