about my flowers

i received a convo via etsy a few days ago from a student attending Bishop Grosseteste University in England.  she stated that she was an art student, "doing a project and we have to find research into our work and your flower things that you made are perfect of what im sort of doing so i was wondering if you could email me a bit what you do how you do it and your name so i can put you into my portfolio"

well how fun is that. it has been awhile since anyone asked me about my work and how i do it.  i enjoyed replying:

My name is Paula.  I am a self taught artist currently living in Huntsville, Texas. USA.   My work is focused on what many would call 'junk'.  I am attracted to objects that appear to have lost their function; objects that have been lost, tossed, broken and deemed useless. 

I used to be attracted solely to rusty metal but three years ago I started making found object flowers and I found myself seeking out little colorful bits of plastic to add to the center of my flowers. (the body of the flower usually being faucet handles, scrap auto parts, discarded tool parts and large plastic objects)  Attracted to the sort of debris that one can easily find while taking a stroll or bike ride around town; objects that in reality really are trash...objects that I sometimes hesitate to grab but have learned not to pass up as they always come in handy for the right flower. 

To date I have used metal and plastic strapping, rebar, cotton gin bale wire and aluminum appliance coils as my flower stems.  I am open to using anything really, but I like the look of bent up old rebar or the delicate thin stemmed, bendable cotton wire the most.  Also, this material is the most readily available where I live and also makes for a nice 'bouquet' when the stems are cohesive.

When I set out to make a flower I go to my 'flower pile' and pick up what I intend to be the body of the flower and then set about looking for smaller objects to fit into it.  I have crates set aside with such objects and smaller containers filled with what I deem 'flower interiors' which are the smaller pieces that fill the center of the flower up...all those little trashy bits of nothing I find on my walks.  Then I choose the stem and set about putting it together.

To fashion a flower I usually use a dremel, drill press, bolt cutters, bench grinder and angle grinder to clean/score and ready the materials to be affixed.  Depending on the materials of said flower I rely on epoxy, tap and die method or nuts and bolts.  I am teaching myself how to weld but that wouldn't behoove me too often as I work with aluminum/brass, copper and plastic. Mostly I like the objects to 'fit' together on their own and use whatever means necessary to make sure they stay that way. 

What I love about making my flowers is the energy that wafts from the materials.  I usually do not know or care what the pieces are/were...I just know what pleases me. The bent up rebar with a personality that I couldn't imbue upon it myself.  The flower body objects ~ beaten up by man and machine.  The patina of the metal, unique to the life and circumstances of which it has experienced.  It's all right there.  Like exotic herbs and spices one has never seen or tasted, only the imagination holds one back from using it.


ArtPropelled said...

Lucky student to receive such a well written synopsis for her portfolio.

paula said...

thanks robyn!