kristen s. wilkins

Reading List 2021

  • “Station Eleven”, Emily St. John Mandel
  • “Parable of the Sower”, Octavia Butler
  • “Parable of the Talents”, Octavia Butler
  • “Lilith’s Brood: Dawn”, Octavia Butler
  • “Lilith’s Brood: Adulthood Rites”, Octavia Butler

  • “Lilith’s Brood: Imago”, Octavia Butler
  • “Seeds to Harvest: Wild Seed”, Octavia Butler
  • “Seeds to Harvest: Mind of My Mind”, Octavia Butler
  • “The Cinderella Murder”, Mary Higgins Clark
  • “The Witch Elm”, Tana French

  • “In the Woods”, Tana French
  • “Salvage the Bones”, Jesmyn Ward
  • “Oryx and Crake”, Margaret Atwood
  • “The Year of the Flood”, Margaret Atwood
  • “MaddAddam”, Margaret Atwood

  • “Swing Time”, Zadie Smith
  • “The Likeness”, Tana French
  • “The Power”, Naomi Alderman 
  • “Red at the Bone”, Jaqueline Woodson
  • “An American Marriage”, Tayari Jones

  • “Another Country”, James Baldwin (in progress)
  • “Homecoming”, Yaa Gyasi (in progress)

Reading List, 2020

(List of things I finished reading in 2020, in groups of 10 - updated often)

  • “True Crime Addict” by James Renner
  • “The Real Lolita” by Sarah Weinman
  • “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs
  • “Hollow City” by Ransom Riggs
  • “Library of Souls” by Ransom Riggs
  • “A Map of Days” by Ransom Riggs
  • “The Conference of the Birds” by Ransom Riggs
  • “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Greene
  • “Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver
  • “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tart

  • “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness
  • “Shadow of Night” by Deborah Harkness
  • “The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness
  • “An Unexplained Death” by Mikita Brottman
  • “Lost Girls” by Robert Kolker
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann
  • “Beheld” by TaraShea Nesbit
  • “Eleanor Oliphant is Fine” by Gail Honeyman
  • “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb
  • “Still Life” by Louise Penny

  • “The Accursed” by Joyce Carol Oates
  • “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “Speaking of Summer” by Kalisha Buckhorn
  • “The Five” by Hallie Rubenhold
  • “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn
  • “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn
  • “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
  • “The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag” by Alan Bradley
  • “A Red Herring Without Mustard” by Alan Bradley
  • “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah


  • “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson 
  • “I am Half-Sick of Shadows” by Alan Bradley 
  • “Speaking from Among the Bones” by Alan Bradley
  • “The Dead in their Vaulted Arches” by Alan Bradley
  • “As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust” by Alan Bradley
  • “Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d” by Alan Bradley
  • “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” by Alan Bradley 
  • “The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern
  • “The Golden Tresses of the Dead” by Alan Bradley 


Final Count: 39


Alternative photograms

Japanese Stiltgrass

Asianic Dayflower, process image of the plant on the paper in the exposing frame

Asianic Dayflower, after fixing

Asianic Dayflower

Japanese Stiltgrass

Last summer, I began a body of work on invasive species that are found in the yard. We have been working to eradicate them and introduce native species, but on an acre plot, it is slow going. The invasives have their aesthetic values too, so I combined weed-pulling with the studio experience by creating  a series of lumen-photograms. Most of these images are 5” x 7”, which I found more intimate and detailed than the 11”x14” set. (Lumens are photographic images made on silver-gelatin photographic paper, exposed for a long enough length of time as to cause the image to appear without the use of a developer. The image is then “fixed” in the darkroom, which can cause fading. I experiment with dilutions of fix, and incomplete fixing processes to retain as much of the original color as I can. 

This summer, I wanted to focus my research on one plant in particular, and experiment in the ways of making the weed-pulling of this plant visually interesting with a “diy photography” approach, that is, without using a more environmentally collaborative process, with less toxic byproducts (the silver-heavy fixative can be recycled; my process makes so little, I allow it to evaporate, then discard the silver-crystaled container). 

These images were made using an “eco-printing” process, that relies on a chemical reaction between an iron acid and the tannins found in the plants. I added some other contaminants to the process, like the iron-oak-gall ink I made a few years ago, a tea-ink that never cured right, and a fermented cabbage leaf dye, which added some nice dark grey and blue tones, and some pink highlights. Then all of it was steamed for hours with the fresh-pulled weeds, which was very stinky. These prints are between 3”x4” and 5”x7”.

Plantago major, the broadleaf plantain can be found across the United States, and was one of the earliest invasive plant species brought by the colonists to establish itself in North America.

This herb is edible as a salad, as a steamed veggie, as a tea, and as a poultice to relieve pain and promote healing for stings, burns, cuts, inflammation, and eye injuries.

It is so effective and prevalent, many native groups of the Americas began incorporating it into their medicines soon after it was introduced.

They named it White Man’s Footprint, as it grew wherever the Europeans had settled.

Plantago major, the broadleaf plantain can be found across the United States, and was one of the earliest invasive plant species brought by the colonists to establish itself in North America. This herb is edible as a salad, as a steamed veggie, as a tea, and as a poultice to relieve pain and promote healing for stings, burns, cuts, inflammation, and eye injuries.  It is so effective and prevalent, many native groups of the Americas began incorporating it into their medicines soon after it was introduced. They named it White Man’s Footprint, as it grew wherever the Europeans had settled.

Stars of Bethlehem

Stars of Bethlehem

Ornithogalum umbellatum, the Star of Bethlehem, a garlic-like bulb with an attractive grass tuft formation, and pretty 6-petaled white blooms, is an invasive species that escaped the gardens it was originally planted to decorate. In Indiana, it can be found in lawns, forests, or pastures. It is toxic, though some folk medicines use it to treat life-threatening heart conditions, and some cultures include it in cuisine. 


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