Rhipsalis Ramulosa
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa Hand-bound artist book: cut paper, ink, colored pencil,  woodblock, and screen print on paper
Rhipsalis Ramulosa
2014
Hand-bound artist book: cut paper, ink, colored pencil, woodblock, and screen print on paper
26" x 24" closed; 33" x 52" open
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa

Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa

Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa


The Greek word for spring is hŌra,
which shares the same root as hero.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa

Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa

Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa

Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa

Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa

Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
1

RHIPSALIS RAMULOSA
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
2

Why ask my generation?
As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
3

If you are in Central America,
you might see a rhipsalis ramulosa,
but it shouldn’t be there,
it shouldn’t exist.
You see, the genus Rhipsalis
are cacti and cacti are
originally from North America.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
4

A long time ago, a bird traveled
from present day Tuscan to Managua,
and carried a cactus fruit seed
inside of its stomach.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
5

The bird found rest on the bed
of a tropical forest,
where it released the seed into the soil.
The likelihood of this
seed sprouting,
never mind surviving,
was slim to none. However,
on this rare occasion,
a mutant cactus emerged,
and it found the dense air ideal
for a new life.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
6

This cactus is the rhipsalis ramulosa,
the epiphyte that clings onto
the large trunks of trees
by its roots.
Each leaf is long and ovular,
they have the thickness of an ear lobe,
and the redness of blushed cheeks.
Each leaf has a long flexible stem,
which connects it to the next leaf.
Each leaf is healthy and heavy,
making the plant droop
as it climbs around the forest.
Many people call this plant
the devil’s tongue.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
7

But these are hanging tongues of Persephone
who was taken from her mother and
raped by Hades.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
8

Demeter,
the goddess of harvest and
Persephone’s mother,
remembers that day when
a sharp pain gripped her heart, and
her seedling was taken away from her.
None of the birds flying
between Tuscan and Managua
came to her as a truthful messenger.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
9

Demeter had
lost her immortal daughter,
and as Persephone
bled in the underworld,
her mother wailed.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
10

To make up for the loss of Persephone,
Demeter thought that she could raise
a boy into a hero,
immortal and ageless forever.
But men are too foolish
to know ahead of time
the measure of good and evil
which is yet to come and
it is not possible for him to
escape the fate of death.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
11

Her failure turned into rage,
the goddess of harvest left
the earth barren, and
she contemplated a great scheme to destroy
the feeble races of earth-born men.

Zeus needed to prevent this and
commanded Hades to return his
beloved Persephone to her mother.
However, Hades offered Persephone to
eat a honey-sweet pomegranate seed.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
12

The seeds of the rhipsalis ramulosa
grow on the edges of the
tongue-shaped leaf.
They are kept inside
white iridescent round pearls that look
like pomegranate seeds that have
lost their blood.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
13

Demeter suspected trickery when
she embraced the return of her Persephone.
Sure enough, by Persephone
eating the pomegranate seeds,
she was not fully returned to her mother.
Instead, she shall fly and
go to the depths of the earth
to dwell there a third of seasons in the year,
spending two seasons
with her mother
and the other with immortals.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
14

Near present day Tuscan
where many of the cacti live,
the fruits bloom with
every kind of sweet-smell

in the season of spring.
Then when it is winter in Tuscan,
the white pomegranate seeds of
the rhipsalis ramulosa bloom with
every kind of sweet-smell

in Managua.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
15

The bird found rest on the bed
of a tropical forest, where it
released Persephone into the soil.
The likelihood of Persephone sprouting,
nevermind surviving,
was slim to none. However,
on this rare occasion,
a mutant Persephone emerged, and
she found the dense air ideal for
a new life.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
16

Persephone is always the mistress
of the underworld and she always
goes back to her mother in the spring.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
17

The rhipsalis ramulosa is the mistress
of Managua, and the same flowers bloom
in the Tuscan every spring.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
18

The rhipsalis ramulosa only needed
to be a mutant once,
the one time Persephone was raped.
As an epiphyte, Persephone
does not want to relive Hades’ ravage,
so she does not spread her seeds.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
19

If an epiphyte
thrives in an environment,
there is no need for
sexual reproduction—the production of
an individual.
Vegetative reproduction—the production of
a clone, is preferable
as it maintains the harmony
with the habitat.
The population stays strong;
it becomes a biomass of
genetically identical organisms physically
separate in every way.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
20

Persephone is one seed that clones.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
21

The rhipsalis ramulosa clones.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
22

Persephone’s tongues fall off and
become new sprouts.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
23

Persephone is one seed that clones.
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
24

Rhipsalis Ramulosa

This unique artist book was written and created by the artist,
Tammy Nguyen.

The italicized texts were taken from the following:

Homer. The Iliad of Homer. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Illus.
Leonard Baskin. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press,
1962. Print.

Homer. The Homeric Hymns. Trans. Apostolos N. Athanassakis.
London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. Print.

The papers used in this book include 120g Magnani Arturo Pink, a variety of Japanese rice papers, 90lb Stonehenge Fawn, and Yupo
paper. Images are drawn with ink pen and colored pencil. The
printing methods used include water based woodblock and silkscreen. The book is wrapped in silk and the boards are made from 1/4” MDF and 1/8” hardboard. The adhesives used include Jade glue and Gudy-O. Aluminum posts are used where parts pivot. The fonts used include Quadrata Roma Medium Oblique 25pt and Calisto MT
Regular and Italic, 30pt.

This book is one of three in the series: Hermes, the Epiphytes.

Copyright © 2014

[signed]

Tammy Nguyen
Tammy Nguyen Rhipsalis Ramulosa
back cover
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