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Alchemistress®

Flowerbody Piercings

Pierced flowers. Where in the world did that idea ever come from, you might venture to ask? If I can interest you, good folk, in spending a few moments of your time with me, I will gladly share with you a glimpse into the esoteric art of floral piercing.

Well, it was the summer of two thousand and seven. I had been pulling garden weeds when I noticed a splendid lily whose curving petals distinctly resembled the helix cartilage of a human ear. Being an absurdly eccentric artist and overly imaginative body piercer, I found myself picturing an industrial barbell placed neatly in that perfectly formed spot, and began devising a way to do the piercing. ( Yes, I do indeed have an x-rated version of that tale! ) When I make art, it is often with incongruous compositions, especially in my photography. Floral piercings seemed an ideal subject for me to explore and capture on camera. I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of contrasting elements ( hard metal rivaling soft blossoms as smooth petals are punctured sharply, while lush blooms are blighted and natural purity is adulterated ) which all blend to create a provocative expression of ephemeral, decadent beauty. And so, dear reader, I embarked upon a curious foray into the realm of fragile flowers and sharpened steel.

At first, I planned to use jewelry designed for particular body parts and pierce flowers with correspondingly similar physical attributes and qualities, but that soon became much too limiting so I enthusiastically broadened my parameters. I decided, from the start, to use only body jewelry and tools made specifically by and for the body piercing industry in my floral endeavors. And, being a piercer by trade, I had a wide assortment of jewelry and instruments at my disposal. Almost immediately, however, I encountered a significant problem. Piercing and placing the appropriate jewelry in a delicate blossom is far more difficult that performing the same procedure on human flesh! Even, given the fact that a flower does not flinch, complain or faint nor require strict hygienic practices, I did find that they wilt, bruise, bend, tear, dent, ooze, crust, break and probably also feel a certain degree of discomfort. Therefore, I proceeded with extreme care, great respect and an infinite amount of patience. I was, by this time, thoroughly obsessed.

It was summertime and sumptuous displays of flowers were everywhere. I had stopped frequenting greenhouses and was now hunting for gardens. I had my own flower beds but that was not enough, so I queried friends, acquaintances and various strangers about horticultural prospects. I began haunting local nurseries and farmers markets. I scoured public garden spots and scrutinized ornamental borders, foraging ever farther afield as I combed the countryside for potential specimens. You could find me, during this time, with a jackknife and flower "pick" in my pocket, sandwich bags in my purse and containers of water in my vehicle for collecting and spraying the floral treasures of my quest. Many of the flowers were usable, but some were too fragile, some too transient and some too mundane. All of these beautiful plants valiantly sacrificed their lives for my cause though and, for that, I am reverently grateful.

There was always a sense of urgency to my quest. I had a small window of opportunity for the task at hand. For, when I found that perfect flower, it had to be transported home safely and photographed quickly. I discovered the hard way that the luxuriant iris I brought home one day could very well be a drooping disaster by the next. Some flowers, like lilies, for example, were a joy to work with intricately fascinating yet strong and resilient. Others were a frustrating exercise in futility like the gorgeous yet frail gladiola, whose unsuccessful piercing never made it into the portfolio. There were flowers that needed to stay cool and dark, and some that wanted warm sunlight. There were some that needed constant spritzing, and others that were blotched and stained by it. The night bloomers would close under the photo lights, the rosebuds would open too soon and others would simply wilt from their heat. I learned to recognize and adapt to each flower's idiosyncrasies. Put more oil on the piercing needle for that one, use smaller jewelry for this one's petal, powder my fingers so as not to mar another one's blossom, keep bandaids on hand for those pesky roses, use only that kind of glue for a tiny tear and, most important, always remember to wear gloves when handling toxic plants yes, I learned that one the hard way too, by spending a couple of incapacitated hours in a mildly stupefied state! It was always a complicated, fascinating and often stressful learning experience, yet I persevered.

Autumn arrived to slow my momentum. Instead of taking more pictures, I began to edit and fine tune my portfolio, occasionally adding a certain type of piercing or floral color. I perused the internet, studied books on gardening and visited florist shops to special order particular flowers. I made long involved lists of ideas for next summer. When the opportunity for a show at Creative Spirit Gallery presented itself, I was thrilled! Instantly I became inundated with photo sizing, studio development, choices for matboard colors, frame styles and complex thematic strategies. Before things became any more hectic, I wanted to compose this account of my floral piercing insights and adventures for you, kind reader, and I do hope you have found it to be briefly entertaining.

So here I am. And, while I am here, I'd like thank my family and friends for their dubious yet unrelenting support for me during that memorable time when I was utterly absorbed with peculiar flower arrangements and shiny steel objects. I also want to thank the local florist shops for their ongoing patience and assistance. And to you, local gardeners, to anyone who may have noticed a flower's sudden disappearance, or, to those fine folks who may even now see a familiar blossom captured here, decorated in metal and jewels, please believe me when I say I am so very humbly appreciative. It was an honor to have known all these flowers.

Artfully Yours,