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Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm)
Stem: 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Flower: 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
Artificial flowers and trees
United States
Artist, Helen Hornberger, revived the techniques of French tole to create naturalistic representations of the state flowers. The artist used thin copper sheets as her base, and painted them with oil paint in the natural colors of the blossoms and leaves of the Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium). Small purple berries grow on three stalks among brown and green leaves with serrated edges that have a small spike at the tip along a brown branch.
Label Text:
The Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago proposed that each U.S. state and territory select a flower to represent their state in the “National Garland of Flowers.” This resulted in the National Floral Emblem Society. Each state has adopted to represent the state and its people based on their importance to the state’s history, economy, folklore, or native varieties. Tole artist Helen Hornberger created each artificial flower representing each state to create for a bouquet displaying America’s floral diversity.
OREGON: The Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) was designated the official state flower of Oregon in 1899. Also called, Holly-Leaved Barberry, the Oregon Grape is a low-growing plant that is similar to a shrub. It has year round foliage that resembles holly. The foliage are also wilt-resistant making them a useful foliage for florists to use in their arrangements. In early summer, the Oregon Grape blossoms with dainty yellow flowers that ripen into berries in the fall. This flower derives its name from these blue-purple berries that grow in clusters similar to grapes. However, this plant is unrelated to the grapes that are found in a supermarket. The Oregon Grape is native west of the Cascade Mountains reaching as far north as British Columbia and south to California in the Pacific Coastal regions. It thrives in the mountainous regions and alongside rivers, and was documented by Meriwether Lewis as “Mountain Holly” during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Oregon  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Helen Hornberger.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens