NESBA Exhibit, Shaker Gifts: Seeds, Herbs and Medicinal Plants opens at Fruitlands Museum

This group exhibition by the New England Society of Botanical Artists came together from a thematic call for work celebrating the strong heritage of Shaker seeds, herbs, and medicinal plants in Harvard and the surrounding region. Inspired by Fruitlands Museum’s important collection of Shaker artifacts, including an Herbarium by Elisha Myrick, an early seed broadside from Shirley by Oliver Burt, and some of the earliest seed packets themselves, a packaging and selling system created by Shakers. Select paintings will be exhibited in the historic Shaker Office, with the main group on display in the Wayside Community Gallery.

The Shakers are credited with developing the idea of putting seeds in small paper envelope-style packets to sell to the general public.

Shakers sold hundreds of kinds of dried herbs, herb extracts, herb oils and herbal patent medicines, earning an income that rivaled or exceeded that of their horticultural specialty, vegetable seeds. 

During the 19th century, however, the Shakers were probably best known for the herbal and medicinal preparations. The the American public moved toward the practice of “vegetable medicine.” Herbs were ingested or applied in dry form, or via fluid extracts and compounded medicines. The Shaker physicians and herbalists were known throughout the United States, and even in Europe, for their expertise in growing, drying, pressing, and extracting botanical medicines. 

On April 13, Galen Beale met with NESBA members.  

The Shaker Medicinal Herb Business is fascinating.  Harvard, as you know, had a huge herb business. Originally the Shakers made Herbariums [I think Fruitlands has one] to identify plants, but the Shakers never got into full scale botanical drawings with the exception Helena Sarle.
I would talk about primarily the New England Shaker Villages, their herbs, catalogs, ephemera and medicines and the men and women who produced them. When I was herbalist at Canterbury Shaker Village years ago I became fascinated with their medicinal business and compiled my research into a book entitled "The Earth Shall Blossom, Shaker Herbs and Gardens".  So I love the topic!
Galen Beale

 The exhibit opened with a reception on May 23.
The Fruitlands Museum
102 Prospect Hill Rd
Harvard, MA 01451
May 15 - September 8, 2019
Closed Tues

Call for Entry: SHAKER GIFTS: Seeds, Herbs, and Medicinal Plants

 May 15- Sept 8, 2019, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard MA
 Call for Entries: New England Society of Botanical Artists members’ exhibit at     Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA is open to any NESBA member in good standing (dues   paid).  Members may submit up to 2 works (space permitting)    

 Subject/Theme of the Exhibit:  SHAKER GIFTS: Seeds, Herbs, and Medicinal Plants 

 Due dates:
             Deadline for submission of Intent to Exhibit form* and wall label info and 
              (Artist Statement if submitting one): Thursday, April 25, 2019
         ■   Deadline for delivery of artwork to your delivery person: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
             OR as determined by your delivery person) Artwork may be priced for sale or labeled “Not For Sale.”
         ■   Artwork commission 60/40.
         ■   Exhibit hanging date: Monday, May 13, 2019         
          Retrieve your artwork from exhibit by arrangement with your delivery person     
  * Intent to Exhibit Form: See NESBA website for the Intent to Exhibit form and submit by Thurs., April 25,
         2019 Submit on line:
         or print and mail to: Nancy Horrall at 26 Bowers Rd. Harvard, MA 01451

Framing:  Please follow NESBA standards for this exhibit: white or off-white mats and simple, wood frame in a light, medium or gold wood color, plexiglass. No saw-tooth hangers. All artwork must be delivered in a bubble wrap “envelope” (see website for instructions on how to make one). No packing peanuts or artwork will be returned.
Packaging and Labeling:
Three labels can be found on the NESBA blogspot: and are to be used as follows:
1. Download PDF, print and fill out form.
2. Attach one label to back of artwork in lower corner.
3. Attach second label to front of the bubble wrap envelope so that your artwork is returned to you in your envelope.
     (see website for how to make a bubble wrap envelope)
4. Enclose third label in a Ziploc bag with $10 cash or check for hanging fee for each piece hung.

Delivery contact people for this exhibit:
Wellesley area: Celeste Hurley   Cape Cod: Ellen Duarte
Boston & North: Joyce Westner    West area: Nancy Horrall    South Shore: Sarah Roche

Artwork may be shipped via UPS or USPS to Joyce Westner by prior arrangement; please include return postage. Please contact Nancy Horrall
with details of any other drop off and/or pickup arrangements not listed above at:

Artist Statement: If you are submitting an artist statement/bio to be included in the exhibit’s promotional material, please send a one-page statement with your “Intent to Exhibit” form to Nancy Horrall. Guidelines for your statement are posted on the NESBA website. Artist Statements are optional. A small number of business cards may be included with your artist statement.
NESBA is unable to assume liability during the show.  Artists exhibit at their own risk. All artwork will be handled with the utmost care.  Artwork may not be removed prior to scheduled end of the exhibit. All due care will be exercised in handling the works submitted. The artist is responsible or secure framing and suspension

NESBA at the Boston Flower Show 2019

With spring flowers all around and the smell of fresh bark mulch,  Members of NESBA set up our display at the Boston Flower Show- March 13-17 at the Seaport World Trade Center

 The Boston Flower Show is an annual event at the World Seaport Trade Center.
200 Seaport Blvd
Boston MA

 NESBA members will be in the exhibit to meet the public and talk about their work.

Visitors enjoy the Show!

NESBA Talks of 2018, chaired by Suellen Perold

Programming for the past 4 calendar years has focused on education: What can NESBA members learn to make themselves better botanical artists? That has been the question; the challenge then was: What are different ways we can learn? Our NESBA talks aspired to be one of the ways of becoming a teachable moment. 

I hope you enjoy these inspirational talks as much as we have creating them.

First a huge shout out to Brian Bradley, our videographer, who rose way beyond the call of duty, to make these talks available. Thank you for your skillful filmaking and for being so available for all your tech help! 

Suellen Perold

Joan Pierce
"What I learned as President president of NESBA"

Deborah Cassady
"Paul Stankard: Botanical Artistry in Glass"

Jan Boyd
"Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio"

NESBA ends 2018 with a Celebration.


NESBA members celebrated a year of exciting programs at the Annual Holiday Party

In January we traveled to see the historic botanical pieces from the Arnold Arboretum’s library. First greeted by director of the arboretum, William Friedman, and then guided through the collection by librarian Lisa Pierson, we were treated to see works by Hooker, Martuis, Humbolt, Jacquin, Knoop, Catesby, Rousseau and more. 

At Tower Hill Botanical Garden Frank Bissette led the group and the tour was in the main entrance gardens and vegetable gardens. There were many examples of familiar and unusual plants, such as black tomatoes and milkweed "Bucky Balls", were visually exciting and inspiring. 

Members participated in several exhibits throughout the year.

"Seasons of the Leaf Exhibit " at the South Shore Natural Science Center included workshops by NESBA members.

For the 5th straight year The Friends of Borderland State Park in Easton, MA have invited NESBA to put on its much enjoyed Demo Day. The Friends consider NESBA's Demo Day to be its most successful event for the general public.

The annual participation in the Boston Flower Show is a highlight event in the NESBA calendar. The exhibit is open to all members and is always well received by the public.

A NESBA members’ juried exhibit at the 2018 Newport Flower Show took place at Rosecliff Mansion in Newport RI on Friday June 22 thru Sunday June 24, 2018.

Speakers presented enlightening programs

Glorianna Davenport Co Founder of the MIT Media Lab and owner of Tidmarsh Farms gave a talk on restoration of the working cranberry farm into the largest freshwater ecological project in the northeast. After the program members met at Tidmarsh Farm for a day of sketching and painting.

"Linda Karlsberg's presentation on Saturday was terrific. Her method of investigating the effects of light on well-defined subjects, as she illustrated with her extensive series of beautiful water lily and lotus paintings, was clearly presented and inspiring. "