Fragmented Flora is a project that is coated with my memories. I’ve always had a strong connection to flowers, but not to gardening. As a child, I would spend time with my mom in her garden, but I wouldn’t really help her. I just kept her company, investigated and plucked blooms. I always liked to arrange and compose flora. From ages thirteen to eighteen, I worked at my cousins flower shop. There, I spent hours dusting, taking out the garbage, checking in inventory, stocking products, strawing gerbera’s, ordering supplies, and merchandising. Through all of these tasks I interacted with strangers and created strong bonds with my coworkers. This was my space to grow and learn how to develop as a person. The physical act of flower arranging is fundamentally connected to this growth.
In Fragmented Flora, I’ve combined my sense of nostalgia with my artistic practice. In a composition positive space is the space that is activated, negative space is the space that is there but not depicted. In a flower arrangement the positive space would be the flowers and the vessel, the negative space is the area between the leaves and the shapes that are made between the flora. My presence takes up space. The space I’m physically taking up is positive space—not because I’m always a positive presence. In a compositional sense, when I’m in a space my body is creating positive space. When I’m not currently occupying a space I’ve been to, I leave traces of me. Either tangible or in other peoples memories of me, I’m taking up negative space. I’m not tending a garden or planting seeds—it may be the opposite, I’m cutting and arranging. Taking what I want and shaping it into what I want it to be. Not for the benefit of the flora but for my own benefit.
This project isn’t claiming to be ikebana, although many Japanese garden and floral books were referenced. And some ikebana techniques were utilized, but very minimally because it takes years to train in the art of ikebana. I used my research as a way to discover new techniques and rediscover my love and appreciation for flower arranging. I was using methods new to me to explore the familiar and to navigate my nostalgia.