The 50 States Made With Things From Nature

lissa kennedy
lissa kennedy / lissa kennedy

In the past, we've covered many reimagining of states, including state plates and punny food states. Today, we're taking a look at the work of artist Lissa Kennedy, who has been working on a series called "The Organic States of America." The series features natural materials that are shaped like each of the 50 states; so far Kennedy has completed about 20 of them. 

Kennedy got the idea to start the project while playing with her children. "I was doing a sensory activity (getting babies used to textures) using pinto beans with my toddler," she explains to mental_floss in an e-mail. "While he was scattering them around the room, I started making the beans into shapes with my preschool-aged son so he could be involved too. We decided to make Utah because it's a simple shape that he could do and it's where we're from. I really liked the simplicity of it, so I took a picture and the idea grew from there!" 

Utah made from honey and wildflowers

Each state is made up of materials relevant to the state it embodies. For example, Utah is made from honey because it's the Beehive State, and New York is made from apple seeds because it's a large supplier of the fruit. Kennedy hunts down the materials—which sometimes come from her own backyard—and because they're often perishable, she needs to work quickly. Usually, Kennedy assembles the materials into a state in one sitting and then photographs them with natural light.

"I've always been interested in minimalism and modern design, as well as being constantly inspired by nature and my surroundings," she says. "With this project, I've been able to couple those interests into something that I think is pretty unique."

You can follow Kennedy's progress on Instagram at @milkhouseprints or buy a print here.

Alaska made from ice, pine needles, flowers, and blueberries

Nevada made from rocks, flowers, and succulents

Wyoming made from quaking aspen leaves and wildflowers

New York made from apple seeds, flowers, and foliage

New Mexico made from chili powder, salt, flower, dried chili peppers, and hominy

Texas made from woven leather and wildflowers

All images courtesy of Lissa Kennedy.