Dr. Robin Brown Exhibits Botanical Art Works At The Highland Library Through July 14th

McDowell, Va – Dr. Robin Brown has an exhibit of Highland County plants and hand-made paper currently on display in the library in Monterey. The pieces combine dried flowers, leaves, ferns and seeds into groups mounted on hand-made paper and framed in local hardwood. Dr. Brown and his wife Jan are natives of Tampa Florida, who now spend most of the year in a house located south of McDowell.

Jan is a descendant of the Malloys, one of the pioneer families in Highland County. Dr. Brown trained as a physician and practiced medicine for 37 years in Ft. Myers, Florida. They still have a home there. Dr. Brown describes how he first got interested in making paper and producing his botanical creations.

“It’s origins are an article in one of the women’s magazines in 1961” says Dr. Brown, “detailing the method of using pressed flowers, leaves and seeds to make greeting cards and pictures. Jan showed it to me and we thought this would really be fun to try. The woman who wrote the article used handmade paper, so I make my own paper out of local fibers.”

One of his favorite fiber sources is cattails. Once the paper is made, the pressed and dried leaves, seeds or ferns are placed on the paper and covered with a very thin Japanese paper called mitsumata. He says the paper is cut and affixed it to the paper using dilute white glue.

The mitsumata fibers give the piece a lustrous quality. Combined with the frames made from aged salvage lumber, these pieces highlight natural materials in a rustic style. Dr. Brown goes on to talk about his frames.

“The wood up here is wonderful; one of my other hobbies is turning bowls out of the native woods” he says.

He uses a variety of native and reclaimed woods to make his frames. Dr. Brown’s work captures the natural beauty of local plants and woods in combinations that many people find very pleasing to the eye.

“I have learned a lot about paper making, framing, mat cutting for a craft which is truly nothing useful as my wife puts it; it has been most enjoyable.”

This exhibit will be on display in the Highland Public Library through the middle of July. Dr. Brown’s greeting cards made in this unique style are available in two galleries in downtown Staunton, Virginia.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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