Nature Constructed was a public project and exhibition of my work in the Kimball Education Gallery at the de Young Museum for the month of May 2016. I was available to speak with gallery visitors each day about my work and theirs, and invited them to assist me in creating a giant, rotting ranunculus.
Exhibit photos by Randy Dodson, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
"The preternatural (from the Latin præter and naturae) is that which appears outside or beyond the normal and natural. In theology, the term preternatural is often used to distinguish marvels or deceptive trickery, often attributed to witchcraft or demons, from the divine and sacred power of the genuinely supernatural. Upon the arrival of early modern science, the concept of the preternatural was used to refer to abnormalities and strange phenomena that seemed to transgress the working laws of nature, but which were not associated with magic or witchcraft. The terms preternatural and supernatural originally acquired distinct definitions within the ancient religious movement of Gnosticism, but have been since incorrectly equated as interchangeable phrases.
Pre-12th Century Gnostics distinguished between the natural, the preternatural, and the supernatural. Natural describes all that belongs to the material world and adheres to strict physical and scientific laws. Preternatural is the action that goes beyond the structure of the nature of the material universe. Supernatural is the action that goes beyond any created nature, belonging only to the divine.
The photographic and sculptural work in this exhibition falls within the preternatural, occupying space and time suspended between the mundane and the miraculous. Depicting and embodying flora, fauna, and landscape that appear to exist beyond the natural, the exhibition also comments on a number of pressing issues of our time, from global warming and rising sea levels, to genetic mutation and bioengineering, to survival and adaptation."
Exhibit photography courtesy of Scott Chernis.
A collaboration with photographer Sarah Deragon. Shot in Marx Meadow, located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, in the spring of 2014. Conceived of as an introduction to "Heads", my first solo exhibit of large scale pieces at Rare Device in May 2014. I use this type of photo of myself frequently, usually shot by my son or daughter, to mark the expressiveness of each large scale flower before exhibiting it. They have become a sort of "meme" around the globe, with many other flower makers following suit. Find a collection of these types of photographs here.
This past summer (2017), five of my large scale pieces were installed at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, as part of their "Flower Power" exhibit. This exhibit featured ancient works as well as pieces by contemporary artists.
From the museum's website:
During the Summer of Love, flowers became powerful symbols of peace, a concept plucked from Buddhist art. More than merely decorative, floral imagery has helped convey ideas from the refined to the revolutionary for thousands of years.
In Asian art, flowers speak a language all their own. Where a lotus blooms, a rosebud is clasped, or cherry blossoms flutter to the ground, a story is told — if you know how to read it.
This summer, uncover the hidden meanings of flowers in Asian art. Delve into the symbolism of six significant blooms: the lotus, plum blossom, cherry blossom, chrysanthemum, tulip, and rose. The enduring importance of these flowers is shared through gloriously gilded screens, sleek lacquers, rare porcelains, striking sculptures, pop art, and sensory-igniting, participatory contemporary installations that speak to today’s issues, from climate change to social activism.
November 3, 2017
I am home and recovered from the incredible experience of being on the road, teaching and talking about my work and my book. I have so much gratitude for everyone who showed up for me across the country. It furthered my belief that there is something more than just paper flowers going on here. Thank you to everyone who came out, and everyone who supported me along the way! xo
I am so excited to announce the 2017 leg of my book tour! I am being hosted by six incredible venues across the country, and it's going to be a lot of fun. This tour is going to be bonkers and a real adventure for me. I cannot wait to share The Fine Art of Paper Flowers with you all! Here are the details:
San Francisco Bay Area folks, please be sure to come out to Rare Device on Divisadero in S.F. for my big party blow out on September 8th, and my artist talk and demo at The Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek on September 14th.
I'll be in Los Angeles at wonderful French General on September 16th for two workshops and an early afternoon book signing. These workshops are already sold out, but I'll be back, and please come to the signing, I'd love to meet you! Then I head to Detroit for a day of workshops and a book signing with my friends of Flower House Detroit and Pot and Box on September 23rd, followed by a day of workshops and a signing with the lovely folks of Colossal in Chicago on September 26th. SO EXCITED! To cap it all off, please meet me in NYC for a book party September 29th and two workshops on September 30th at esteemed FlowerSchool NY. xoxoxo!
While I shot the hundreds of tutorial photos in the book, the cover and all of the gorgeous, full page images were taken by the wonderful Aya Brackett. Here is just a small sampling of them.
You can order The Fine Art of Paper Flowers from the online retailers listed HERE, or anywhere fine books are sold.
These photos from the book are copyright Aya Brackett 2017.
A sampling of my small scale works.
A sampling of recent press and articles. Please refer to my artist CV for the most current list.
Press inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Influenced by my East Coast upbringing and appreciation of botany, I invited both emerging and well-known artists from the U.S., Canada and abroad in to study ideas of botanical life forms in their wintery states of hardening, dormancy and decay. The show hung in January 2015 at Rare Device in San Francisco, and featured ten artists working in a variety of styles and mediums, including collage, pen and ink, textiles, linoleum block printing, ceramics, and more.
Promotional postcard image from Danielle Krysa's "Winter Was Hard on Rose".
I offer instruction, demonstrations and workshops in the Bay Area and beyond. Currently the best way to stay up-to-date on my offerings is to watch for announcements on my Instagram, or check the schedules at Handcraft Studio School and Filoli where I teach regularly.
Upcoming classes include the following:
October 22, 2017
Handcraft Studio School
DECORATIVE MAGNOLIA LEAVES
November 4, 2017
WOODLAND EGG ORNAMENTS
November 11, 2017
For me, there are few more expressive or forgiving pursuits in the art of paper flower making than to create dead, dying, decaying, wilting, or deformed flowers. The movement in the collapsing head of a wilting specimen eclipses the sometimes stagnant rhythm of the face of a fresher flower. There is much left to discover here, with a world of subject matter and environmental issues to study, from simple rot to abnormal conditions like fasciation, phyllody and petalody, to the effects of our ever-changing environment on plant life.
These are some of my favorite specimens to create, in both small and large scales. I am looking to build a new body of work to exhibit in 2018 that will partially focus on dead paper flowers and the reasons why they are "dead".
In late 2014, UK-based Simone Webb and I collaborated on a series of four images, using photographs of my large scale work taken at different angles.
Although working in different mediums, different scales and different countries, Simone and I have one element in common; our subject matter. Flora are at the center of both of our works, inevitably forging an exploration into the difference in scale and mediums. In these pieces, Simone strayed away from her practice of exploring the transitionary states that occur in nature to embrace the delicate and still beauty of my giant, intricate paper flowers. By scaling these large blooms back down to a size manageable on the printed page, Simone was able to capture them in a way their original three-dimensional, oversized state never would have allowed. We worked together to find the tension and balance in these compositions, which were executed by Simone in her UK studio.
More soon, under construction.