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Bloom raiders: the secret world of the everlasting flower

Bloom raiders: the secret world of the everlasting flower

When Rebecca Louise Law ’s installation is unveiled at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Florida next summer, it will consist of more than one million flowers – all carefully collected, preserved and repurposed over the past 17 years. “I do not throw any flowers away. When they turn to dust, I keep the dust,” says the Snowdonia-based artist, whose ethereal floral displays have graced venues from San Francisco to Melbourne, and been commissioned by brands including Hermès , Jimmy Choo and Dolce & Gabbana . Rebecca Louise Law’s Florilegium installation in Parma, Italy © OTTN Projects Florilegium © OTTN Projects Paintings, particularly seascapes, were Law’s métier before she began to experiment with 3D forms and organic material. Her love of flowers, however, was inherited at an early age from her father, the head gardener for Cambridgeshire National Trust property Anglesey Abbey. “The flower is my medium, my paint, and the space is my canvas.” Her work involves a combination of fresh blooms, which dry in situ, and preserved flora – from roses and dahlias to poppy heads and thistles to herbs, grasses and pine cones – often suspended in the air with copper wire. “I’m drawn to the fragility and deep tones of dried flowers,” she says. “For me, they depict time. They have growth and life ingrained into every surface.” Earlier this year, Law explored the concept in an intimate installation called The Womb at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Michigan, its dense floral canopy designed to elicit the sensation of being cocooned in nature. Sasha Sykes Bloom! lamp, €5,000 © Rory Moore By Alice herbarium, £450 Whether she’s creating huge installations or smaller sculptures encased in Victorian-style vitrines, Law always focuses on sustainability – a key factor behind the recent reappreciation of once-fusty dried flowers. Interest in preserved blooms has shot up; earlier this year, handmade marketplace Etsy UK reported that searches for dried flowers had increased 93 per cent in just six months. Florists such as Grace & Thorn in London and Floriade in Wellington, New Zealand, are also seeing increased demand. “Half of our sales are now dried flowers,” says Floriade owner Annwyn Tobin. “The rise has been incredible.” Kitten Grayson and Harriette Tebbutt One of their creations For London plantswoman Kitten Grayson , longevity is only one dimension. “We want people to know where the flowers come from and use any waste as compost to create a very beautiful cycle,” says Grayson , who is currently setting up her own cutting garden in Somerset to create a traceable and diverse supply for the theatrical displays she dreams up with creative director Harriette Tebbutt. Their dried-flower installation at Hampshire hotel Heckfield Place is a striking example. It hangs from the dining-room ceiling and is ever evolving, with new elements added each season from the hotel gardens. MR Studio London cards, £2.90 each The art of pressing flowers is another Victorian pastime being revisited. Antiques dealer Alice Wawrik, who trades as […]

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