Hi everybody! Can't believe my rose petal installation is up for view and enjoyment! What an incredibly meditative and satisfying process. I ended up using 5,932 petals for it - only had 13 petals left over and they were all tiny and purple. Assembly took close to 40 hours. Here are some photos from the beginning to the end of the creation process, including all the rose petal pictures from as eary as January:
Here's the statement I drew up for the opening:
5,932 rose petals were used to make this piece that measures twelve feet in width and is roughly 8 feet tall. I started collecting petals in January of this year. The first bunch of roses I pressed came from a friend - a gift at a show I had in January. I couldn’t bear to throw them away, so as they started to hang their heads, I pressed all the petals. While I was pressing the petals for those first roses I got the idea for this installation. In order to get enough rose petals to fill the amount of space I wanted I was going to need a reliable and consistent source, so I went and talked to local florist Hedge Fine Blooms and they agreed to donate the roses that were past their prime and unsalable to this project. No roses were bought with the intention of being used for this project - was an exercise in using and reevaluating discarded material.
Every time I went to Hedge to pick up the roses they had waiting for me I was shocked by their beauty. I started to think a lot about our standards, as humans. It’s interesting what our society considers to be an organism’s “prime” – smooth, tight, full of potential. I’m describing a flower bud but the same words can be used to describe the bodies, skins and outlooks of humans during the years we consider to be their prime years. I grew to love these open roses and the buds that had been a little battered during transport and were thrown in with the open blooms – the irregulars and the golden girls. Not only did I find them more beautiful, in the end, than the tight buds, but they were softer, and more confident – showing their full faces. I wanted to do my best to pause their beauty and give them as much of a legacy as possible while still letting them gracefully turn to dust.
The aging process of a cut rose in a vase has stages. Some stages in their openness last a matter of days – especially those last moments of heaviness before they start to wither. This project was a lesson for me in aging and being present – not only with the blooms themselves but also in my own life as my mind and body change and approach their potential and fullness.
Thank you to all who came to opening night! Here are some photos of the finished piece in the space and people interacting with it (including some pictures of me and my boyfriend, Colin :) )