Friday, January 10, 2014

Cross pollination

cross-pol·li·na·tion (krôspl-nshn, krs-)n.1. The transfer of pollen from an anther of the flower of one plant to a stigma of the flower of another plant.
2. Influence or inspiration between or among diverse elements:

There are many different threads here on the blog about the new year, and we are all addressing it in our unique ways: Jen's musings on goals, direction, journals; Sue's new experimentations in polymer; Linda pondering the freedom to play...  I spend a good bit of quality time in January with coffee and my sketchbook. And of late - my iPad. Its the quietest month for me as to teaching and shows; I like to pull inward and hibernate a bit. This also provides me with a time to refuel, research, and be inspired. 

Today was all about cross pollination. I may not have had my hands on many projects/materials/tools but I had my brain in overdrive. ideas crossing over from one medium to the next, making connections, inspiring new collaborations... so you see cross pollination at its finest. 

While I have you thinking of bees, while ideas are buzzing...  I have some mixed media pieces, just finished that were inspired by a novel, and a crazy Victorian obsession. 

I knew of the  Victorian "Language of Flowers" - also called floriography, is a means of coded communication through the use or arrangement of flowers. Flowers have been ascribed meanings in cultures across the globe for centuries. You will find it in work by Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters...  The Victorian era was rather straight laced ( literally and figuratively) so flirting and illicit rendezvous were hard to accomplish. Enter flowers. A red rose - love. A white rose - innocent love.  A yellow rose - jealousy. But dill - lust? and purple columbine - 'resolved to win'? Wow. there was a bit of drama in the florists trade! Who needs reality tv? 

Over the holidays I read "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I loved the book, it was heartbreaking and wonderful, with surprises and fantastic characters. The Language of flowers is the thread woven through that motivates, unites, and redeems the people, and in many ways it heals what is broken. 

Flowers were on my mind after finishing the book, and I was making the polymer parts for the January Component of the Month. I was playing around with a few shapes I intended to paint, gild, and stain then use as bezels. There was a set of 9 that didn't make the cut for CoM...  <light bulb moment> 

Vintage images meets antique book text in these Victorian inspired floral vocals. ( polymer, paint, paper, resin...)

Its all because of this stack of vintage (Geez - they were from my childhood and they are just approaching vintage... harumph) illustrated children's encyclopedias. They have the best illustrations, in limited colors, and so small... Some were mine, others have been given to me by friends who saw their potential. I may never finish mining these for fantastic little images. And I AM cutting the books up directly, no scans, no color copies. These are truly one-of-a-kind!

Flamingo, anyone?

So in the language of flowers - to you readers - I would make up a posie of Canterbury bells ( gratitude), Chrysanthemum ( abundance & health), Ivy ( friendship), Geranium ( true friendship). 

Have a great New Year! 
And may your creative ideas buzz about like bees to a flower! 




  1. Jenny, these are fabulous and fun! "The Language of Flowers" sounds like a great title for the Inspired by Reading book club too.

  2. Lovely vision, Jenny... though I am from the vintage that would have great difficulty cutting a book ;)

  3. Great post Jenny! I love flowers...I'll add the Language of Flowers to my "must read" list. I love the way the book prompted a creative expression for you. Your focals of wonderful!

  4. Gasp! All the information and those gorgeous pieces!!!!!


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