Although executing my first-ever actual rose petal piece was a more challenging and problem-solving experience than expected, I was able to finish it in time to submit it to a call for entry for the Torpedo Factory's "Please Touch" show this coming summer. It's a collaborative show of course and the idea is that the audience will be allowed to interact with the pieces in a physical way. It's such a fun idea and I hope it works out, but even if it doesn't - I'm happy with keeping the two I submitted around, and letting people touch them at the studio.
The first piece I submitted was the pillow I made last summer "Bedtime Reading/Rest Assured" out of recycled paper because everyone wants to squeeze it and I'd like to invite people even to put their heads and faces on it IF THEY DARE!
The second piece is the rose-petal piece that I labored over for like 6 days straight (between last Wednesday and Monday), for many hours a day. Man, what an adventure. So I started out wanting to make it 7 feet long and 3 feet wide and I was going to try to use all the smallest petals I had. I didn't want to use the larger ones because I was saving them for the summer installation. I was also going to sew them to adhere them to the fabric.
As I was working on the first 6 rows or so of petals, my dad called me on Skype and he could hear me cursing and grunting every time I tried to hold a petal in place and ended up crumbling it or another petal around it to pieces. He had a brilliant idea - why don't you dab a little glue on the petal to keep it in place? Then you can sew it in peace and you won't have to fumble with all the cloth and other petals at the same time." THANKS DAD! Oh yeah, ALL THE CLOTH. The cloth had to go, I couldn't have a huge train dragging down the piece while I was trying to work on it so I cut it down to 2 feet and approached it again with much more ease.
Between the little glue dabs, changing over to larger petals and cutting excess fabric off (and then adding it back on when I was ready to expand), I sped my pace up about 200% and was able to finish the piece just in time :). Colin helped with the title a little as I was submitting (thanks partner!). It ended up being four feet long and 3 feet wide, with a painted bamboo rod at the top that extends the width another 8 inches or so.
Here she is in her completion, Roses Redressed :
"Where does the color in the petals come from?" you might ask yourself. It's all the natural colors from the roses, resilient from when they were in their prime. Pretty amazing how well some of it has kept, isn't it? That purple insists on sticking around, I adore it. I can't believe one of my favorite color combinations (yellow and purple) has just sort of naturally happened here. It's great.
Here are some process shots leading up to the final product:
I definitely learned a good amount from working with these petals this time, as far as the installation I want to do this summer is concerned. First, it's totally possible! Second, it's going to require a hell of a lot of petals. Third, I don't need to sew each petal for the installation, the glue will work just fine and will in fact, prolong the life of the petals.
I'm off to a good start as far as rebuilding the petal collection goes. Karen at Hedge Fine Blooms, who has been donating her old roses to me, gave me more than I could have ever expected yesterday, and colors I have yet to press, which is super exciting!! Here I am holding my huge gift yesterday, thanks Karen!!