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French church flowers - dead, fake, real & plastic

I'm on a 2 week countdown to my exhibition at the Holburne Museum, Bath. The show is called 'Secret Society - a Ballroom Banquet' and is a much larger and more decadent version of my Secret Society Banquet at Pitzhanger Manor last year.

The show opens on 15th Feb and for visitor details click here:The Holburne Museum, Bath
It's an absolutely stunning Regency building and was originally 'party central' for Regency Bath, hosting gala banquets and balls, firework parties and 'public breakfasts'! Jane Austen's  house actually overlooked the garden!  Given the wild events that took place at what was then the 'Sydney Hotel' I decided to create an after-the party atmosphere for my plaster busts this time - so their magnificent banquet table will be at the centre of a scene of post-party devastation - kicked off shoes, broken masks, spent fireworks and tossed food-wrappers, cans and bottles. All of course coated in a layer of bright, white plaster!
 Watch this space for some shots of some peek preview installation shots of this cacophony of objects and characters in a couple of weeks time.

Meanwhile, to be going on with...........
I spent my usual New Year week in Normandy and this time I reckoned I'd be hard pressed to find something new to blog about following previous posts on manoirs and collapsing cottages - that was until we found this church open and some very crazy and haphazard displays of flowers - plastic, real, dead and alive - every which-way in fact and with some bizarre arrangements and receptacles. I really got into the weird melange and placements.

Jam jar on the altar - why not? Actually, jam jars as vases appeal to me a lot - I like low-key, functional things.

Dead! - but somehow in perfect keeping with the beautiful, old faded wall paintings behind.

Alive! I loved these - they looked like they'd been plucked from the hedgerow which can hardly have been the case in January. But much nicer than the huge ponderous bouquets of lilies and other formal flowers which church flower arrangers often go for. 

Plastic!  Weirdly placed on this old wooden chair in a corner behind the altar.

More plastic. I reckon these had been in the cupboard since the 60s, they had that kind of vibe. I love 60s-style roses, they always have half open buds like this.  Classic 70s cut glass - very de-rigeur nowadays though I don't think that was the plan in this instance.

Fake - but a bit more in the 'silk' flower vibe than the old-school plastic. Great colours against the rough wall and dark wood.

This was surely the strangest - fake again and somehow completely out of place on the altar.

Perky plastic and a rather 'triste' bowl of dying chrysanthemums - quite an unusual collaboration.

Plain glass globe-shaped vases always reflect and magnify water and light in a very alluring way I think and this s still beautiful despite the dying blooms. 

I really was fascinated by the strange melange and combination of the flower arrangements and did wonder about the thinking behind them.

I mean, it's not very glamorous is it?

The floor tiles are pretty gorgeous and I like the composition of red plastic, old wood and patterned tiles

This one really has pathos for some reason - the dead flowers and pollen coated linen altar cloth.

Dig that 'vawe' - struck me as not very church-like.

Woah - new colour scheme!  Where did that plastic blue. come from?

This is my favourite shot - I like the angles and different textures, colours and patterns. I did find it weird that these red plastic 'dahlias' had been stuck at ground level almost in a hidden corner.

I'm afraid one of my pet hates when it comes to fake flowers is when they stick the stems in plastic 'soil' in a pre-determined arrangement.  But this is still quite a fascinating arrangement in this particular context.

Back to the real carnations on the altar - I was fascinated that they hadn't tried to arrange them a bit better given they were given pride of place, but then that's part of their charm I suppose.

Oh those dying chrysanths!!  And such an elegant vase. 
Love the old pollen-covered wooden stool and faded wall.

Well there had to be lilies somewhere I suppose. This chirpy pink arrangement is 100% fake so no danger of them dropping petal and fading away.

They were rather strangely positioned though, under the altar.

The church itself was very plain so the flowers were a spirited attempt to add a bit of colour and glamour - but such a strange collection.
I'm definitely not knocking fake flowers though as I have acquired many myself to create my plaster bouquets. I think the transformation is quite transfixing! 

I've done other posts about flowers snapped in France - I'm always on the look out for the beautiful and the low key:

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos Kathy!! We are three months behind with reading your blog and catching up with news thanks for our adventures in Cyprus, saw some nutty Churches there too, ancient icons and candles cast in wax from childrens limbs??


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