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CUERNOS COLLECTION: WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Written by Marisa Howard

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Posted on March 14 2018

Naming the collection is one of the final steps in the process. Once the series is complete, I look at the collection as a whole. The name doesn't always correlate directly to the piece. Rather, they capture and honor the place that I was when the collection came together. 

The naming of this collection is a little unique. Most of the names correlate to words or parts of words related to Staghorn Ferns. This genus of plants holds a special place in my heart after caring for my friends favorite Staghorn while he fought, and eventually lost, a battle with cancer. 

Here are the names that make up the Cuernos Collection. 

RIDLEY - British botanist that discovered a species of Staghorn in singapore and was the first director of the Singapore botanical gardens

CORON - An island in the Philippines where Staghorns are prevalent 

PALMATA - The Hand Fern, is a dwarf staghorn, currently endangered in Florida, grows in the swampy area

MADAGAS - Madagascar is one of the areas that these tropical plants are native to

LYGO - The snake fern, Lygodium microphyllum, can form dense canopies by climbing and spreading between trees

RHUS - Rhus Thyphina, the staghorn sumac, "the branches are rough like antlers of velvet" and it produces dark red clumps of red fruit that look like cone shapes blooms

TOTIS - Platycerium Elephantotis, a staghorn that doesn't fork at all but forms rounded leaves with a deeply veined texture

ARIUM - a suffix that can be added to a word to indicate an artificial environment for plants, because sometimes you need to create your own space to thrive

EPIPHYTE - A plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic, they take part in the nutrient cycle of their host. The staghorn fern is an epiphyte

FROND - The leaf portion of the staghorn fern

BIFUR - bifurcation, the formation of divides or branches on a frond

ZALA - a type of aquatic plants

CATUM - Platycerium catum, a very regal looking species of staghorn

ELLIS - Platycerium Ellisii, a lovely full sprouting staghorn, that is a challenge to maintain

ANDINUM - This staghorn forms a full ring around the host plant, native to Peru

CERIUM - Platycerium, the genus that staghorns are a part of 

AZOLLA -  a family of aquatic ferns that has a moss-like appearance

 (miss you buddy)

The words Cuernos, has a variety of meanings through translation. My favorite is how it is used in this phrase for emphasis. In English we might say "the hell" or "on Earth" to provide the same sort of emphasis. 

¿Qué cuernos está pasando?  What the hell is going on?  (Read this blog post to see how this fits into the design process)

Cuernos can also mean horns - as in "take it by the horns" or in this case, horns as in staghorns perhaps. Which isn't a perfect translation but you get the idea. 

Cuernos can also mean cheating "pone los cuernos" - which can also tie back into the idea from my previous blog post and how our bodies betray us. (maybe that's a stretch, but I think it's interesting)

I hope you enjoy the behind the scenes look into the process of bringing these new collections together.  It is an abstract and personal process but each layer has its own set of meanings.  

Feel free to leave comments or questions.  

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