Since 2005, I've been sculpting and painting clay roses and petals to explore meaningful, representative and aesthetic compositions on canvas. A number of series are in development. The latest, Personal Narratives, is choreography in clay, illustrating my personal reverberations on various topics about what it means to be human and our interaction with the natural world, with sculpted movements in petals and roses.
When it comes to the sculpting and painting of thousands and thousands of roses, ritual is revelation. We all engage in daily ritual as each morning we get up and engage in our daily routines. Productivity is our strength. Our accomplishments energize us, give us a sense of identity, well-being and purpose. This is a basic universal truth that stretches across religions, cultures and nations. And though we engage in this 'rinse and repeat' cycle, each day is different, revealing new ideas, new insight, or our own struggles and inadequacies. No two days and no two routines are ever truly the same. The sculpting, painting, arranging and adhering of petals and roses is one of my daily rituals. Hand-crafted petal by petal, over and over and over again, no two roses are the same; each is its own moment in time, its own endeavor, each dictates its own size and its own aesthetic qualities, each is imbued with my mood at the time of its creation - joy, anxiety, fear, hope or even boredom, or more often, some strange mixture of these.
And then each becomes a dedication to never giving up and a commitment to something larger than itself - something that begins small and ends up monumental, something that starts with one and ends with many. Each becomes a part of a whole, a single atom on this extraordinarily complex planet. Each created with the underlying hope that the sum truly is greater than its parts, that there is a magic in coming together, in composition, in community.
A fourth-generation floral crafter, the subject matter must be genetically imbued! Dating back to the time of my Sicilian great-grandmother, she and my grandmother embroidered flowers and hand-crafted bouquets out of various papers, a tradition still carried on by my Sicilian aunt. A third-generation gardener, my maternal grandmother said that she was most recognizable by her backside, as she was so often bending down, her hands gloveless in the dirt, digging, pruning, weeding and whispering to her flowers. My mother has carried on the tradition as I can attest, the vision of her own backside drawn high up against the summer sun emblazoned forever in my memory as I follow suit, dig gloveless and do the same.