Art from Mother Nature
Costume Hazel [Photo/Courtesy of Vicki Rawlins, Sister Golden]
In today's art world, the use of materials is only limited by the imagination. Chicago-based artist Vicki Rawlins makes eye-catching artworks using items straight from Mother Nature and sells them on Sister Golden, an online boutique she runs with her daughter, Brooke.
"I had seen some foliage art on Instagram and thought it would be fun," explains Rawlins. "I have been an artist my whole life and portrait work has been a love of mine, so doingfoliage faces was what I wanted to try."
Rawlins worked on showcase homes and for commercial businesses for many years before getting back into her studio with paint and flowers. Her goal is to create artwork that is colourful and fresh, and will help define people's spaces.
To achieve this, Rawlins spends a lot of time foraging in her neighbourhood, collecting natural materials. Then she assembles portraits in her studio with what she finds outdoors, turning a fallen leaf into an eyebrow, rose petals into a perfect pair of lips and twigs into a face.
"I make up the women I'm doing out of my imagination," explains Rawlins. "I really try to create a feeling or story around each one. Most of the time, the flowers I have to work with will take me into a certain direction. Frida Kahlo is my muse – and a subject I just feel like I need to do."
Most strikingly, the materials are delicately balanced on each other – so she has to be extremely careful with the creation, as no glue, tape or other adhesives are used to stick the foliage to her work. The pieces take Rawlins anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days, and the final step is to document her art; the resulting prints are sold on Sister Golden.
"After I finish the piece, I document it with a photograph, being very careful not to bump the table and Mother Nature's house of cards," explains Rawlins, who professes the whole act is therapeutic. "When I'm finished with a piece, I gather up all the flowers and put them in my compost pile or send them off into the lake my studio is on."
For Rawlins, art is "creating something from your heart and soul and bringing it to life." Searching your surroundings for fallen bits or doing some weeding in the garden – perhaps it could lead you to create your own masterpiece.