Floral Pilgrimage III // The Dutch Flower Route _ What 👁️ Saw 22.04.19 - 25.04.19

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The Flower Industry

Monday 22nd: Finding the Bluemenstrecke

Left from Folkestone with Liz and Carol, entered via freightlane, pulled over with an emergency stop and boarded train - France - Belge (picnic lunch in Flora!) - Haarlem / start of the Flower Route. Stayed lovely Air B’n’B where other guests mistaking my height for being Dutch owner kept telling me where they had left the keys.

The shut Pilgrim Museum in Leiden displaying it’s Dutch still life charm.

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Tuesday 23rd: Keukenhof

Bluemenstrecke, bright fields behind the hedges; straight lines peeking round. Cut tulips for sale on the side of the road and rows rows of flowers being sprayed. Lunch in Leiden after dining out on feast, swathes of star, bulbs, grape hyacinth at Keukenhof “Mega Garden.” Night in Waaldwick: bedazzled by glasshouses, skies and skips of flowers.

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Wednesday 25th: D I S C O

Visited Flora Holland / Flower Auction and entered the NO tourist zone. Serious forward sloping arena of mainly manly back apparitions, with flower trolleys rotating to pop music. Dif. wheels of $$ fortune spin, while a man holds sample as trolleys move behind, like some kind of whirlitzer, where you realise that you cannot process your surrounds at the pace they move in so let it go, minor whiplash at brush with price / scale.

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Floral Pilgrimage II / Caergybi 18.07.18 - 21.07.18

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Continuing on the floral pilgrimage 2017- 2018 I started a collaboration together with artist and educator Amy Ash, this time contemplating both physical and political changes to the landscape. We were drawn to walking around Holyhead, an island protruding off Wales, in alternative directions retracing the steps of St. Cybi and St. Seriol. One Saint who faced the darkness, the other the light which felt like a dualistic coping metaphor for the political horizon. This follows a period of dark reflection as Amy although married to a Londoner was nevertheless coerced into leaving London due to visa issues and so I walked in her place during Summer 2018, exploring sites of importance as either St.

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On the walk I was both being documented in the landscape and taking photographs of my hands with religious imagery (self awarded pilgrimage stamps) within the landscape for a more embodied viewpoint. This dual documentation also reflects both the simultaneous outward and inner pathways offered by spiritual journeys often symbolised by the spiral. Then using snack bar wrappers, local pamphlets and these images, I sent her a map-place of the Island, something to both peruse and wear / physically enter the space.

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Haverthorn V.4.1 // Magasine collaboration, Spring 2018 with Camilla Nelson

www.haverthorn.co.uk

Camilla Nelson

Haverthorn magazine is a literary magasine edited by Iris Colomb and Andrew Wells. Each magasine has a section that teams artists with poets in collaborations. I had the pleasure of responding to Camilla Nelson's existing work "Magnolia" and she created "Scorn Dolly" as inspired by my work "Closing the borders opened the gates of hell" photographed by Sebastian Trustman.

In order to get closer to Camilla Nelson's poem which seemed to me to express a harrowing and fragmented desire of something you do not really want, I worked with my flatmate to explore our fears concerning (although not necessarily related to) our desires for the future. The outcome involved envisaging a landscape surrounding the female form with abstract floral shapes of future pressures built from: self, society, family.

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Floral Pilgrimage // Pilgrims Way ongoing

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Ready for the unknown between Ned Kelly and Don Quixote: shield, stead (chihuahua), stick (chanel), helmet (aunt's schawl) and armour (knight's own.)

Ready for the unknown between Ned Kelly and Don Quixote: shield, stead (chihuahua), stick (chanel), helmet (aunt's schawl) and armour (knight's own.)

www.alicemccabe.com

Over the last three years I have been creating costumes designed for everyday living or survival in London. These have mainly taken the form of newspaper costumes, including an outfit made from icons from an app designed to help you save money, a floppy paper suit of British armour and tassels developed for attachment to a cloak or shield designed to both represent and ward off fears concerning Brexit.

My latest costume is an evolving pilgrimage suit that I started work on last Summer in connection with a series of workshops and commission for a cabinet space at PEER Gallery. Milk tops from a collection of mine have been insulated with tape and pinned onto a mail sack. I went on my first walk last year along a section of the Pilgrim’s Way with my dad then using images from the walk, have hand cut my own milk tops attaching them into the costume to replace damaged or worn patches with seasonal flowers and sights.

This Summer together with artist and educator Amy Ash we will walk around Holyhead in alternative directions retracing the steps of St. Cybi and St. Seriol. We will both be contemplating physical and political changes to the landscape, myself from the perspective of an independent florist and herself as an artist married to a Londoner but nevertheless coerced into leaving London due to visa issues.

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Floral Heraldry // Summer Cabinet Commission at Peer Gallery and Workshops 07.17 - 09.17

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Cabinet 1, 2 and 3 including last instalment the bouquet dispenser.

www.peeruk.org

4 Seasons was a commissioning programme exploring wildlife, biodiversity and the artists’ interest in nature supported by Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust. The brief was to create a seasonal display in a cabinet attached to the gallery, to be updated throughout the season.

My summer cabinet is a floral account of the everyday, documenting changes in seasonal cut flowers via flowers used in bouquets alongside wider news stories and accumulations of desk detritus. News images are conditioned and cropped as if they were flowers, whilst a more uniform stencil (that of a Swiss Milk Top - see my archive here - ) shapes the artist’s own personal paraphernalia. The resulting synthetic petals will then be transformed into wearable objects such as chain mail, votive necklaces and visors to be used and deposited on a walk from London, crossing the fabled Isle of Thanet emerging in Dover, to survey the changing European landscape from the perspective of an independent florist.

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Clockwise from top left: Arden Estate Shakespeare Summer Party, Artists' Inventories an artist's talk at PEER and hand-tied bouquet making workshop at Shoreditch Library.

Beuys Bouquets // 17.07.17 - 29.07.17

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http://beuysconnemara.space

Together with the director of the Beuys Residency in Connemara, James Mansfield, we set about following the traces of Beuys in Connemara through the tides, a closed seaweed factory (another site of energy come and gone), and use of bespoke Irish alternative therapies.

These treatments included the healing use of seaweed, fett, flowers (organic materials) presented to the landscape and re-organised for the other as gifts and talismen. Some non organic local products were also drawn upon: including icecreamcake and teabags.

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The seaweed factory. Two blocks of fat, a lemon, scissors and a camera. No further seaweed on site. Plenty of rust, cow dungs and explorations. Time spent creating bouquets in fat on site,  inserting flowers as the fat warmed and using only flowers from that specific point to go together. Natures curation, re-organised in alternative energy source. 

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NATURAL THERAPIES

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The shells grow inside to outside, looking up throughout a spiralling process, harder and finer.

Left Take one sore hand, wrap in butter, felt, before charging with blackberries and hard yellow shells. Right Shell charging station

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All of these activities provided a huge amount of internal warmth!

 

The Jamie Brannan Archive // Tannery Arts Project Space 28.05.17 - 25.06.17

Curated by Theresa Kneppers featuring the work of Priya Sundram, Christian Corless and my own paintings and flowers.

LEFT: California #0392 Super Blooms and Priya Sundram's Corporate Poster

LEFT: California #0392 Super Blooms and Priya Sundram's Corporate Poster

The Jamie Brannan Archive Exhibition is a visualisation of a larger research project about the art collection of an early San Francisco Bay Area tech entrepreneur whom commissioned and collected artworks while creating an influential start up.  

Jamie Brannan’s business, GoldRush, an online flower delivery company promised to deliver arrangements in selected cities within a half hour of their orders. GoldRush took off with major investment in the mid to late 1990s developing a network of warehouses and delivery vehicles. The company and its initial hires were based in Brannan’s Mid-Century Eichler tract home.

With the early success of her business Brannan began to purchase and commission work by Bay Area artists that were hung in her home. Brannan’s collection included works by Bernice Bing, William T Wiley and Squeak Carnwath, as well as unknown young artists and graphic designers from the California College of Arts and Crafts. After the dot-com bubble burst Brannan left the tech industry in 2001 dissolving her art collection of an estimated 250 artworks.

The Jamie Brannan Archive Exhibition combines archival materials with the works of young florists, artists, illustrators and graphic designers that reflect the ethos of Jamie Brannan’s original collection. Inspired by California wildflowers and the type of arrangements that were sold through the GoldRush website, Alice McCabe, a florist and painter has developed two floral arrangements. Paintings by McCabe echo the inventive abstract narratives that Brannan seems to be drawn to in her own collecting practises. Illustrator Priya Sundram responded to Jamie Brannan’s unique position as a female entrepreneur in the tech field by creating a series of posters. Based on a former employee’s description graphic designer Christian Corless has reconstructed the GorldRush logo.

McCabe, Sundram and Corless’ contemporary pieces highlight the distinctiveness of the Jamie Brannan collection in the nascent dot.com world and opens up questions of the relationship between the art world and tech collectors.

We would like to thank James Mansfield of the Museum of Imaginative Knowledge and an expert in 1990s computer culture for his support and research into Jamie Brannan’s collection. 

For more information instagram @the_jamie_brannan_archive or www.theresakneppers.com

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LEFT: Goldrush Logo by Christian Corless / visualisations of the collection and paintings by myself.

LEFT: Goldrush Logo by Christian Corless / visualisations of the collection and paintings by myself.

LEFT: Sample Frequent Flowers Weeks 1993  26.05 Man - U - lip - U - Lator  02.06 Mandocello  09.06 Dream Police  16.06 I want you to want me  23.06 California Man  Painting "Floral Cycles" 2015

LEFT: Sample Frequent Flowers Weeks 1993

26.05 Man - U - lip - U - Lator

02.06 Mandocello

09.06 Dream Police

16.06 I want you to want me

23.06 California Man

Painting "Floral Cycles" 2015

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Floral Art Observations // 10.04.17

Published on SECRETS OF GREEN BLOG 

Art into Flowers 

I am a practising artist and florist with over a decade’s experience and in 2016 I set up my own floristry business as a floral artist. This was born on the back of what seemed to be an abundance of flowers in contemporary art, of plants in art installations and significantly the first year Frieze Art Fair was sponsored by a florist, That Flower Shop. At the same time in the floristry world there developed a surge of florists without formal training (given instagram and social media according to Alice Vincent: Floral Revolution) which saw a rise in floral installation and innovative (non-traditional) artful arranging.

I aim to work at the borders of flowers and art by both creating conceptual flowers (which my friends warned me against – as they sound like something which might not be made of flowers) and working for contemporary artists using flowers, alongside the bread and butter work of making bouquets and doing event floristry. I’ve now re-titled conceptual bouquets as “topical” and recent pictured examples range from the Interrobang bouquet commenting on a new form of punctuation, to a hanging arrangement dedicated to Trump’s proposed closing of the Mexican border.

Double hanging arrangement February 2017, “Closing the borders opened the gates of hell.” Photographed by Sebastian Boettcher.

Double hanging arrangement February 2017, “Closing the borders opened the gates of hell.” Photographed by Sebastian Boettcher.

Interrobang Bouquet, June 2016 is based on the Interrobang symbol (!?) a novel form of punctuation being taught to under 5’s used to denote an excitable or rhetorical question.

Interrobang Bouquet, June 2016 is based on the Interrobang symbol (!?) a novel form of
punctuation being taught to under 5’s used to denote an excitable or rhetorical question.

It is the combination of manual labour and colour planning, alongside the unexpected nature of working with flowers that got me hooked to floristry. The more I work with flowers, the more surprised I am by their resilience not only in terms of lifespan within an arrangement but in how they organise themselves too within a display: it can be almost autonomous! For larger events I find myself using my practical artistic skills alongside skills gleaned from my MA in Arts Education and Curation, drawing designs and building prototypes to consider the flow of the space and how the experience of the flowers will impact at various stages of the event. I have a weakness for combining materials and more often than I ought to probably, I consider using concrete.

Like any other artist’s material flowers are loaded with historical connotations and issues of sustainability include at a glance: their readily acquirable worldwide availability as compared to their original export and introduction to Britain, their evolving meanings during different epochs and changes in significances across the world and lastly their developing narratives of display and positioning alongside art. An example of this interplay is the Metropolitan Museums fabulous commissioned vases refreshed every week and subsequent exhibition of ten years of flower drawings by Abbie Zabar which makes it hard to fathom who the artist in all of this: the museum for providing niches for the works which should hold sculptures hence changing their context, the benefactor for funding the creations within this institution, the florist for designing and making them or the painter for capturing and displaying them as art.

Flowers into contemporary art

Flowers have long been a popular subject for artists given their beauty and transience: drawing attention to the passing of time and fleeting moments of everyday beauty. In contemporary art there now seems to be an opening up of a political and conceptual dimension extending from these inherent qualities. Kapwani Kiwanga “Flowers for Africa” and Taryn Simons “Paperwork and the Will of Capitol” both look to the silent witnesses in the room of treaties, coups and agreements, re-staging and documenting the flowers in the room to re-assess history. Whilst Simons’ floral works are displayed as photographs, Kiwanga’s are recreated and allowed to rot over the duration of each exhibition, sharpening focus on both the precise moments where the world changes and the repercussions of such negotiations. Ai Wei Wei’s “With Flowers” shows a series of images of flowers in a bicycle basket. This bicycle was outside his confine in Beijing where the flowers were replaced and photographed daily, documenting the length of time he spent awaiting his passport: this kaleidoscope of flowers belying the inflexibility of the Chinese regime.

Favourite examples of artists work involving flowers with powers in 2016 included below: Kapwani Kiwanga, Taryn Simons, Iza Genzken, Jill Magid, Timur si Qun, Shaun Gladwell, Ai Wei Wei...

Taryn Simon’s Will of Capital at Gagosian Gallery New York   www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/taryn-simon--february-18-2016

Taryn Simon’s Will of Capital at Gagosian Gallery New York

www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/taryn-simon--february-18-2016

Selection of Ai Wei Wei's "With Flowers" at the NGV, Melbourne. Full series can be seen here:  www.flickr.com/photos/aiww

Selection of Ai Wei Wei's "With Flowers" at the NGV, Melbourne. Full series can be seen here: www.flickr.com/photos/aiww

Two Orchids by Iza Genzken, David Zwirner Gallery    www.publicartfund.org/view/exhibitions/6101_isa_genzken_two_orchids

Two Orchids by Iza Genzken, David Zwirner Gallery 

www.publicartfund.org/view/exhibitions/6101_isa_genzken_two_orchids

Shaun Gladwell's The Inspector Tides, Anna Schwartz Gallery   http://sammypreston.xyz/The-Inspector-of-Tides

Shaun Gladwell's The Inspector Tides, Anna Schwartz Gallery

http://sammypreston.xyz/The-Inspector-of-Tides

Jill Magid,  The Offering (Tapete de Flores) , 2016, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen.    https://frieze.com/article/jill-magid-gallen

Jill Magid, The Offering (Tapete de Flores), 2016, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. 

https://frieze.com/article/jill-magid-gallen

Kapwani Kiwanga, Flowers for Africa, 1.54 Contemporary African Art Fair 2016  http://1-54.com/london/interview-with-kapwani-kiwanga/

Kapwani Kiwanga, Flowers for Africa, 1.54 Contemporary African Art Fair 2016

http://1-54.com/london/interview-with-kapwani-kiwanga/

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Berlin – Timur SI qin, squashed flowers and natural palm fronds onto transformer posters, sun seeking nature of plants, just as posters are always looking for the space, the gap in the light. Heirachies of nature na docmmersialism are not split. Info from SLEEK

http://www.sleek-mag.com/2012/11/14/timur-si-qin/