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Inside "Women Plant The Seeds"

A visit to a local antique gallery granted the inspiration I needed. Tall, long glass cases of tiny jewelry, boxes and figurines occupied the entrance of the store, and I stopped to take notice of the cameo brooches. As I looked through glass at women's beauty captured in the past, I wondered who those women were...what did these women mean to the artists carving stones to their likeness? How much they must have meant to the family members who would wear them proudly pinned on their clothing? I thought about the people who would pick one from the case, adorning themselves with a woman's face who they never knew in their lifetime. What did this face mean to them? Did she bear the resemblance of someone they cherished, or was she just so beautiful in her own right that she ought to be celebrated once again?

As I thought about who these women once were, I visualized the tiny seeds planted in their lifetime that would one day bloom again with another admirer. One who would give her likeness a new home, space to grow and be appreciated for her beauty until lying dormant again for some time. The handmade paper I chose to overlay on the figure is speckled with these tiny "seeds", it veils her features underneath, as if to say "you may not see it clearly, but I am still here".

I chose a poem out of my grandmother's book that echoed this sentiment, and encircled her with these words;

~original poem written by Rosemary Ix Morgan, 1998

As I continued to wander through the rooms full of relics, I was drawn to a display of old seed catalogues. I leafed through pages of intricate illustrations of cultivars you wouldn't see in today's supermarkets, flowers you'd be lucky to find in specialty shops. I chose to take an early 1920s seed catalogue for flowers and produce home with me. I mistook the lush, bushy asters illustrated on the cover for peonies at first, which is why I painted a few varieties of peony flowers on this piece! I also painted those peonies as an ode to a bush my aunt had given me this past spring, which has been passed down 3 generations now.

This piece is a collection of mixed media, reflections, and memories of my grandmother and family passed. I still feel the beauty of the women in my own life. I acknowledge the beauty of women I never knew each spring when their hidden bulbs peek out in scattered places around my yard. Even though they are no longer physically with us, these women have planted the seeds that make the flowers grow.

"Women Plant The Seeds" ~handmade paper, pen, acrylic ink, colored pencil, poetry~ started in August 2022, finished in February 2023

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