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linnaeus who? // a cowl's story

It's a cowl, it's not necessarily a work of art, but it is a work of thought. 

I've always been interested in the insides of things, but only as far as my stomach would allow. My scientific, proof-driven brain stops being in charge somewhere between cockroaches and blood. But I've always wanted to know more about how things work.

When I lived in Amsterdam, I was there in the wettest part of winter. Everything was gray most of the time and the days were ridiculously short. Everything was wet. All the time. And not good wet, but muddy and nearly frozen too. I had to seek beauty indoors. The Hortus Botanicus (just a fancy name for a botanical garden) was a place to escape the drear. I'm not big on being hot; I'd much rather be cold. But standing in that giant glass room surrounded by plants I'm pretty sure could've eaten me if they became animate, I felt transported back to the golden age of scientific research. [If you haven't read Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things, I highly recommend it. It's a great entry into this era of scientific thinking.] However, Amsterdam and Europe in general, isn't a great place for tropical plants. So early botanists had to bring them to places like the Hortus and keep them under glass.


But what about the things they couldn't just scoop up and stow away like fish that lived in the deepest ocean trenches? Well, for a long time scientists made educated guesses about what those creatures looked like...or they got crazy inventive. 

Linnaeus was named for Carl Linnaeus (or Carl von Linné, at left) who first devised the system of binomial nomenclature by which all organisms are arranged.

At some point in my travels, I stumbled upon a museum with a collection of specimens arranged in an office that would have looked much like Linnaeus's. Wood cabinets at a high polish, jars full of who knows what, and beautiful sketches that Linnaeus made of each thing he collected. 

So this is the point of the story where I tell you that my cowl looks like an anemone for a reason. It all started with these gorgeous etchings and the guy in the funky wig over here. And Amsterdam, which is never far from my mind.

You can buy Linnaeus on Ravelry

a geometric finished object // kahel by corinna ferguson

review // strauch fiber company ball winder and swift