Wounded Flowers Series – Decaying Lily Petal

in Alien Art Hive3 months ago (edited)

Wounded Flowers Series – Decaying Lily Petal

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Decaying Lily Petal I

Decaying Lily Petal I.jpg
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Backstory Bits

Carved in Brazilian amber, ”Decaying Lily Petal” is part of the series “Wounded Flowers”. Amber is classified as an organic stone, as is Jet, which I’ve also carved into miniature sculptures. Amber is my favourite of the two organic stones. Why? It’s the nature of amber, what I call it’s “essence”, that intangible, immaterial aspect. When I carve any material, I seek to know its essence, to connect, and dialogue with it.

Amber, despite my having carved it for about twenty years, still has this elusive quality. Its essence is always a hair’s breathe out of my reach. I’m climbing the insurmountable, the forever unattainable. It is a perpetual challenge. This is why amber is my favourite. In seeing that, I see it is also reflecting my nature back at me. Challenges are what spur me on. It’s all about the race, never about the prize. The process is where all the enjoyment is. Completion of a sculpture means the end of the process, the end of the challenge, the end of the fun of that particular experience.

Before I digress into discussion of ”Decaying Lily Petal”, I’ve selected quotes from each post in this series with the post links below to provide background about the series.
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Wilting Flower

“At one point, I was studying one of the lilies she was growing and it occurred to me how flesh-like the flower petals were, plus this sensitivity in their nature. That was the moment it clicked; I had the ideal symbol for my series.”
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Discarded Flower

”So what am I talking about with this “Discarded Flower” carving? I’m talking about how we are discarded from youth and all through adulthood. This happens in all kinds of ways to varying degrees."
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Frozen Flower

“Frozen Flower” is all about this extreme freezing up in situations where triggering occurs that snaps one back to a previous experience of trauma that instilled a pattern of helplessness, among other things.”
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Decaying Lily Petal II

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Diving into Decaying Lily Petal

Lilies, my favourite flower, specifically Stargazer Lilies.There’s nothing quite like the scent of them. That blast of fuchsia colour splashing out on white. I’ve had these flowers gifted to me often. I’ve watched them slowly decay day by day each time. The petals following off, curling, twisting, writhing in their dying moments towards the dry papery husk remains of a life departed. Death. Lilies are associated with death, something I’m long acquainted with, and the reason for my choice of subject matter.
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Decaying Lily Petal III

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This sculpture in the series is more personal. It’s touching on my own journey of healing. It brings me back to when I was child, when I was dying inside, and all the excruciating abuse I experienced during those formative years. I’m not going to detail any of that here. It’s extreme. It’s far too disturbing to read. There’s enough of that all over the place as it is these days.

Death. There are countless ways to be alive and yet dead inside. I’ve known many walking dead throughout the years. I never wanted to be one of them. I refused to allow what I experienced as a child to destroy me inside, to kill my spirit. That said, there was a lot of rotten decay to clean up after the fact. It meant a tremendous deal of hard work. It took over twenty years. Painful beyond words. There are no words. No journey has ever been as worthwhile as this one was.
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Decaying Lily Petal IV

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Creating, in particular creating art, has always been one of the primary ways I use to cope with and process experiences I have throughout my life. I work with the materials that I’m given. There’s an endless supply.

The piece of amber I selected for Decaying Lily Petal had insect inclusions. It’s the only piece of amber I’ve carved that did. There were a few insects that were removed during the carving process. Other inclusions appear to be some type of vegetative matter. I had an unexpected surprise when cutting into two areas that I thought were air bubble inclusions. The amber cried when I cut it. Not amber tears. Ancient tears of water trapped long ago wet my fingers. Another experience unique in creating this sculpture.
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Decaying Lily Petal V

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Part of any healing journey is letting go of learned behaviours and habits that hinder and block. It is the death of old ways of being that open the door for new beginnings. New behaviours and habits that create growth and the ability to flourish using adversity to fertilize that development, rather than allowing adversity to crush one.
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Decaying Lily Petal VI

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Carving, cutting away decay and dead things. Leaving some behind as reminders. The battle scars of a warrior. Keeping the blade honed and ready. Courage means feeling fear and facing it directly. Using creativity to heal, entering a doorway that brought me home to my true self. Having the amber wash me with ancient tears. Healing from child abuse is a slow process. So is carving amber. Both require patience. The spiral of life.
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Decaying Lily Petal VII

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Size of finished sculpture is approximately 2” x 1 ¾” x ¾”. All photos taken by Nine with a Pentax digital 35mm camera and 90mm Tamron macro lens.
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Wow!! These are incredible. I think IV is my favourite but really they are all stonking. I love the years of trapped ancient water. So good.

I really didn't know you could amber. Do you buy lumps of it? I am totally intrigued by that. I love carving although my experience is limited to a wooden head. It's it just a knife you use? I must try it!

Why thank you @meesterboom! Yes, IV is rather punchy. The trapped water was a bizarre experience, since I was carving this one with no water at that stage. Didn't know why my fingers were all of a sudden wet.

Yes, I buy lumps of it, or I have, not anymore because I have enough of it. Baltic amber is the best quality amber. When purchasing, it's important to buy from a reputable source because there's a lot fake amber out there. It's best to buy it in person. There are ways to test amber to see if it's real or fake, but if you buy from a reputable source, this shouldn't be an issue.

Amber is really hard to carve, not in the sense of hardness of material, but in the sense that it's so delicate, fractures easily, requires a light hand, extreme patience and even then, things can go south in a flash, as I know all too well.

It's best carved by hand, no power tools (heat is a big issue). For amber, I generally start with a riffler to rough it out, one of the fancy hand forged ones I have from France. One end is curved, the other end is more triangular. I go slowly with light pressure. In addition to that, I use a micro shallow gouge and a micro chisel (German tools) to work details, along with Italian Needle files, and some handmade Japanese carving tools that are specifically for netsuke carving. Covering four countries here with my tools, lol. The Japanese ones are very different, hard to describe and the ones I have I did not put handles on because it allows for a greater range of motion when carving. Finishing process means wet dry sand papers in several grits used with water. I cut the sandpaper into tiny squares and wrap around bamboo (😁) sticks that I've cut into various shapes to reach all areas.

I took a look for some links for you for amber below:

[Amber info}(http://raw-amber.com/natural-amber/about-raw-amber), (http://www.aakz.com/British-and-Irish-amber.html). I'm sure you'd be able to get some where you are. Best way to get it, would be to find dealers of minerals/stones where you are. Not sure if there are trade shows in your area for this, but those can be a good source.

I want to hear all about it if you try carving this. It won't be like brickwork, that's guaranteed. 😏

Good lord. Not that I want to look like a flip-flopping butterfly but that looks too hard. Fuck that. I take my hat off to you even more! Incredible. I thought it would be a case of attacking it with one of my fine chisels :OD

You are very talented! But we knew that :O)

😂I'm not trying to rain on your parade of amber aspirations, but thought I should warn you ahead of time that you might prefer bricks. It's why I like it so much...the pressure of screwing up is a constant challenge.

I kind of wonder what fine chisels you might have. You might want to try out butternut wood, not sure if you have that there. It's much more amenable to carving when one is not practiced.

You are very talented! But we knew that :O)

Thank you. With talent though, any talent, a great deal of hard work and practice for a long time are still necessary to become really good at anything. I've been doing art since I was a child and carving seriously since 1996. This is why it's at the level it's at today.

I have a case of fine chisels of many shapes and odd curly points. I really did want to carve more wood but the wooden head thing really did me in as it was just random branch wood that was evil hard. It took ages. Even now it haunts me because I think it looks amateurish AF but the family love it. lol.

That is a long time carving. You are at the top of your game by the looks of it!

I'm getting the picture of your fine case of chisels. It's not a small amount either. The odd curly points sound most interesting. Tool addict here.

it was just random branch wood that was evil hard.

😂 I'm thinking maybe hawthorn....figures you'd pick the hardest brutal torture to carve. I've carved some like that purpleheart and wanted to scream like madwoman at the insanity of it.

I cannot judge (like I'm something special here, not, lol) your carving, since I have not seen it, but the fact that your family loves it tells me that it's better than you think it is.

That is a long time carving. You are at the top of your game by the looks of it!

Thanks! Time went too fast, so it doesn't feel like a long time, especially when there's so much more to learn...but never enough time as we keep touching on, lol.

Yay! 🤗
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