Flowers that never wilt
Artists create ceramic flowers that are always in bloom.
From early spring until the last days of summer, the plant world buzzes with life as buds bloom into beautiful flowers. When given as gifts, flowers can signify love, friendship, an apology, a celebration of life or a remembrance of the deceased. Though impactful at full bloom, flowers removed from their roots are only at their peak for a short time before the wilting process begins.
For this reason, ceramic artists around the world often utilize the significance of blossoming flowers in their exhibitions to produce an impact that remains beautifully immortal.
Ceramic flowers at the Eretz Museum in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Gail Nir/Flickr)
Adorning the grounds of the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, more than 10,000 brightly colored ceramic flowers glisten in the sun. Ceramic artist Schlomit Hepher is the curator of the museum’s social-art exhibit “Blossoming with Age.” With Hepher as their guide, 1,600 senior citizen volunteers at 70 centers across Israel made the flowers, each one unique to the person who created it.
Hepher carefully arranged the flowers to represent the Third Age, a distinct group of individuals who share an interest in knowledge, creativity and the desire to give back to society.
The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red art installation at the Tower of London on Oct. 9, 2014, in London, England. More than 800,000 poppies will be planted in the moat by volunteers. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Meanwhile in the U.K., artist Paul Cummins recently curated his ceramic flower installation at the Tower of London, where nearly 900,000 piercingly red poppies flow from the tower into the encompassing moat. Each poppy commemorates the life and service of a fallen soldier. The Tower of London saw an estimated 5 million visitors throughout the duration of the exhibition, which came to a close on Nov. 11.
London resident Rebecca Smyth visited the exhibit, "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red," and described the scene to From the Grapevine as “a visual masterpiece. Many of the poppies were different heights,” representing the “individuality of each veteran, but at the same time, expressing the unity of everyone who fought for the same cause.”
If there’s any question about what London is to do with 888,246 poppies post-exhibition, it was proactively answered as people from all over the world have purchased each and every poppy. The money generated from poppy sales will be distributed to six service charities.
In 2012, artist Bradley Sabin created an exquisite ceramic installation made up of 1,500 pink magnolias for the Louisiana State University Museum of Art’s exhibition titled Uniquely Louisiana. The piece, named "Interface," featured a lacy human figure sitting on the ground, back resting against the wall. The intricacies of the figure first catch viewers’ attention before their eyes quickly shift upward tracing the path designed by hundreds of flowers streaming out of the body toward the ceiling.
“For me, the flowers represent the feminine side of the work and are contained within the male figure,” Sabin told From the Grapevine. “Duality is a reoccurring theme in the work.” He used duality to convey hard and soft, male and female, plant and animal within the piece.
The use of ceramic flowers in high quantities has increased in the past two to three years by artists hoping to relay important messages to their audiences. These special flowers bring a feeling of eternal life to any space they occupy without the threat of withering, becoming a powerful tool radiating energy, beauty and substance.
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