Emerge: natural design

Exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery

EVENT Meet the Artist – Saturday 18 May 11pm – 1pm
An opportunity to meet me and chat about the work I have done for this exhibition, come along, I’d love to see you and chat.

emerge : natural design Arisaema griffithii Triptych - Japanese ink paste on Lambeth cartridge by Marianne Hazlewood

An exhibition of contemporary botanical illustration in pen and ink

I have been working on some new pieces for Emerge : natural design an exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery in May. I’m working solely in pen and Japanese ink paste, looking at dynamic shapes and silhouettes, and a conclave of Arisaema.

Preview on Friday 2 May

Exhibition 3 – 25 May 2024
Tuesday to Friday 11am to 5pm
Sat 11am to 4pm
Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE


My new work has roots in a few areas, emergent growth, pattern and plant architecture.

I have been working with the genus Arisaema for several years now. They are part of the Arum family, an exotic plant here in Britain, growing in mountainous regions on the edges of forests in Asia, Africa and North America. They grow from a tuber each year, producing leaves to photosynthesize and a flower to reproduce. I plant them each spring and watch the tubers develop through spring and summer. I love the plants at all stages, but I am particularly drawn to the period of early growth when they first emerge from the ground, and, later, to their amazing patterned flowers or inflorescences.

There is so much information packed into the shoots when they first break through the earth; as they grow, the outer cataphylls draw back to reveal tightly packed stems, leaves and inflorescence. It is a joy to watch these slowly un-crumple, put on length and fill out. Each species has a different botanical architecture, and the flowers, with their highly patterned spathes are among the strangest in the world.

This work focuses on these aspects and is inspired by the photography of Karl Blossfeldt, (1865-1932). Karl was an artist who photographed plant specimens at a magnified scale in the early 1900s. His celebrated book, Urformen der Kunst, (Art Forms in Nature, 1928), presented the plants, in monochrome, reduced to their structural elements, in a way that has captivated audiences ever since.

I’ve been delighted to transpose his love of detail, rhythm and structure into my own much-loved subject Arisaema. I love the way Blossfeldt exploited symmetry, recurring structure and ‘natural design’. I have been exploring this in the plants that I grow, to capture their own natural design in these mostly monochrome works in Japanese ink paste.

I think you may see, how, when my plants are growing, I turn them, to investigate from all sides. I love to see how they are packaged, and how the leaves and stems connect. I am endlessly fascinated with the silhouettes they form at certain stages, their architecture and the patina on their sturdy stems and sculptural inflorescence. I want to tell part of their story, and mine through these pieces. I hope you will enjoy these aspects as much as I have in the making of these works.


(I think there is probably a fair amount of John Wyndom in these works too… a bit of triffid here and there for the sci-fi geeks…)


If you are interested in purchasing once the exhibition has launched, please call or email
0131 557 1020

emerge : natural design Arisaema concinnium Triptych - Japanese ink paste on Lambeth cartridge by Marianne Hazlewood
Marianne Hazlewood working on an ink piece