After enjoying the beautiful peonies in my garden, they started to die. This process is significant to me, growth and death, new life as well as the layers that signify generations, as well as layers of life. Peonies remind me of my past and my family and these images have a real sadness to them. The colours of the flower become rust like and the petals gnarled and twisted.
After my previous experiments with polyester fabric and manipulating shape an colour I continued experimenting.
- I tried using coloured polyesters but the uniform colours don’t look deteriorated,
- I tried bleaching these coloured fabrics but it isn’t possible to bleach polyester.
- I tried painting them after shaping but they then lost their shape and the smooth texture.
I also felt that the shape didn’t feel right for a peony.
I decided to experiment with petal like shapes as well as iron filings and onion skins. Iron filings give a more uniform colouration, I didn’t feel that I wanted the recognisable shapes of nails, washers etc.
I created a series of these with varying degrees of deterioration so that I could think about building up layers. I also decided to use a candle to gently melt and therefore shape the petals for the gnarled feel that I wanted.
Pure white, new life on the top gradually deteriorating below. Representing both the journey through a single life as well as previous generations and lives past. Those lives we do still remember with the lives we no longer remember or never knew at the bottom.