. . . Underground Women: Designing New Landscapes . . .
During the early 20th Century, as Berthe Morisot, Georgia O'Keeffe and Emily Carr were painting natural landscapes on canvas, Beatrix Farrand, Marion Mahony Griffin and May T. Watts were working with native plants to enrich our relationship with the earth. These women were early pioneers, working underground within their male dominated fields. Beatrix Farrand was a woman landscape architect who created her own landscape business and provided regular consulting for many institutions including the White House, while innovating a nursery exchange program between universities and the Morton Arboretum in Illinois. Marion Mahony Griffin was the first Illinois licensed women architect who graduated from MIT for her design of an artist's home studio residence. Griffin worked for Frank Lloyd Wright and many of her delineations were published in his renowned Wasmuth portfolio. She also collaborated with her husband, architect Walter Burley Griffin on the award-winning plan for Canberra. While living in Australia, she created a series of forest portraits of the Australian landscape. Back in Illinois, May T. Watts graduated from Dr. Henry Cowles pilot ecology program at the University of Chicago, which was established to help conserve the Indiana Dunes and was considered a model ecology program in the U.S. May T. Watts was a staff scientist at the Morton Arboretum who wrote the popular text, 'Reading the Landscape in America.' Many seeds can be gathered from the early history of these women pioneers to enliven curriculum and inspire further research. They were underground visionaries, forging new pathways as women in their fields. This paper presentation will explore their intersecting histories, which were discovered while working on a unique, cooperative game experience called A Bee’s Dream.
**Beatrix Farrand, Marion Mahony Griffin and May T. Watts were contemporaries of Jens Jensen. Griffin and Watts both appear with their inspirations on gingko leaves in Prairie Prose.