Cape Breton Foray 2017

Every year Amish Morrell and I host an informal mushroom foray in Big Intervale, Cape Breton for people in the nearby community. It works as a means for us to practice mushrooming, to know and learn more about the surrounding landscape, and is a way to bring various kinds of community members - locals and newcomers -  with knowledge of place, of history, of foraging, art, geology, botany, mycology and more - together to share facts, ideas, skills and stories. 



Olfactory Mapping

Finally our Olfactory Map of Sterling Road is finished! See the design by JP King, printed by Paper Pusher. It will be exhibited at the Drake Commissary in 2017.

See here for details on the project:

Olfactory Map of Sterling Road


Sogetsu Ikebana Show, Toronto Botanical Gardens

 In my second Ikebana show I presented three pieces made of driftwood, hardware, eavestrough piping, allium, ground cherries, and modern Japanese ceramic containers.

Finally, my Ikebana teacher toured my son around the exhibition, describing the logic of each arrangement in great detail. 

Toronto Botanical Gardens, images from the Sogetsu exhibition, 2017.

ALMANAC: Mushroom Forays by Diane Borsato

Maggie Groat just launched this wonderful publication, and I'm pleased to have this piece in it - about my ongoing practice of leading mushroom forays for artists and students. For the full text see below.

Mushroom Forays, by Diane Borsato, ALMANAC, edited by Maggie Groat, includes contributions from Basil AlZeri, KWAG senior curator Crystal Mowry, Diane Borsato, Dylan Miner, Faith La Rocque, FASTWÜRMS, Jason de Haan, Jesse Harris, Jimmy Limit, Kara Uzelman, Kelly Jazvac, Open Structures, Tanya Busse and Joar Nango, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Walter Scott, Alicia Nauta, Amish Morrell, and Anne Riley.published by the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Ontario, 2017.

Outdoor School at the University of Guelph

I have been teaching two courses at the University of Guelph entitled Outdoor School - one introduces advanced studio art students to consider the practices of various other cultural practitioners including naturalists, creative activists, farmers, navigators, and horticulturalists. Students create and participate in Survival Tips workshops, do outdoor reading performances, go on hikes and forays, join a club, and create multi-disciplinary ecologically-themed final projects. 

The other introduces first-year (mostly) biology students to read and analyze critical texts from contemporary art, cultural geography, indigenous ecology, and literary non-fiction. Together we participate in field-based activities, performances and workshops.

For an informal blog of our class activities, ecologically themed contemporary art, and a growing archive of student work click here. 

Banff Stillness Residency: Plant Walk and Forest Tea

In the fall of 2016 I co-led The Art of Stillness Residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts with Christopher House, Pico Iyer and Richard Reed Perry.

As a part of the program, I co-ordinated a walk through the Mike MacDonald Butterfly Garden Artist project at the Walter Phillips Gallery with Katherine Ylitalo. 

Together we walked through the woods to a look-out where I served the group of artists tea smoked over pine needles. 

Wildflower ID at the High Park Nature Centre

I took a workshop with Richard Aaron at the High Park Nature Centre and practiced using the Newcomb's Field Guide to identifying wildflowers.

Among the species identified in early June were: 

Motherwort(Leonurus cardiaca) JapaneseKnotweed (name in Newcomb’s: Polygonum cuspidatum – nowcalled Fallopia japonica) YellowWood Sorrel (Oxalis europaea)  PoisonIvy (name in Newcomb’s: Rhus radicans – now called Toxicodendronradicans) Hairy Beardtongue (Penstemonhirsutus) White Clover (Trifoliumrepens) Black Medick (Medicagolupulina) Shepherd’s Purse (Capsellabursa-pastoris) Pineapple Weed (namein Newcomb's: Matricaria matricarioides – now called Matricariadiscoidea) Yellow Avens (Geumaleppicum) Common Fleabane (akaPhiladelphia Fleabane) (Erigeron philadelphicus) Garlic Mustard (namein Newcomb’s: Alliaria officinalis – now called Alliariapetiolata) Celandine (Chelidoniummajus) (called Greater Celandine is some field guides to distinguishit from Lesser Celandine, which is an unrelated plant) False Solomon's Seal(Smilacina racemosa) Pale Swallowwort (Cynanchumrossicum) – not in Newcomb’s, Wild Geranium (Geraniummaculatum)  Wild Lupine (Lupinusperennis) Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralianudicaulis)

Apiary Project for Greenest City

I'm excited to begin a new partnership - with Greenest City and students from the Parkdale Public Library English as a Second Language program to keep bees in the Milky Way Garden. After an introduction to bees and beekeeping for the ESL class, I met some participants eager to work together to create an apiary in the next year. 

The Milky Way Garden is a piece of land donated by artist Stephen Andrews and filmaker John Greyson set to be a community-owned urban agriculture site for hosting environmental projects that increase access to healthy fresh food, while creating opportunities for environmental learning and community connections.