Ideally commissions get you to new discoveries and learning--Passiflora is a case in point. This commission is essentially a branding project. The collector asked for a composition featuring the passion flower both as an art hanging and to create visuals for business cards. The collector grows passion flowers in her lakefront urban courtyard and sees the geometrically complex, richly symbolic flower as a personal motif.
I approach glass as a low-res medium so all compositions are abstractions that will read in dimensional glass. Finding the essence of a real world object or concept and reducing it down to the salient features is step one in my process. I am also interested in the radical picturesque: constant change and transience that suggest states of becoming or unmaking rather than static perfection. I see the endless individual variations in nature as a way to understand objects and ideas as in transition. Encoding transience in the rigid permanent media of glass is an interesting challenge. Utilizing the reflective properties of glass so that select elements within the piece shift and shimmer with light and movement ensures the dynamic nature of the work. I also approach my drawings as a guideline. New rhythms emerge as the piece is built with variations in line and form echoing those found in nature.
The passion flower is a tremendously complex bloom with layered geometric elements.
Preliminary concepts featured glass stringer as an obvious material proxy for the fringe-like interior element of the bloom. The first concepts flattened the flower to get the full geometry of the inner middle and exterior elements. While accurate, the blooms were flat and lifeless. I explored other compositions and found more energy by contrasting the vine elements with crisp structural lines of a deconstructed trellis and wall. Visualizing the blooms in profile gave me a way to find more variation in the petal structure. I cut this concept and then, in consultation with the client, decided the bloom elements needed additional definition and color to be readable as passion flowers.
The final concept then pulled in purple and iridescent mauves for the interior bloom elements. These edits bring the blooms to life in a shimmering abstraction of the actual geometries. Variations in form, size and color in the vine and bloom elements signal growth and becoming for the entire plant, a visual metaphor for the ongoing act of becoming.