I have had the most wonderful distraction over the last 2 months. I received a gorgeous bunch of native flowers, a specifically selected bouquet filled with an assortment of texture and colour. I spent eight weeks with these floral treasures, watching flowers bloom, berries redden and pop as subtle moves happened every other day. Little white flowers burst out of the purple ones. Perfect round orbs burst open creating a spray pink and white clusters. Lush wavy pink hair grew out from bulbous heads, a few crowned with golden sprigs. Furry tufts, little blue and pink pompoms specially designed for tiny cheer leading creatures, “goOOOooo NATURE!”, hung tight to their sprigs, I suspect waiting for a windy day. From shiny slim line elegance, to flat straps, willowy wisp’s and gnarly dudes, stems, twigs and leaves pushed their way through the petalled crowd to rightfully enjoy some of the lime light. With the amazing contrast of all things green and brown, my flowers certainly got their bling on….
As time passed, the glamour slowly faded, and I witnessed pollen dust drizzling on to the bench, petals drying to tissue paper, others wilting and dropping off, a few becoming tough and woody. I found myself picking up the little bits of debris, inspecting drying petals and leaves, categorising stuff into little piles and little piles ended up in little containers. When water was no longer needed, the flowers were laid out across the bench. Interestingly, many flowers remained intact and only a few colours faded. I spent many hours contemplating how I could capture all these lovely shapes and textures, gritting my teeth at the thought of pressing flowers into clay. Once I stopped resisting one process like it was a single destination, and starting thinking about the steps to follow, I decided to follow the path laden with florally crumbs!
I started with flower pressing into clay slabs, trying a range of sizes, discovering which flowers worked well, and considered what to do with the rest. I quickly shifted to a cataloguing mindset, and wondered how many shapes, textures and patterns could be captured. The shed got messy very quickly. Shortly thereafter I realised I had no clue what I was trying to achieve, and sent myself back to my library. I purchased a video a few years ago from Ceramic Arts Network showcasing Sarah Pike Pottery https://bit.ly/SaraPike. Sarah Pikes work is stunning, simple patterns incorporated into elegant designs reflecting her home and surrounding country. This potter works with both positive and negative patterns, everything is carved freehand creating clay stamps and rollers which are pressed into her slab built functional ware. I returned to the chaos, cleaned up and got organised, with a few specific things to try.
To date, I have bisque fired the pressed slabs, along with a few interesting shaped rollers and stamps. I am now using these as bisque moulds to take a positive impression. I have been thinking about wall papers and fabrics and have made a few sheets with sprinkled debris and random pressings. Where flowers did not translate well as a pressed flower, I have pulled them apart and to see if single components made an impact. The proteas were the most interesting to work with. I have got this work to a place where I can push the pause button for now. Curious thoughts are swirling around the old noggin and there they can stay for a while, so I can get back on track with my original plan. I promise there will be more on this topic in 2022, otherwise all I have done is press flowers into clay!