I spent two days clearing the overgrowth from our neglected garden on the suggestion that my creations would look less like trash strewn haphazardly about. During this time I recalled memories of working along-side my grandmother in her garden when I was a teen. Names of the plants came to my mind and I could almost hear her voice as she instructed me on the care of every plant. She passed a wealth of knowledge down to me along with her love and respect for nature. This was a great gift and I believe I should pay it forward by working to raise awareness through my art on the threats to our beautiful planet. As I cleared, I also realized that my initial idea for this installation could not convey this deep respect for nature. I became convinced that no matter how neat the space if I did not pursue a more realistic representation my message would become as jumbled as the landfills and floating trash islands I am concerned about and might be lost altogether. I wanted to work WITH the spiritual qualities I could feel rising from this peaceful little garden, not against them. So I went back to the drawing board……
The first step was to explore the collection of material I have so lovingly cherished for two years. Pulling out the many bags and boxes of colorful styrofoam, cellophane bags, plastic bottles with colorful labels – I began to ‘see’ flowers. Using google search I entered terms such as “yellow flowers” and “blue flowers” and scrolled through the images. As I narrowed down my search I would also see flowers so beautiful that I longed to be able to recreate them in my studio. So I would go back to my piles and boxes of post consumer packaging and search for material to make it work. This process for me is not a hurried, careless pawing through my stuff but rather a deliberate and thoughtful sifting. To me the results are always worth the extra time.
So now I will let those results speak for themselves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.
The process I follow is about exploration and discovery. I start with an idea and I can usually picture in my mind what I hope the finished product will look like. After I get started I sometimes find it necessary to be open and adaptable. Plastics and foam have a ‘memory’ and sometimes it just doesn’t look like my vision. Or, I might find during the process of working with the material that another form develops. I try not to get too attached to my original idea about form so I can see new possibilities as they occur. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes struggle, I just work intuitively. By allowing myself this freedom to explore I am allowing my vision to evolve.
My material selections will change as I work like a painter choosing different color schemes.
Nature provided models for some of the flowers……..
Others were taken from images.
After I decided on a form I spent time carefully sorting through my materials until I found something that fit. Sometimes while sorting I would come across a piece of material that suggested a flower. Then I would go back to searching for images until I found the flower that fit my stuff!