Lecanopteris Mirabilis
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis  Hand-bound artist book: cut paper, ink, colored pencil, intaglio, and screen print on paper
Lecanopteris Mirabilis
2014
Hand-bound artist book: cut paper, ink, colored pencil, intaglio, and screen print on paper
25" x 26" closed; 41" x 34" open
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis


NOTHING BLOOMS IN A FLOOD, BUT SPRING ALWAYS COMES BACK THE SAME.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis

Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis

Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis

Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
1

LECANOPTERIS MIRABILIS
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
2

Why ask my generation?
As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
3

One can easily overlook the fern
called lecanopteris mirabilis,
especially in a rainforest with other ferns.
Like other ferns,
the leaves of a lecanopteris mirabilis
consist of a long straw like axis
where smaller leaves are attached symmetrically.
It looks old,
prehistoric, and from another time.
The lecanopteris mirabilis also appears
sickly, as if age has gotten the best of it:
its skin is covered in moles, and
it grows out of a giant wart-like rhizome.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
4

The lecanopteris mirabilis is old,
prehistoric, and from another time,
it is Philemon and Baucis who
offered me shelter a long,
long time ago.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
5

There was a day
when Zeus and I disguised ourselves
as mortals; I was his son.
We sought shelter from thousands of homes,
all of which refused us until
we came to the home of poor
old Philemon and Baucis.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
6

They hosted us with
cabbage from the garden, smoked bacon,
green and black olives,
endive and radishes,
cream cheese, eggs, nuts,
dried dates, plum, fragrant apples,
and purple grapes.

Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
7

The wine kept welling up in
the mixing bowl all by itself,

but this was our doing.
Pious Baucis and sweet Philemon were
embarrassed by the phenomenon and
wanted to kill
their only goose for us to eat.
They tried to catch the animal, but
their frail bodies could not move fast enough.
We told them to just let the goose live;
spring was coming.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
8

Zeus and I told Philemon and Baucis to
climb to the highest point that they could,
so that we could punish the
thousands of people who did not shelter us.
The old couple did as we told, and
when they turned around they saw
everything covered with water,
except for their house.

They heard the cries of
mothers wailing,
and some patches of water
turned a pomegranate color.
What was their small house,
we turned into a temple and
Zeus granted them one wish.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
9

They wished to spend their lives together in
harmony.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
10

They took care of the temple and
one day their wish came true.
Philemon saw Baucis, and
Baucis saw Philemon

sprout.
The moles on her skin became spores
as her face split into bundles of leaves,
her hair twisting into long shoots.
The warts on his body merged
into one
as his body collapsed into lumps
of woody material.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
11

They became the lecanopteris mirabilis,
the epiphyte that clings onto
the large trunks of trees
by its roots.
Philemon became the rhizome,
and Baucis became the fern leaves.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
12

If you were to see one in the rainforest,
you might notice that
there are ants crawling all over this plant.
That is because the lecanopteris mirabilis and
the ants share a mutual relationship.
Inside the rhizome of the lecanopteris mirabilis
are tunnels, cool coiling tunnels
for the ants to thrive.
The tunnels keep evolving because
the ants continue to crawl all over
the intricate body of the lecanopteris mirabilis
making it unattractive to herbivores.
The lecanopteris mirabilis trusts the ants
but if the ants cheat the relationship
by not showing their fleshy bodies to
hungry butterflies and parrots,
it can stop growing the nutritious tunnels.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
13

Foolish leaves.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
14

As if a temple has any authority.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
15

I am the ants.
And the ants choose where to live.
When it floods, the ants
merge together to become a raft
and they can go anywhere.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
16

The lecanopteris mirabilis can only hang high,
because the floods do not discriminate.
Nothing blooms in a flood.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
17

Philemon and Baucis can only hang high,
because the floods do not discriminate.
Nothing blooms in a flood.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
18

If an epiphyte thrives in an environment,
there is no need for
sexual reproduction—the production of
an individual.
Vegetative reproduction—the production of
a clone, is preferable
as it maintains the harmony with the habitat.
The population stays strong;
it becomes a biomass of
genetically identical organisms physically
separate in every way.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
19

Beneath the leaves of the lecanopteris mirabilis
are many moles.
They are spores
that are seeds.
When they are taken by
the wind and land
somewhere else, there is potential for them
to sprout and become
a genetically unique individual.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
20

But, many of these moles will
never become new heroes.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
21

Instead, when lightning strikes in
a thunderstorm,
the rhizome of the lecanopteris mirabilis breaks
and the leaves fall like limbs
tumbling out of a wreck.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
22

After the storm,
after the flood,
and after the separate chunks of plant
land on nearby host trees,
they will sprout.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
23

They will sprout Philemon and Baucis
again, and again.
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
24

Lecanopteris Mirabilis

This unique artist book was written and created by the artist,
Tammy Nguyen.

The italicized texts were taken from the following:

Homer. The Iliad of Homer. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Illus. Leonard Baskin. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press,
1962. Print.

Ovid. Metamorphoses. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2010. Print.

The papers used in this book include 120g Magnani Arturo
Celadon, a variety of Japanese rice papers, 90lb Stonehenge Fawn, and Yupo paper. Images are drawn with ink pen and colored
pencil. The printing methods used include intaglio and silkscreen. The book is wrapped in silk and the boards are made from 1/4” MDF and 1/8” hardboard. The adhesives used include Jade glue and Gudy-O. Aluminum posts are used where parts pivot. The fonts used include Quadrata Roma Medium Oblique 25pt and Calisto MT Regular and Italic, 30pt.

This book is one of three in the series: Hermes, the Epiphytes.

Copyright © 2014

[signed]

Tammy Nguyen
Tammy Nguyen Lecanopteris Mirabilis
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