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Thorn Issue 1

ÂŁ10 Spring/Summer 2012

A Magazine that explores the Transience and Symbolism of Flowers in Art, Fashion and Society


Masthead

Thorn Magazine Editor : Kerrie Donnelly Cover Art : Bethan Amy Sands

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without permission from the publishers. The views expressed in Thorn Magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not neccessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. The magazine welcimes ideas and new contributors but can assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations. Thorn Magazine is printed in the UK and published 2 times a year. Š 2012 Thorn Magazine


Editor's Letter I’ll never forget the day I received my first bouquet of flowers. It was my Holy Communion and I remember being absolutely elated when my Godmother handed me the little bunch of carnations. This modest bouquet surpassed all the cards and money other people had given me. These flowers made me feel like a grown up. I was devastated when days later they began to wilt and die, so I searched around my room for any books I could find. Carefully I placed each stem between the pages of my maths books, science copies and Jacqueline Wilson novels; leaving them for months on end to dry and compress. From then on, I cherished every flower that was given to me, whether it was a glorious bouquet at my school graduation, a mutilated daffodil drunkenly snatched from a park or a single rose on Valentine’s Day. Everything about flowers fascinates me. A beautiful flower can lift the atmosphere of any room and boost anyone’s spirit all in its short lifetime. The transience of flowers is something that I wanted to explore within this magazine. We associate flowers with so many major milestones in our lives; weddings, birthdays, celebrations and funerals, but why do we spend so much of our money on these expensive arrangements when we know that they won’t last? It’s crazy to think that leaving cut flowers in water will eventually kill them, but add some bleach to the water and they will last longer. How is it that something so toxic that can kill a human being is capable of preserving the life of something so delicate? Thorn Magazine was created to unearth the ancient symbolism of flowers, explore the history of them in society and to examine the influence they’ve had in the art world. Thorn Magazine strives to steer clear of flowers’ beauty; instead choosing to look at them in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Kerrie Donnelly Editor-in-Chief


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Contents

67

Bloom by Anna Schuleit

11

73

Interview

Ghost Bikes

17

Jane Valena Paludanus

Feature

Photo Series

27

Ashkan Honarvar

33

Profile

Natalia Grzybowski

41

Shopping Page

43

Photo Series

Ludo

49

Profile

Fred Perry

51

Editorial

The Anatomy of Flowers

59

Interview

Florals

Interview

Jenny Brown

Interview

Gisele Ganne

Feature

Funeral Flowers

77

Photo Series

Ori Gersht

85

Interview

The Flower Guy

91

Photo Series

Bethan Amy Sands

95

Feature

Fresh Flowers by Sandra Bautista

97

Editorial

Genesis 3:18

105

Shopping Page

Thorns

107

feature

Ritual Flowers

117

Profile

The Silene Stenophylla

119

Dictionary of Flowers


1.

Bloom by Anna Schuleit Carpeting the floors of the Massachusetts Mental Health Centre with 28,000 blooming flowers, installation artist Anna Schuleit’s inspirations lie in the depressing state of psychiatric wards

The room is brimming with flowers. Colourful vases decorate the bedside tables, cards litter the windowsill, plush toys disguise the drips and tubes and the endless boxes of chocolates make up for the unpleasant hospital food. Whether it’s a minor ailment or something more serious, patients are inundated with well-wishers’ tokens of their concern. As lurid as some of these service-station bouquets can be, they never fail to light up a room, especially the clinical white walls of a hospital ward. The colourful roses, carnations and sunflowers not only lift the atmosphere in the room, but they also encourage patients to recover and boost their overall morale. They are a sign that someone cares. But would you find the same amount of gifts and colours on a psychiatric wing of the same hospital? Not a chance. The drab colours of the ward remain the same – dull and lifeless, sucking any sign of vibrancy out of the window. No flowers, teddy bears or even cards can be seen. Nothing that shows the patients that someone cares about them too. A recent investigation by The Psychiatrist Journal confirmed the fact that medical patients receive more gifts than psychiatric patients do. For their study, they took 20 medical patients and 20 psych patients and examined the amount of flowers and cards that each received whilst admitted to hospital. The results were shocking. All of the medical patients were at the receiving end of hoards of cards and flowers, which they believed aided their recovery. On the opposite end of the spectrum, all of the psych patients admitted that they rarely received any form of luxury gifts, like cards or chocolates, with a few saying they were only ever sent necessities like toiletries, clothes and cigarettes. Not one of these patients ever received a bunch

Amaranth [am.a.ranth]

of flowers. One psychiatric patient blamed his lack of cards on “people not knowing what to put on a card if you’re mad”. As unsettling as that comment may be, it’s entirely true. The age-old stigmas about mental illness unfortunately still exist, with many of the patients that participated in the study admitting to not telling anybody about their hospital stay in the fear of being judged. Even though mental illness is as common as cancer or heart disease, people are still afraid to mention this ‘touchy subject’ and find themselves at a loss for words. Inspired by the lack of flowers on psychiatric wards, American artist Anna Schuleit set out to create an installation to commemorate those who were forgotten. Her inspiration came from her time as a visiting artist at a long-term, closed institution. Noticing that psychiatric patients didn’t receive flowers like medical patients did, she decided to pay homage to them. “When I was commissioned for a closing project for the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston, I asked to get access to the patient files from long ago, and while reading through long lists of names and admission dates, causes for commitment and length of stays, the thought of adding up all the flowers that had never been given in this building over 91 years of operation, flowers that were missing, came to me. A large gathering, a greeting back in time. Slightly absurd in its math, but simple in its visuals. So, ‘Bloom’ was created to address the persistent absence of flowers in psychiatric hospitals. I pictured hallway after hallway flooded with single colours: reds, blues, yellows, whites, purples, and one mixed wildflower meadow upstairs. It was a painter’s vision, really, covering the building in pure color, replacing drabness, marking distance and direction.” For such a massive project, planning and


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All Images courtesy of Anna Schuleit

meticulous execution were critical in achieving a successful venture. 28,000 rows of flowers covered the floors and filled a swimming pool, turning the mute and sombre building into something from a magical fairy tale. “From the day I was commissioned to the day all the flowers were in place, the installation took one-hundred days to create, a countdown rush to a set date. It was an immense effort by many volunteers, leading up to the day it opened to the public. I couldn’t reconstruct all the countless steps it took to make it happen—it was simply an amazing, logistical puzzle.” Her painter’s vision transformed every surface of the dilapidated building into a stunning meadow of flowers. “At the beginning I had asked for an office facing one of the ivy-clad courtyards, which became our project head-quarters. Then I looked for, and found, a plant broker in the Boston area who helped me negotiate the prices of the flowers with vendors nationwide. Of the twentyeight thousand flowers, fifteen thousand turned out to be tulips (in three colours: orange, red, and white), which came from Canada. Pink heather came from California, by truck, as did many other flowers, and blue African violets were flown in from Florida for the swimming pool, on the night before the opening. All of the flowers arrived in the few days before the project opened to the public in ‘stage 2 bloom’, needing water immediately. During set-up they went to ‘stage 3’, which was full bloom. It was breathtaking to have so many living things enter the building once more, at its very end. It was pure joy to work with all that colour and scent, but it was humbling too. Such sadness in these buildings, such lingering pain and abandonment. It was this that we tried to overcome with this work, gently. For four days, the building was

“It was a painter’s v i s i o n , r e a l l y , covering t h e building in pure color, replacing drabness, m a r k i n g distance a n d direction”

open day and night to thousands of visitors pouring in from the streets by word-of-mouth. On the third day, Reuters and Associated Press picked up the story and spread it around the world. It was the people who came to see the building in bloom who completed the closure, the actual gesture of remembrance and commemoration.” With such an incredibly creative idea; art and an immense imagination were bound to have played a central part in any artists’ life and Anna’s background is no different. Her talented family consists of an array of different artists. Her mother is a sculptor, her father a designer and her four siblings express their artistic ways as a mime, a collagist, an architect and a new media artist. “All of our conversations have always been about art, and we grew up discussing art, constantly, in one way or another. Creativity was most highly valued in my childhood; I simply can’t remember when any other activity got as much support, praise, criticism, and feedback, as making art. I could even say that my childhood was all about art, and not much else.” Growing up in such an expressive family was something she found a little overwhelming and at times, she longed to grow up in a more normal family, with lawyers or doctors as parents and predictable routines and weekly schedules. But as she got older, she grew to appreciate her quirky family. “I realise that my childhood still influences me deeply, in good ways, to this day. I feel at home in what I do, making art every day, all the time, in a constant way. If art is something exotic among one’s loved ones, chances are that one can’t sustain it. For a life-time commitment, art needs to be something ordinary, not extraordinary — something constant

Celandine [cel.an.dine]


3.

that one doesn’t have to spend energy defending against skepticism. Being an artist is a real job, not a flirtation with promises and possibilities, but a blue-collar commitment. But there were times when I wanted to become a stewardess instead or a horse trainer. Also writing: I’ve always been writing, writing, writing. But if I narrow all interests back down to one, it’s painting. Paint and color and lines and marks and shapes on a surface or in space.” ‘Bloom’ may have been an incredible success, showcasing her remarkable talent as an installation artist, but Anna’s brilliance doesn’t end there. At the moment, she’s working alongside other visionaries in the art and music world, with the intent of broadening her realms. “I spend my time in the studio, alone, all day, looking for semi-abstract events in my paintings. Events that are visual, not conceptual. The larger projects are exceptions in my creative process. Each large project, being ideabased, consumes one’s entire reserves, while studio work replenishes, as it is a more abstract, searching process. But the larger projects allow for creative team-work, which I enjoy very much, too.” This year alone, Schuleit is collaborating numerous other artists on different projects, working with a composer, a dance company, a musician and four composers at the Eastman School of Music. “In these works what interests—and challenges—me is the dialogue between disciplines. The work then arises out of watching and allowing the exchange between media, giving up preconceptions, allowing new things to happen, being surprised and, ultimately, humbled.” Working with such stimulating and powerful mediums like composers, dance troupes

Helenium [he.len.i.um]

and in the case of her ‘Landlines’ installation in 2007, one hundred ringing telephones, it must have been a subdued but peaceful transition to work with the most natural thing in the world; flowers. But will she be using them again anytime soon? “Flowers are natural colour-carriers, so to me as a painter, who spends all day using colour in dry and liquid form, flowers are magical objects. But they don’t need to be part of any projects to be appreciated, rather, they resemble trees and valleys and other natural wonders, as they are complete unto themselves. If I use flowers again, it will have to be for a solid and original reason,” she says. Seeking out all 28,000 flowers for the installation was an expensive mission, with blooms being sourced from all the over the U.S. But even though cut flowers would have been much cheaper to use, Anna’s compassionate persona shone through and so she decided to shun cut flowers in favour of potted plants – her vision was for them to live on. “Cut flowers are, of course, cheaper and easier to find in a greater variety in November, but cut flowers have a limited lifetime, which inspired me to work with potted, flowering plants instead, so that they wouldn’t go to waste afterwards. All of the twentyeight thousand flowers were donated to patients in psychiatric institutions, hospitals, half-way houses, and shelters.” It took over six weeks for her to make countless deliveries and along with some of her volunteers, they made sure that every flower was rehoused. “Even the 5,600 square feet of sod that I carpeted the basement with was carefully re-planted. Nothing went to waste.”


4.

Narcissus [nar.cis.sus]


7.

Oleander [o.le.an.der]


8.

Tuberose [tu.ber.ose]


9.

Hydrangea [hy.dran.gea]


10.

Hibiscus [hi.bis.cus]


11.

Ghost Bikes

Poignant reminders of cyclist’s unnecessary deaths, these ghost bikes pay tribute to lost lives all over the world

Stepping out of Dalston Junction tube station, something colourful caught my eye. It was a bike. But not some quirky fixed-gear bicycle that’s usually seen around that area. It was a mountain bike and it was painted white. From the tires to the seat, every part of the frame was spray-painted, giving it an eerie feel. It was a ghostly looking thing. But it wasn’t the mono-colour that caught my eye, it was the flowers. Sprouting from every corner, the stunning blooms, both real and artificial, brought the skeleton to life. Mesmerised at its beauty, I wondered what street artist had left his calling card on the corner of this East London road. But I was wrong. This wasn’t a sculpture by some anonymous artist, it was a ghostbike. A sombre

Trillium [tril.li.um]

and poignant memorial for a bicyclist who had been killed at that very spot. This particular ghostbike was commemorating the death of 28-year-old Dan Cox; a Londoner who had been killed by a HGV lorry on that corner on his way to work in February 2011. Conceived by a group of cyclists in St. Louis Missouri in 2003 to pay homage to their fallen cycling comrades, the project has spread worldwide with over 500 ghostbikes appearing in 180 different locations. In the UK, they can be found in Brighton, Oxford, York and London; with most of them appearing during the night. The artists involved usually work under the cover of darkness, working with an old stripped down bike. Everything of value is

removed, like the chain, pedals and brake cables. The skeleton is painted white and is then chained to railings or a lamp post; the latter sadly being one of the many causes of a cyclists death. The presence of these bikes helps highlight the needless deaths of thousands of souls and the suffering of their family, friends, witnesses and even the motorists involved. If just one of these ghostbikes will make one lorry or car driver look twice before turning left, or help one cyclist to take extra care at a busy junction, then these bikes are achieving their purpose. Along with commemorating the dead, they also preserve the lives of the living and continue to do so through mutual awareness.


12.

Images courtesy of ghostbikes.org

Christopher Benton. Chicago.

Verbena [ver.be.na]


I

13.

Dan Cox. London.

Deep Lee. London.

Sarah Woods. New York.

Yarrow [yar.row]


Image courtesy of artnet.com

Image courtesy of artnet.com


Enraptured by his own reflection, Narcissus was tormented by the realisation that he would never possess the object of his dark desires. Plunging a dagger through his heart, a beautiful white narcissus flower sprung up in the blood soaked earth.


17.

Jane Valena Paludanus Introducing the twenty year old Dutch photographer and illustrator with her exclusive designs for Thorn


Untitled (1) 2012


Untitled (2) 2012


Untitled (3) 2012


Untitled (4) 2012


Image courtesy of Jane Paludanus


27.

ashkan honarvar The Iranian artist on his disturbing collages

Obsessed with the macabre realism of human nature, Iranian artist Ashkan Honarvar’s deeply disturbing collages highlight the darker side of life. Scars, death and disease are only a few aspects of human suffering depicted in his art, alongside war-related disfigurements, rape and sexual exploitation. But exploring the evil side of mankind in such a graphic and eye-catching way can come at a price, as in 2009 the exhibition Generation Y-2, featuring controversial pieces from numerous Dutch designers, including Ashkan, was scrapped after only two days of exhibiting. Deemed by press as tasteless and provocative, the artists collectively decided to remove their artworks entirely instead of moving them to an alternative, less visible location. It comes as no surprise then that Honarvar’s greatest inspiration is the prolific German artist John Heartfield and father of political montages. “Heartfield was a great inspiration for me in creating collages. His photomontages are absolutely mind-blowing. Besides the great aesthetic, his work is also very symbolic.” Just like the influential Heartfield, symbolism is a term used heavily to describe Ashkan’s work, with flowers featuring in most of his pieces. “Flowers are actually really tricky to work with. They are the symbols of beauty but I have seen thousands of collage artists that use them mainly as a filler; just an ornament that makes an image more attractive. With my work,

Stephanotis [steph.an.o.tis]

“His photomontages are absolutely mind-blowing”

everything must have a reason as to why I’ve used it. The symbolism of the flowers is much more important that the aesthetics of it.” Citing Vanitas, the term used to describe a genre of painting popular in the 16th and 17th centuries in The Netherlands as one of the reasons he works so closely with flowers, Ashkan says, “The main and only reason I use flowers is because of the Vanitas symbols. In these paintings, every flower has a different meaning and representation. All of them are related to life and death.” A Latin term that corresponds to the transient nature of vanity and the meaninglessness of earthly life, Vanitas paintings usually feature rotting fruit, skulls, butterflies and most notably, flowers. A skilled painter, illustrator, sketch artist and collage artist, Ashkan’s insane talent shows no boundaries. But where does he begin when it comes to creating his signature photomontages? “My collages are all handmade with original printed material. I find all the books in secondhand shops and on the internet. After sourcing the right books, I begin by cutting up the whole thing and laying every piece around me. At this point, it’s important to have a complete overview of all the available materials and images which could be well over a hundred. Then begins the collage making part. More than likely, I’ll end up with some parts that I won’t use, but that’s just how it goes. I always use new books for each project, that way every collection looks as unique as the next.”


28.

2012. Metamhorphosis

Alstroemeria [al.stroe.me.ri.a]


29.

Constantly spurning out new projects, Honarvar’s visuals in one of his latest works are sure to send shivers down your spine. A sequel to his ‘Unnatural Death’ collection from 2010, ‘Metamorphosis’ combines images of deceased people, including children and illustrations of plants and flowers that reflects a surreal contradiction between life and death. The battered faces, bruised torsos and swollen limbs of the subjects are in stark contrast to the beauty of the flowers. Touching on tendentious issues in all of his work, Ashkan’s favourite project to date is ‘Ubakagi’. A Congolese term for cutting meat from a dead animal, Ubakagi is also the term used to describe a woman who has been raped. In ordinary circumstances, the phallus is a symbol of fertility but Ashkan reverses the meaning and uses it to represent the abuse of power. “Covering such a heavy subject, ‘Ubakagi’ is one of those projects that has a good amount of symbolism but at the same time, it shows a strong aesthetic feeling.” Speaking of heavy subjects, Ashkan’s influences lie in his upbringing. Growing up in Shiraz, Iran, when the Iran-Iraq war was ending, the visions of war ravaged bodies, severed limbs and armored vehicles were bound to have a lasting effect on the young boy. “I remember drawing lots of war scenes, with lots of blood, tanks and dinosaurs. I always got lost in those battle scenes and I remember that I wanted to do this forever. Of course I didn’t knew what an ‘artist’ was back then because I was too young. But art has always been a way for me to escape reality.” As well as the beautiful flowers and plants that Honarvar incorporates into many of his pieces, his obsession with medical journals and photography adds another eery dimension to his art. “Medical photography has always been inspiring. How the human body reacts to diseases and war are things that really fascinate me.” In his latest project, Ashkan is steering clear of his morbid compulsions and going back to the beginning when time was void of the atrocities of modern society. “At the moment I’m working on some big pieces based on biblical stories. One of the pieces is inspired by the garden of Eden and the creation of Adam and Eve.” But even if he’s influenced by aberrant and horrific events like wars and illness, or focusing on the lighter side of things with his floral works, Ashkan’s art never fails to evoke emotion, discussion and a most of all, a reaction.

Begonia [be.go.nia]


30.

2011. The Age of Adz.

Ranunculus [ran.nun.cu.lus]


2010. Images from his “Ubakagi 4� Collection, highlighting the relationship between the offender and the power in Congolese rape cases

Zinnia [zin.ni.a]


2011. Vanitas.

Wisteria [wis.te.ri.a]


33.

Images courtesy of Natalia Grzybowski

natalia grzybowski

Sydney-based designer Natalia Grzybowski may not be a recognised name in the fashion industry just yet, but her Spring / Summer 2012 ‘Hybrid’ collection will no doubt catapult this young designer into the high-fashion world. Her stunning graduate collection, merges feminine prints and chiffon materials with structured tailoring to create her other-worldly designs. Describing her collection, Grzybowski says, “Hybrid is a conceptual collection that combines elements of nature and technology in order to re-define our current visual interpretation of the female cyber-organism. Through the combination of natural, synthetic and technological elements, the female body takes on a hybrid form: part human, part botanic.” The designs come in both a printed form and in a blank version, which although it’s less striking than its colourful counterpart, the crisp white pieces highlight the beautiful silhouettes that she creates. Giving prints a

Vetch [vetch]


“hybrid"

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modern edge, she transforms the human body into the organic form of a flower. “Each textile design has been strategically designed and engineered for the body to eliminate textile wastage whilst creating a stunning visual effect. Each piece is an art form within itself, complementing, without overtly sexualising the female form, using shapes that are simultaneously structured yet soft, mimicking the form of a flower.” The 23 year old’s fascinating concept behind her collection and her views on the female physique sets her apart from other textile designers. After showcasing her botanical pieces at the L’Oreal Fashion Festival and winning a 6 month internship with Calvin Klein in New York, her awe-inspiring and incredible collection is a true testament to her endless talents.

Spirea [sp.ir.ea]


35.

Scabiosa [sc.ab.io.sa]


36.

Rhubarb [rhu.barb]


37.

Phlox [phlox]


38.

Quince [quince]


Image courtesy of artnet.com

Image courtesy of artnet.com


I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. -Emma Goldman

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” - Emma Goldman


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where to buy... PRABAL GURUNG silk floral shorts £735 net-a-porter.com

JEFFREY CAMPBELL floral damsel wedges £190 solestruck.com

DR. MARTENS carrie shoe £80 drmartens.com

LIBERTY LONDON COLLECTION knot watch £59 liberty.co.uk

STEVIE J & YONI P mesh back floral t-shirt £146 openingceremony.us

NIKE X LIBERTY air max 1 trainers £100 liberty.co.uk


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Floral Prints CLAIRE BARROW painted leather jacket £260 clairebarrow.com

B STORE mila 3 flower shoes £270 coggles.com

CHRISTOPHER KANE clematis leather clutch £400 net-a-porter.com HUF floral starter snapback £28 huf.com

DR.MARTENS castel boot £130 drmartens.com

EASTPAK flower backpack £39 urbanoutfitters.com

CITIZENS OF HUMANITY floral skinny jeans £215 net-a-porter.com


43.

Ludo

A look at some of Parisian street artist Ludo’s best pieces. His combination of grey and acid green paste-ups explore the relationship between nature and the harsh reality of violence and terror.

Images courtesy of Ludo

“Nature is something that human nature has always tried to control, but in the end it totally surpasses us. It’s calmly beautiful and extremely violent.”

Marigold [mari.gold]

Bee with protective mask. Paris.


44.

fingerpicking. paris.

“I get my message as a street artist across with the idea of respect, even if it’s not the most appropriate way. I hate people feeling superior or crap intellectual politicians telling us how to live.”

Nettle [net.tle]


skull grapes. Paris.


47.

“I like the aesthethic of organic things versus the harshness of cold metals�

cherry pills. oslo.

Lungwort [lung.wort]


48.

ibiscus. amsterdam. “I enjoy every piece I create. There is always something happening. Sometimes I’m already laughing at my own ideas just thinking about them. At the end of the day, even if they turn out shit, I’ve had a good time.”

Mullein [mul.lein]


49.

Fred Perry The history behind the laurel wreath

The laurel wreath – a symbol of triumph, achievement and victory. A powerful metaphor for conquest, not something you would typically associate with popular chav culture. But for British sporting brand Fred Perry, that was one obstacle that stood in their way of supremacy. The circular wreath made of interlocking leaves and branches of the bay laurel, originated in Ancient Greece. Presented to victorious athletes and to participants in poetic meets, the crown was a token of successful feats. But it wasn’t until Mr. Fred Perry adopted the wreath as his logo for his clothing company in the 1940’s, that it became a modern and relevant house-hold trademark. Unsurprisingly, Fred Perry was a sporting champion himself, having been a three time winner at Wimbledon and a Davis Cup champion. So when it came to choosing an emblem for his fledging clothing business that would represent him the best, Perry was considering going ahead with the image of a smoking pipe. Believing that it was the most synonymous thing about him, he was soon deterred against the decision by his business

Honeysuckle [hon.ey.suck.le]

partner Tibby Wegner as he “didn’t think that the girls would go for it.” His judgement was correct. After much thought, Wegner proposed the idea of using the laurel wreath that Perry sported on his touring blazer and Davis Cup sweater, something which he wore with great pride. After being granted permission to use the emblem by The All England Tennis Club, the wreath became his own. And the rest they say is history. That was until the high-end brand was hijacked by chavs across Britain in the early noughties. Rip-offs appeared across market stalls, lowering the standards of the once highly established company. But staying true to their victorious roots, the label fought back with designer collaborations with the likes of Richard Nicoll, the late Amy Winehouse and the newly appointed head of Dior, Raf Simons. These stunning collections proved effective, as the brand soon reclaimed its status as a company steeped in heritage and integrity and one of the most esteemed design houses in Britain.


Images courtesy of Fred Perry

50.

June 1934. Fred Perry at Wimbledon

Jonquil [jon.quil]


51.

The anatomy

Lamb heart Lisianthus


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of flowers

Lamb heart Gypsophila


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Oxtail Kidney lisianthus lilac


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oxtail kidney Gypsophila lilac


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Lamb Liver lilac purple phlox


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Lamb heart Oxtail Kidney Lamb Liver Thistle Iris Gypsophila

Purple phlox Veronica Mimosa Lilac Lisianthus


58.

Lamb Heart Lisianthus Lilac Iris Mimosa Photography by : Kerrie Donnelly Flowers by : Simon Smith Flowers, Epsom


59. 2012. Squid.

Jenny Brown We talk to the American artist about her deep sea collages

A jellyfish is a free-swimming marine coelenterate with a jellylike bell or saucer-shaped body that is typically transparent and has stinging tentacles around the edge. If we didn’t already know that these creatures reside in the seas that we too frequent, it would be easy to read that dictionary definition and presume a jellyfish is the evil character from a sci-fi movie. The slimy beings, with their pulsating bodies and intertwined tentacles are the stuff of nightmares. But Jenny Brown is probably the only person I’ve come across that can turn something so eerie into something so beautiful. Her mixedmedia collages marry the scary world of sea creatures with the beauty of flowers, providing a visually stunning fresh take on the medusa. “I like bringing sea life into my floral works. The creatures’ tentacles remind me of roots, and seem to be reaching for light, much like a flower turns itself towards the sun.” The visual artist from Providence, Rhode Island has always had a love for creating art. “I began as an avid map and blueprint maker as a child, creating my own cities and layouts for homes and buildings. I spent my college years painting, but then began focusing on my true loves, drawing and collage once I was out of school. I have a special interest in using found materials.” Her use of fabrics and textiles bring another dimension to her striking work, and the artist admits to constantly being on the hunt for new materials to incorporate into her pieces. “My collecting and antiquing is often a catalyst for beginning this process. I am constantly on the search of antique greeting cards, papers, and fabrics, and other collaging materials. As I find interesting colours, textures and shapes, I begin putting them together with my sketches.” Her sketches’ subjects range from sea creatures to the more abstract, but one theme is apparent throughout her work – nature. “Nature is my main inspiration, or I should say my desire to understand nature is what drives me to create a lot of my works. My use of found

materials allows me to explore my interest in making what is old, new again.” Her influences don’t just rely on the environment, many established creators have guided her throughout her creative process. “There are so many artists over the years who have influenced me: Philip Guston, Louise Bourgeois, Dieter Roth, Mary Delaney, Cy Twombly and Francesca Woodman.” As well as her fellow artistic genius’, her own life influences her work. Discussing her favourite piece from her collection, Brown says, “I have a special fondness for my latest green drawing. It was made on a sad day and I think it encapsulates my feeling of needing to ‘reach’ towards an understanding of what I was experiencing that day.”

Other than the mystifying sea creatures that Brown creates, flowers are a central part of most of her pieces. “Flowers are beautiful, complicated, commonplace and mysterious, all at the same time. Flowers can represent and mean so many different things to different people. I love ranunculus, sunflowers, roses and lilacs. I love the lines and peel-away layers of the ranunculus, each layer revealing a new curiosity.” Just like flowers, Brown’s collages are both beautiful but complicated; combining inks, pencil, watercolour, scraps of lace and images, to create stunning pieces that encapsulate her extraordinary gift.


60. 2012. New Growth. Exclusive for Thorn Magazine.


2012. Green Squid.


“Flowers are beautiful, complicated, commonplace and mysterious, all at the same time.�


2012. Blue Jellyfish.


“Beauty and the devil are the same thing.� -robert mapplethorpe


Image courtesyof artnet.com


67.

Image courtesy of Giséle Ganne

Gisele Ganne

The French jewellery designer explores the macabre realism of death and loss through her collections

Back in the 1800s in France, a Globe de Marieé (Marriage Globe) was given to a newlywed couple upon their nuptials as a display for their wedding memorabilia. From the brides gloves, to her tiara, flower bouquet and other personal trinkets, these delicate glass domes encased much more then the couples souvenirs. Each unique article symbolised good luck, prosperity and longevity for the pair. As time went on, locks of their babies hair and photographs of the family were added, each highlighting an exciting new chapter in their lives. Every Globe de Marieé was special to the bride, with different flowers representing her unique personality. Daisies symbolised purity and innocence, orange blossoms stood for virginity, while red roses were the symbol of eternal love – something that was much more adhered to in those days as it is now. In the 19th century, couples had the treasured Marriage Globes to remember an amazing memory that they shared, much like

Gladiolus [glad.i.o.lus]

the tradition of giving jewellery for different occasions in modern life. The Globe de Marieé was used to tell the story of a wedding and the bride’s continuing life, just like the way a jewellery box is a timeline of a woman’s existence. French jewellery designer, Giséle Ganne says, “A jewellery box tells the story of a life. You’re given jewellery for your birth, your birthday, some from boyfriends, others come from holidays and of course, you have engagement and wedding rings. There is a trinket for every joyful moment in your life.” But life isn’t always perfect. Something that was unheard of in the 1800s but is almost a given in marriages today is divorce. With over 42% of unions in the UK ending in divorce and 28% in her native France, Giséle was inspired to embrace the pain of this certain memory and so she created a piece of jewellery to remember another milestone in many women’s lives. “I know that life is not always full of happy moments, there are plenty of bad ones and I guess that

“I wanted those moments to be immortalised in a jewellery box, along with all the beautiful ones.”


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Image courtesy of GisĂŠle Ganne

19th Century Wedding Globes

Eucalyptus [eu.ca.lyp.tus]


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my designs illustrate these ones. I wanted those moments to be immortalised in a jewellery box, along with all the beautiful ones.” Fascinated by the tradition of gifting mourning jewellery in Victorian times, Giséle’s designs explore the macabre aspects of divorce. “My divorce jewellery refers to both old and contemporary wedding customs to illustrate this sort of mourning. As a French person, most of these customs came from the old French tradition of the Marriage Globe. All the decorations inside symbolise the union and gave luck to the marriage. I too use union and marriage symbols in my collection, but I’ve subverted them to the inevitability of the breakup, but I also show that from these ashes, a new life arises.” Popular characters in the Marriage Globes were birds, with the meaning behind the bird being love and if a dove featured, it represented peace in the home. Giséle’s love of all things morbid prevailed and her divorce ring was conceived. “I used the same symbols in the Marriage Globe, but I intertwined them with death. The dove became a bird skull and the roses became dead roses.” Her stunning craftsmanship is evident in her knuckle-duster divorce rings, especially for someone whose career path has changed substantially over the years. “From the age of three, I claimed to everyone that I would be a designer but I didn’t know the specifics of what type of design I would go into. So I spent three years at art school with the hopes of becoming a Walt Disney cartoonist but then I changed my mind and headed to Product Design School for another three years, which is were I earned my BA

Fern [fern]

and MA. After that, I decided to do a second MA degree and I ended up at the Royal College of Art studying jewellery making. It wasn’t a very straightforward way into design, but I’ve ended up doing what I’m meant to do. I love it.” Between her divorce collection and her mourning jewellery, to her Black Widow collection with its necklace made from a noose, it’s clear that Giséle’s inspirations lie in the darker side of life. “I get inspiration from anything. I have a massive folder on my computer that I’ve built up over the years which I browse through from time to time when I need inspiring.” But with flowers featuring prominently in her designs, she says, “Flowers and nature are a great medium to work with. Nature always inspired me, especially the decayed wildlife.” As well as being an influence for her designs, Giséle frequently uses nature as a material. “I love the mix of fine metal with animal memorabilia such as skulls, fur, leather, teeth and hair.” Giséle’s gift as a designer has given both the fashion world incredible designs to work with, but her divorce rings have given women going through such a harrowing experience, a sense of empowerment. Something that is usually so final and binding, is transformed into a liberating milestone. Instead of being ashamed of divorce, she has given women the confidence to display their new status, allowing them to move on with their lives, whilst also remembering their marriage in a different way. Divorce may be a part of their past, but once upon a time the marriage was cherished and just like a wedding ring, a woman’s divorce ring symbolises a new beginning.


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Gisele’s knuckleduster from her divorce collection

Euphorbia [eu.phor.bi.a]


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Funeral Flowers

A Victorian Memorial

Images courtesy of flickr

We automatically associate flowers with funerals, but where did the tradition of mourning flowers come from and how do they comfort the bereaved? Like a lightbulb, a flower can instantly illuminate a room, creating an aura of happiness and energy that these unassuming blooms possess. They may not last long, but the transient nature of the flowers allows you to cherish the short time that they’re in bloom for. Flowers have always been there. From the beginning of one’s life, flowers have marked every major occasion and milestone. Scattered around the hospital room at your birth, celebrating birthdays, graduation, weddings, the new job, the birth of your own children and unfortunately, your funeral. Flowers are like our family; with us as we grow up, celebrating our achievements and comforting us when we’re down. But perhaps the most poignant and important time when flowers are there for us is our death. It’s one of the first things people think to bring or send to a funeral; an automatic response to a devastating loss. But why? Where has the tradition of mourning flowers come from and what is is about the blooms that comforts the bereaved? Sending flowers to the mourning or remembering the dead at their funeral is a fundamental part of death. The deceased may be gone from this Earth, but each flowers’

“But perhaps the most poignant and important time when flowers are there for us is our death”

symbolism provides a living tribute to the dead. Flowers have been associated with death and funerals as far back as Biblical times. According to many legends, pink carnations first appeared on Earth as Jesus carried the cross. As the crying Virgin Mary’s tears of sorrow fell, carnations were said to have sprang up in their place. Another story that is believed is that when the Virgin Mary was fleeing from Herrod’s soldiers, she hung her cloak on a rosemary bush and when she returned the next morning, the flowers had transformed from white to a shade of blue. The rosemary bush takes its name from the Virgin Mary, ‘Rose of Mary’, and is now associated with remembrance of the dead. In Victorian times, flowers at funerals were used for a more practical reason. Embalming of bodies wasn’t discovered at this time, so flowers were used to disguise the pungent smell of the decomposing body. Just like a wake in a modern Roman Catholic funeral, in Victorian times the body was laid out at home for many days, so flowers were heaped upon the body to mask the odor. One of the most famous funerals where flowers were used as a disguise was the 1874 service for the


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Victorian floral tributes


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A victorian wake

American President, Andrew Johnson. His unembalmed body was in such a foul condition that the undertaker Lazarus C. Shepard shut the casket and loaded the top and surrounding areas of the coffin with fragrant flowers, hiding the smell long enough for the funeral to take place. The importance of flowers at a funeral was best exemplified with the appointment of flower ladies in funerals throughout Western America. Similar to the role of a pall bearer, the flower lady was given the responsibility to carry the flowers from the church to the hearse and then to set them up at the cemetery. The chosen women were usually close friends or relatives of the family and the position was a highly-respected and cherished choice. As time went by and people’s lives became too busy, the role of the flower ladies soon diminished. Although the traditions that were established during Victorian times still exist today, the world is now such a diverse and cultured place, that funeral practices have changed to respect different faiths and cultures. Not every religion cherishes the gift of flowers during their time of mourning. The Orthodox Jewish faith bans floral tributes, as well as the planting of flowers on graves,

as they don’t believe in cutting down a living thing to honor the dead. Along with Judaism, flowers at Sikh and Islamic funerals are not welcomed. In Hindu funerals, women lay flowers at the feet of the body and in China, the white chrysanthemum is a symbol of lamentation. People give flowers to the bereaved as a symbol of sentiment. It’s common for the mourning to find it difficult to put their feelings into words, so sending flowers to the family is their way of expressing their sorrow and sympathy. Flowers are a visual expression of love and respect, lending support and sharing the burden of grief. They provide a much needed aura of warmth and beauty to a service, which adds to the dignity and solace of the funeral. As well as the religious symbolism associated with certain flowers, they also have a spiritual purpose. The life of a flower is ephemeral. They represent the transience of life, but also the beauty and vibrancy that we are gifted with during out existence. They symbolise the natural cycle of death and renewal, but also offer an uplifting and lasting visual of a day of great heartache.


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Ori Gersht Images courtesy of Ori Gersht

Inspired by the Vanitas paintings, the Israeli artist captured flowers at the moment of explosion of a transitory fraction


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Images courtesy of Ori Gersht


Image courtesy of artnet.com


“I hate flowers - I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.” -Georgia o'keeffe


Image courtesy of Michael De Feo

85. Brooklyn


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Interview with Michael De Feo Aka "The Flower Guy" New York


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Legendary NYC street artist Michael de Feo, aka The Flower Guy, has been brightening up the streets of cities around the world with his flower paste-ups since 1993. We talk to him about what inspires his work, how it feels to see his art get covered up and his double life as a high school teacher.

Have you always wanted to be an artist? Yeah, ever since I was a young boy I knew that art would be a part of my adult life. What was it that made you decide to take to the streets and showcase your work there? When I was in New York in the early 1990’s, I quickly realized the difficulties in being a student and getting my work shown at galleries. I began to glue my work on city walls as a way to sidestep the gallery system. The more I did this the more I began to understand how limited a gallery audience was and I was much more interested in sharing with all. By using the streets I was able to share with absolutely everyone – all ages, economic brackets, nationality, etc. Where did your signature flower design come from? What is it about flowers that you love? I was already using the city’s walls to hang my work for a while when I came up with the flower image. I wasn’t looking for anything, I was just sketching different things out in paint and the flower happened to be part of that. It really stood out to me from everything I painted. I made a silkscreen of it and soon had hundreds of them in different colors. The next logical thing was to glue them around town just like I was already doing with my paintings. The flower project is really the only time I repeat imagery. Everything else I do is one of a kind work. What I love about the project is that it’s

still teaching and informing me. I’m still learning and growing from it. It’s a simple, non-text image that everyone can understand all over the world. I’ve been at it for about twenty years now and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Your work can be found in so many cities, where is your favourite place to work? There are so many places it’s kind of unfair to single any one out… I do like working in Hong Kong a great deal. I’ve been twice and can’t wait to get back. What is your main inspiration? Aside from my eight-year-old daughter, Marianna, I’d have to say that travel and meeting new people and places is a great inspiration. How does it feel to have a piece painted over after you’ve spent so much time and effort on it? Having work decay away slowly is one of my favorite aspects of working in the streets. The works’ ephemeral nature is a large driving force for me… the giving away, the rebirth and renewal. If the works gets painted over it’s kind of a bummer but again, if I wanted to save or protect it, I wouldn’t put it outside.


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What has been the scariest moment in your career as a street artist? I’ve had numerous strange and scary encounters all over the world I’m not sure which one is the most memorable. I love adventure and it’s all part of the ride. You now teach art at a high school, how do your students react to your life as a street artist? It’s not something I broadcast around the building, however, some students do know what I’m up to in my after school hours. Things are different today than when I was in school, students Google their teachers. They respect what I do and have lots of questions. Street art is a great hook to get kids looking and learning about art. Why is street art important to you? Street art is a level playing field for its participants and it’s also a great way to reach a large number of people with whatever I feel like sharing. Most importantly, it keeps me feeling like a kid.

Hong Kong


Image courtesy of Michael De Feo

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Madrid


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Bethan Amy sands This talented graphic design student is the artist behind our beautiful cover, contents page and these stunning designs. her intense collages are swiftly becoming her trademark and if this is what she’s producing whilst at university, we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this sheffield student.


Image courtesy of Bethan Amy Sands


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Images courtesy of itunube.com

Fresh Flowers

We all love a bunch of flowers. But they’re not the most long-lasting things in the world. Give them a few days and the once beautiful blooms will have faded and wilted, scattering shriveled petals across the table and emitting a powerful stench of decay. The water will have turned a murky shade of brown and the little glimmer of happiness that you got when you caught a glimpse of your once vibrant bouquet will have faded. But thanks to Sandra Bautista, the Spanish creator who runs the Design Studio, Itunube, we now have an ingenious way of having a constant arrangement of flowers around us. She created a

Gypsophila [gyp.soph.i.la]


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by sandra bautista

32 page newspaper called Fresh Flowers that has a different and unique flower printed on every page. Photographed specifically for the project, each flower was chosen for its vivid colours and stunning appearance. Depending on your mood, all that needs to be done is to place your chosen flower as the cover, roll it up with all the other pages intact and place it in a vase. This simple but special design is the perfect way to always have flowers around your home, providing it with the positive energy and vibrancy that fresh flowers give during their short life-span.

Acacia [a.ca.cia]


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Genesis 3:18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field.


They twisted together a on his head. They put a Then they bowed down in him, saying, “Hey! King Matthew 27:29

crown of thorns and put it stick in his right hand. front of him and mocked of the Jews!�


But despicable people are like thorns, all of them good for nothing, because they can’t be carried by hand. Samuel 23:6

Photography by : Kerrie donnelly Model: Jacqueline Melissourgou Crown of Thorns by : Kerrie Donnelly


Image courtesy of thinkingwithshakespear.org

Image courtesy of artnet.com


Heartbroken by her father’s death, Ophelia’s loss of sanity soon proved fatal. delivering flowers to others that were symbolic to her, including the highly poisonous rue flower representing regret,she decideded to climb a willow tree only to fall and drown. “... there’s rue for you, and here’s some for me; we may call it herb of grace o’Sundays; O, you must wear your rue with a difference”


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LEE HALE thorn lamp £360 leehale.com


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Thorn Accessories DL & CO. silver thorn apple candle £189 dlcompany.com

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SHAUN LEAN thorn hoop earrings £433 shaunleane.com

MELINDA MARIA thorn pendant £88 melindamaria.com

CHRISHABANA thorn in my side cuff £120 chrishabana.com

EGAN DAY thorn object £1,599 eganday.com

CAT BIRD rose and thorn studs £55 catbirdnyc.com


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Image courtesy of Lonely Planet

Ritual Flowers

an insight into different culture’s relationships with flowers in their celebrated rituals and worships

For generations, flowers have been used for thousands of different purposes, whether it’s cooking, fragrances, cosmetics or purely for their aesthetics. But for many cultures across the globe, flowers are engrained in their history as tools for their numerous rituals, worships and ceremonies. Stemming from the Victorian language of flowers called Floriography, each colour and variety represents a different energy and belief, signifying certain purposes. In Malaysia, the Mandi Bunga is still a common practice. This ancient ritual of bathing in flowers is practiced today by the Malays, Chinese and Indians of the region. Believed to attract good fortune and to dispel bad vibes, it is an important part of their culture. Not only is it used to better ones prospects but it’s also undertaken by women to help snare a desirable husband. When used in this instance, the woman gathers seven types of fragrant flowers. Along with the blooms, she adds kaffir lime, root of the sintok tree, betel leaves and nuts, chalk and a powder made from rice grains called bedak sejuk. Having sought out the services of a Bomah; a medicine man to conduct the ritual, she is accompanied by relatives and close friends to guide her through the ceremony. After the Bomoh weaves four strands of coconut leaves into a shape, he then melts some wax using the leaves as a wick. He then prepares the aromatic elements for the

Laurel [lau.rel]

bath, moulding them together rhythmically which in turn, produces an eruption of beautiful fragrances. Once he’s content with the mixture, he places the ingredients into a vessel, whilst at the same time reciting an enchantment. Sprinkling grains of the rice around the woman, he proceeds to bathe the girl in the mystical water, aiding her in her quest to find a husband. In situations when the Mandi Bunga is required to dispel any bad omens and to bring good fortune, the process mainly revolves around kaffir lime and pomelo leaves. Kaffir lime is believed to eliminate evil, while the pomelo leaves which are part of a Chinese grapefruit, are thought to get rid of bad luck. These two ingredients combined with either three, five or seven different types of flowers were used for this form of ritual bathing. The colours of the flowers were chosen in correspondence with the colours of the rainbow, as each shade emits a different energy and vibration used in the healing process. Although it’s still questioned by the Western world as to whether or not it’s a proven form of healing, it has been determined to ease the symptoms of the common flu, cold and other minor ailments. Another form of floral baths can be found deep in the Peruvian rainforest. The Hummingbird Retreat Centre near Iquitos in the South American country, practice herbal and floral cleansing as part


108. MANDI BUNGA INGREDIENTS BEING PREPARED

of their many treatments. Popular for their healing processes involving the magical rainforest remedy, Ayahuasca, which is made from ayahuasca vines and the leaves of the chacruna plant, the retreat works with the medicine in providing traditional healing and spiritual purification. For their form of floral baths, special plants and blooms are added to cooling water straight from the centre’s lagoon and the concoction is poured over the body to restore balance and harmony to the soul. By invigorating the person, it is believed to prepare them for a deeper restoration when they used the mind-altering Ayahuasca. Reasons for rituals may vary, but the use of flowers in the ceremonies is a common observation. The River Ganges that flows through India and Bangladesh is known for its deeply spiritual connections and importance in Hinduism. Worshiped by millions of Hindus throughout the countries, the river’s significance is said to have stemmed from the Goddess Ganga. The river plays an integral role in the lives of Hindus and is worshiped with such high esteem, that many people wish to die either in the river, alongside the banks or have their ashes scattered in the waterway. They believe that in doing so, they will reach the heavenly abode and be dispelled of any sins. When depicted in art works, Ganga is portrayed as a fair-skinned maiden perched on top of a crocodile, with a water lily in one hand and

a lute in the other. Thus, the water lily is known as Ganga’s flower and is often found floating down the river as an offering. Flowers are used extensively in the worship of the river, with different colours and species being used. Their use of blooms, candles and sandalwood as gifts to Ganga, all signify giving back to the Goddess. Typically flowers of orange and yellow colour are donated, but it is mainly because of their fragrances that they are chosen and due to the association of a particular flower with a certain deity. Also, the flowers are picked with five fingers and offered with all five fingers, each representing the five senses and therefore, relinquishing one selves before the God. Spiritual practices involving flowers are not only common in the Eastern regions. Mexico’s Day of The Dead festival is one of the most visually stunning ceremonies involving plants around the world. Celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November every year, Día de los Muertos, focuses on the gathering of families and friends to pray for and those who have passed away. Locals build private altars in their homes and visit gravesides, armed with gifts and offerings for the deceased. Their visits to graves are believed to encourage spirits to drop by so that they can hear the prayers being said about them. Common presents to bring to the cemetery are food, toys for children and blankets and pillows so that the

Speedwell [speed.well]


A boat decorated with marigolds on the River Ganges


Flower Garland

A flower offering called “Diya”


Image courtesy of hypebeast.com

dead can rest after their journey to their gravesides. The main offering to the dead during the holiday is marigold flowers, but another popular choice of gift is the sugar skull. These colourful icons are used to represent a departed soul and have the name of the person written on the forehead. But amongst all the toys, bottles of tequila and candy that are offered, marigolds remain the most common gift for the dead. The reason behind their use is mainly due to it being a native plant of Mexico and it’s in season during the Summer month and right into Autumn, providing an abundance of the flower. Used to decorate altars and graves, the colour and smell of the flowers ornate and aromatize the place, helping the souls feel good and return to their world happy and refreshed. The petals are used to form a path from the altar to the door of the house, so that the bright shades and pungent smell guide the souls to the offerings. In remote and less developed towns of Mexico, a wild version of the marigold is used, whilst in the more prosperous cities and villages, a domestic variety of the marigold replaces the wild version. The celebrations of November 1st are to remember the lives of deceased children and infants, so more delicate flowers like

Trachelium [trach.el.i.um]

Sugar Skulls by Catherine Martin

the alhelo and nube were chosen to represent the purity and innocence of the young souls. A ritual celebration that is more close to home is Beltane, a Celtic gathering that takes place on the first day of May. Originally, it was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man in Medieval times, but it has since been revived and is once again celebrated every year in Edinburgh. Heralding the arrival of Summer, it’s a time when nature blossoms and fertility returns to the land. Lighting fires is customary and they’re usually compiled using sacred woods of the Celts. Brave people leap through the smoke and flames and cattle are herded through them for purification, fertility, protection and prosperity. Participants dance around the May Pole, and many Pagans choose to decorate their ritual area with Springtime flowers such as bluebells, daisies, violets, lilac and of course, the treasured marigolds. Another common sight during the festivities is the hanging of May-boughs over door frames. Mayboughs consist of hawthorne, furze and mountain ash that have been intertwined together; which forms a beautiful garland of Summer blooms.


Flower offerings and altar in Mexico


Beltane fire celebrations

Although numerous flowers are used in the different rituals and celebrations, nearly all of them incorporate the marigold. But what is it about this vibrant orange plant that means so much to people? Symbolic of passion and creativity, the marigold was seen as ‘The Herb of The Sun’, and if it wasn’t open in the morning, a storm was en route. Used in wedding garlands, it was also stuffed inside pillows to aid psychic dreams. But it’s not only useful in the spiritual world, it has practical purposes too. In Mexico, marigolds are added to chicken feed to give their eggs a vibrant yellow colour, as well as providing the flesh with a more appealing hue for consumers. Flowers are short-lived. Their transient nature is something that deters some people, who shun the blooms in favour of more long-lasting things. But for the masses who celebrate these ceremonies and rituals, the flower is central to their beliefs. Whether it’s for religious, spiritual or even aesthetic purposes, flowers will forever remain the most treasured, precious and sacred details of these celebrations.

Beltane fire celebrations

Pansy [pan.sy]


Fire Dancing at Belatne


Image courtesy of thegloss.com


"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.� - alexander lee mcqueen


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The Silene Stenophylla

Image courtesy of Daily Mail

Dinosaurs? Extinct. The Dodo? Extinct. The Silene Stenophylla? Extinct... Until Russian scientists resureccted it from the siberian permafrost earlier this year.

A pioneering discovery was unearthed this year, when Russian scientists resurrected a 30,000 year old flower and brought it back to life after it was preserved in Siberian permafrost for millenniums. Extracted from a squirrels’ pantry, the seeds of the Silene Stenophylla plant were held in suspended animation by the freezing temperatures, which has provided a ‘frozen gene pool’, according to scientists. Dating back to when humans cohabited the Earth with mammoths and Neanderthals, the discovery of the plant opens up doors in the studies of other early lifeforms which could still be held in frozen dimensions around the world, as well as on Mars and other icy planets. The plant is still in bloom today, but the only difference between the common flower and the newly revived seeds is the smaller size of the resuscitated version. The pretty white flowers of the herbaceous plant are the oldest vegetation to have been brought back to life, paving the way for more research into ancient biological materials and the quest to possibly revive other extinct species.

Orchid [or.ch.id]


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Dictionary of flowers Amaranth [am.a.ranth] : Immortality

Honeysuckle [hon.ey.suck.le] : Devotion

Celandine [cel.an.dine] : Joys to come

Jonquil [jon.quil] : Desire

Helenium [he.len.i.um] : Tears

Gladiolus [glad.i.o.lus] : Your pierce my heart

Narcissus [nar.cis.sus] : Self-love Oleander [o.le.an.der] : Beware Tuberose [tu.ber.ose] : Dangerous pleasures Hydrangea [hy.dran.gea] : Dispassion Hibiscus [hi.bis.cus] : Delicate beauty Trillium [tril.li.um] : Modest beauty

Eucalyptus [eu.ca.lyp.tus] : Protection Fern [fern] : Secrecy Euphorbia [eu.phor.bi.a] : Persistence Columbine [co.lumb.ine] : Desertion Broom [broom] : Humility

Verbena [ver.be.na] : Pray for me

Gypsophila [gyp.soph.i.la] : Everlasting love

Yarrow [yar.row] : Cure for a broken heart

Acacia [a.ca.cia] : Secret love

Stephanotis [steph.an.o.tis] : Happiness in marriage

Laurel [lau.rel] : Glory and success

Alstroemeria [al.stroe.me.ri.a] : Devotion

Angelica [an.gel.i.ca] : Inspiration

Begonia [be.go.nia] : Caution

Fennel [fen.nel] : Strength

Ranunculus [ran.nun.cu.lus] : You are radiant with charms

Mignonette [mig.non.ette] : Your qualities surpass your charms

Zinnia [zin.ni.a] : I mourn your absence Wisteria [wis.te.ri.a] : Welcome Vetch [vetch] : I cling to thee

Lotus [lo.tus] : Purity Speedwell [speed.well] : Fidelity

Spirea [sp.ir.ea] : Victory

Trachelium [trach.el.i.um] : Neglected beauty

Scabiosa [sc.ab.io.sa] : Unfortunate love

Pansy [pan.sy] : Think of me

Rhubarb [rhu.barb] : Advice

Orchid [or.ch.id] : Refined beauty

Phlox [phlox] : Our souls are united

Lily [li.ly] : Majesty

Quince [quince] : Temptation

Iris [i.ris] : Message

Marigold [mari.gold] : Grief

Cypress [cy.press] : Mourning

Nettle [net.tle] : Cruelty

Basil [ba.sil] : Hate

Lungwort [lung.wort] : You are my life

Lichen [li.ch.en] : Dejection

Mullein [mul.lein] : Take courage

Wallflower [wall.flower] : Fidelity in adversity


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Image courtesy of toutceciestmagnifique.com

Vanitas Still Life by Herman Henstenburgh


"He who wants a rose must respect the thorn� - Persian Proverb

Thorn Magazine  

A magazine that explores the transience and symbolism of flowers in art, fashion and culture

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