“Flight of Pollen” Launch This Saturday

A new board game launch

By Cushla McGaughey

JiL Hemming’s new board game, Flight of Pollen, will be launched from Mahara Gallery on Saturday 2 September from 11.00am.

Research and illustrations for the game were the work of Waikanae artist, Cushla McGaughey.

JiL says there’ll be teams of players to demonstrate and/or teach visitors how to play.

There will also be sample games to view and the how-to-play video, made by Kapanui School students, will have its first showing. People are welcome to pop in any time.

The introduction, will be brief, out of consideration for the children. They will then take over the proceedings.

Cushla’s illustrative role

Tui like the nectar of the kowhai

Being free to work purely as an artist allows me full choice of subject and presentation. Working as a game illustrator, however, means that the game designer’s purpose and player engagement must come first. Either way, thorough research is needed, as well as careful observation, whether trying to capture the essential character of a bird or a flower. But the focus in each case is very different.

Accurate portrayal of our birds requires widening the research to their forest and wetland habitats.  That has added significance because the conditions for their survival also relate to the quality of air we breathe and water we drink.

 Portraying the process from pollen to seed involved having to change from a telescopic to a microscopic view. It took months of detailed study into plant and animal form and function.

Overall, it’s about renewing the forest, but the process has added importance because it also relates to growing the food we eat.

So Flight of Pollen is not just about having fun, meeting challenges or even learning concepts, though it’s all that too. Playing the game is actually to engage in the vital process on which forest survival – and food crop production – ultimately depends.