Most people associate flowers with soft, feminine bouquets and sculptures with intricate stone carvings. However, South African artist Shannon Clegg is combining the two in her new series, “Bouquet.”
“Bouquet” features a collection of pieces made entirely from flowers and other plant materials. Clegg’s work is unique because she has molded the flowers into elegant vessels. The flowers don’t need a vase or any other container to distract from their beauty.
In an interview with Gardens Illustrated, Clegg explained that she wanted her pieces to look as though she’d pulled flowers directly from the ground.
Clegg also shared that her idea for this series stemmed from an interest in biophilic design. Biophilic design involves indirectly connecting people with nature to improve their well-being.
The designer-maker started working on Bouquet while pursuing an MA in product and furniture design from Kingston University London.
She came across an antique wooden tie press, which reminded her of pressed flowers. From here, she started to consider how she could use two-dimensional flower pressings to create three-dimensional art.
Clegg spent years perfecting her process and creating the pieces displayed in the Bouquet series. She explained that it was incredibly challenging, but she also enjoyed using her problem-solving skills and “working it out.”
Not only did Clegg have to find a way to create sculptures from pressed flowers, but she also had to figure out how to retain their color. The flowers in her pieces still fade over time, but they also last several years.
The durability of the sculptures is partly due to the hardy, fibrous flowers Clegg uses in her work.
She often chooses flowers from the statice family and fynbos flowers from South Africa. She’s also drawn to overlooked flowers and weeds and has plans to incorporate them (along with British wildflowers) into future projects.