“Have I gone mad?“
“I'm afraid so, but let me tell you something...the best people usually are.” - Lewis Carroll
Deep down the rabbithole (or deep in the USB hard drive in this case), a small door came to light. I rediscovered the adventures of Alice in
Wonderland at an exhibition showcased at the British Library. When I was younger, there was nothing like escaping into a good book and that's
something that's stayed with me. Let's delve in...
Alice has done a lot of exploring over the past 150 years. When the story was first released, it was refreshingly 'more entertaining and whimsical than
other children’s books of the period'. Lewis Caroll originally painted the artwork for the manuscript himself and displeased with his work, sought a
professional illustrator. Sir John Tenniel created 42 designs, where modern day interpretations of the 'Alice' headband stem from Tenniel’s
illustrations, rather than Caroll's description - artists collaborating to make magic!
Colourful and bold art featured on boards dotted around. I particularly liked the graphic illustration by Leonard Weisgard above, with its beautifully
layered composition. Statement roses unfurl with a design I painted previously, with gems at the core. I'd like to think the Queen of Hearts would be
pleased; as beautiful as red roses are. let's add a little more colour to the mix. (Head remaining firmly intact, thanks).
Curiosity gets the better of you when navigating your way through. Gigantic doll houses and a miniature mad-hatter tea party add to the surrealism. I
was reminded of the cushion I created a while ago, interpreting her journey on a fabric canvas. Stitched roses sat in teacups and a gem-encrusted
key could be found at hand. The joys of creating at a small scale; the beads are perfect sized ornaments.
There is of course, the famous scene with an array of vocal blooms singing. I planted many new species this year, including a white rose bush and
purple blazing star stems. The fuzzy surface reminds me of the allium I saw on the floral ceiling in London. I've also painted marigolds for mum, as
they are her favourite. Irises planted a few year ago happily sprout up year after year, where at bud stage, they resemble polished amethyst.
Many a lavender and foxglove stalk swish from the flower bed. My sister, the minimalist asked, who initially planted the foxglove. No-one recalls
planting them; they just came to thrive in the garden one year. She isn't too keen on the long stalks being visually overpowering, whereas I like the
garden to be as harmoniously busy as possible. For the past two years the pink foxglove has been self-seeding. This year, a cream-bulbed variety
actually sprouted. Nature is pretty awesome.
Flowers remind me that everything is ephemeral - we all have our moments to be in bloom. That said, it's also a state of mind and you can always be
growing and blossoming in different ways. Sometimes I can't bring myself to snip floral buds for an illustration, where it was particularly tricky with
the calla lillies I planted this year. The entire box was brimming with swirled petals! I remind myself that the petals will eventually fall and capturing
them in their full glory allows me to preserve that snapshot in time...as well as share my own creative touch.
As Alice says “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” Know it's worth being present to venture down the flower-
lined path...and see where the white rabbit takes you.