As I immerse farther into my orchid imitating, I discover more about the orchids, the pollinators and their mutual or deceptive relationships.
Orchids can be deceptive with their pollinators. Many orchids produce visual aspects to seduce a bee or other insect to land on certain parts of their flower in order for the packets of pollen-pollinia- to be dispersed to other orchid plants (upper right pic).
In another deception, many other orchids use scent to attract insects. It can be the rotting smell of decay or pleasant scents mimicking pheromones or other kinds of flowers.
This research has led me to a new way to express imaginatively in the world of orchids....
Last week I assembled essential oils and research and began to set up a little fragrance lab of my own.
I am mimicking intuitively the scents of the orchids I am sculpting. Though I have only seen a few of the native orchids in the wild, I have never smelled them so my scents will only be reminiscent of the descriptions of other orchid sniffers!!!
What will be done with them? Well they could be diffused near the sculptures. Or they might be best used as perfume, a reminder or an incentive for you to go out and see these beautiful and rare orchids of the Northwest.
Either way each sculpture will include a bottle of custom scent in its purchase. The orchid scents are customized for Mountain Slippers, Phantom orchid, Stream orchid, coralroot, and Fairy orchids.
I love to work in porcelain and copper. So recently I started mixing them in different ways. Here are a few orchid pots I made for the upcoming 'wild orchids' series. Top one is New Zealand porcelain with copper feet. Even with thick walls it has some translucency. And the pressed pattern adds to the effect.
The bottom pic is a sampling of thin walled copper pots. Made rustic and battered looking like they were 100 years old! Using various gauges of copper wire and sheet, I created these pots to look like an artifact from a archeological dig.
Thank you Lori for loaning me your press wheels!
For any artist getting ready for an exhibit it can be a balancing act. How much in advance do you make your work? How many pieces can you complete before that final hang date? Are they good enough? are they finished?!
Well that's what I am doing in the studio now. The Native orchids are taking over! Dozens of blooms, foliage, insects and silk velvets (yes my secret new ingredient!) are scattered over the worktables.
In case you were wondering, these are the type of orchids in the works:
' Exotics' which are non native orchids
'Wild Orchids' the natives of the PNW.
Some are for tabletop and some are wall mounted flowers. The wood mounted wall pieces suggest the reverence of an altar. The porcelain plant protected inside them. The 'potted' pieces seem like little treasures...a memory of the orchid even when not blooming in nature.
Figuring it all out is tricky with all the complexity and time management issues I have to be patient with myself. However, today I just had fun making dozens of mini moths, hover flies, wasps and bumble bees. The many insects offer a pallet of sorts to choose from in the final construction of the orchid sculptures.
Sometimes I think I make flowers just so I can display the insects....which I adore. Even in my flower garden I strive to find more varieties of flowers which can attract and benefit insects. Orchid research has brought me new favorites like the hoverfly -a pollinator of stream orchids(among others) and the early-out bumble bee- a pollinator of the fairy orchid. Parasitic wasps have been known to be pollinators of the coral root.
This is the photography of Jeremy Buben
Jeremy is the owner of Food Art Collection Gallery in Seattle, WA. Go to www.Foodartcollection.com. I know Jeremy from having shown work at Jeremy's gallery in 2020 and 2021 Dutch Master's shows.
He has an exquisite collection of artwork with the theme of Food! And as you can see he also has great talent as a photographer of art. I am so honored to have his help with pictures of my work.
Above are 3 of the 4 'CRYSTALIS' sculptures completed this year.