Flower Power


In conjunction with my exhibit at the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center, I was asked to spend a morning as artist-in-residence. Sitting at a table in the bright atrium, I got to meet volunteers, nurses, and staff, as well as some of the patients who were waiting for appointments. Since I couldn't actually demonstrate my art form (my process is definitely not portable), I decided to make spontaneous books with the curious and courageous who stopped at the table. Using a versatile, folded book structure in which I could tape my "pages," I cut proof strips left over from the printing process into cards. Many of the cards had flower petals and parts showing, but reducing them to this size gave them an abstract quality that conveyed the intensity of the colors. I called the project, "Flower Power," which did elicit jokes about bell bottoms, but that was part of the fun. In a process reminiscent of a game, each person picked three cards from the pile, and I attached them to the book. Then they responded to their choices by writing words in the blank spaces created by the structure. "Wide awake," "reaching," "still," "solitude," "velvet," "folding," "joy," "dance," "light," and "hope" were among the words that appeared, and as each page was added, the book began to morph into a synergistic poem. The real magic of the form came at the completion of each book, because by standing it up and stretching out the folds, the book changed into a delightful mosaic of colors, a cubist interpretation of the essence of flower energy. It was a powerful experience, and one I will relish for a long time.