Rothshank Roots

Rothshank Roots

2020 Land Research Project Year


Our personal creative manifesto includes a commitment to respect and cherish our environment. A global changing climate compels us to ask what we can do. We plan to use this year to deepen our appreciation and understanding of our immediate environment, a wooded and swampy region in Northern Indiana.

At the beginning of 2020 Brooke and I committed to taking a weekly walk thru our 20 acre woods together, with our 3 children.. After completing several collaborative projects over the past years, we setup this project in an effort to learn more about the land and landscape where we live. Previous collaborative projects focused on gratitude and intentional living.


Our commitment was to identify one plant species growing in our woods each week. Some would already be familiar to us, but others were brand new. This was a way to educate ourselves. After selecting the plant, Brooke would complete a line drawing of the plant. I then took each line drawing and converted it into a ceramic decal. Each decal image was applied to a handmade vase glazed with a simple clear celedon glaze. The finished vase serves as a record of each plant we discovered over the course of the year of 2020.


While the year of recording our discoveries is completed, research on our land is ongoing. The natural environment heavily influences the artwork we both create. We're continuing to research the history of ownership of our land, knowing we will eventually trace the history back to when the land was used by the Potawatomi Nation. We continue to be inspired by the land, drawing inspiration from the leaves, flowers, animals, and landscape in general.



  1. Canada Goldenrod

  2. Yellow Indiangrass

  3. Stiff Goldenrod

  4. Norway Spruce

  5. Eastern White Pine

  6. Sweetgum

  7. Ash bark

  8. Big Red stem moss

  9. Pear

  10. Silver Maple

  11. Bracket Fungus

  12. Black Walnut

  13. Speedwell

  14. Birch bark

  15. Cutleaf Toothwort

  16. Yellow Trout Lilly

  17. Ramp

  18. Roundlobe Hepatica

  19. Harbinger of Spring

  20. Hairy Bittercress

  21. Dutchman's Britches

  22. Daffodil

  23. Trillium

  24. Rue Anemone

  25. Virginia Spring Beauty

  26. Purple Dead Nettle

  27. Wild Blue Phlox

  28. Garlic Mustard

  29. Cleavers

  30. May Apple

  31. Tulip Tree

  32. Multiflora Rose

  33. Peruvian Daisy

  34. Pheasant Back

  35. Oriental Lady's Thumb

  36. Beggar's Lice

  37. Chicken of the Woods

  38. Red Clover

  39. Bird's Foot Trefoil

  40. Paw Paw

  41. Tall Blue Lettuce

  42. Morel

  43. Violet

  44. Black Raspberry

  45. Oak

  46. Canada Wild Rye

  47. Polyporaceae

  48. Pokeweed

  49. Yellow Giant Hyssop

  50. Tall Flat Sedge

  51. Black Snake Root

  52. Chickweed


We recognize that the land we live on is the ancestral home of the Potawatomi Nation. The Potawatomi people were stewards of this land for many generations leading up to an unjust treaty in 1828 when the land was taken by the United States Government and the Potawatomi were forcefully removed and relocated.

Learning about the historical, botanical, and ecological roots of this land is at the heart of our project for the year. Documenting the plants that grow here is our way to honor the natural environment in its present state. We hope by researching the past and engaging the present in this place that we will be able to better understand how to care for its future.