Dahlia: Once a Fine Lady, Now Funky, 2022

tea towel from my great-great grandmother, papers, fabrics, ink, graphite, string, 19 x 17 inches.

In real life, this dahlia was a deep magenta, maroon, mauve, velvety, royal burst of life. She  (because to me, she is a “she”) turned heads as she stood straight and powerful, commanding her plant and her bed.   She struck awe in me.  I tried to capture her by drawing her with line. Her petals, springing from deep inside,  endlessly multiplying outwards, almost until her stalk begins to droop beneath the weight of her head.  But it is the colour that is so almighty.  Neither with ink, nor pencil could I replicate her grandeur.  I thought maybe papers and fabrics could bring her power to life. Sadly, this dahlia is almost comic.  But she is still beautiful in her own way. I have backed her with a tea towel that belonged to my great-great grandmother Elizabeth Gardener Amory.  I imagine  her as a grande dame, like the dahlia.  The tea towel is a bit stained and wrinkled. Women’s work is not glamourous.  In life, no matter how noble, everything loses its luster.   I have tried to preserve both the idea of Grandma Amory and the dahlia. Maybe it is not exactly as I would imagine them, but at least they seem happy together as something else. 

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