Whimsical Faces Spring From Foraged Nature

Chicago-based artist Vicki Rawlins constructs whimsical portraits of enigmatic women using flowers, greenery, sand and other organic objects. These unconventional works of art are captivating not only for their creativity but also for their ephemeral journey to creation and destruction.

Rawlins begins her process of making one of these special pieces by taking a walk and foraging for found materials along her way.

“A fallen leaf goes into the bag, later it may become an eyebrow or dog ear,” Rawlins explains. “I pick up thin twigs, hoping they’ll work as a cheekbone or chin. The possibilities seem endless!”


Once she’s collected all of the necessary materials, she returns to her studio to begin assembling the portrait.

First, she’ll put down twigs to form the face, then rose petals for lips and finally a colorful array of blooms and leaves to serve as the hair. All the while, she must be incredibly careful not to accidentally sneeze and disturb her work in progress.

When the portrait is finally complete, she snaps some photos to document her meticulous work.


Of course, the process doesn’t end there. The last step is to recycle all the organic material back into the Earth (or into a future art piece). It is, after all, ephemeral art, so half the beauty of the artwork is intertwined with its fleeting existence.

“The actual act of creating each piece, for me, is therapeutic, spending lots of time outside walking and foraging, truly in the moment, my eyes scanning every square inch of my surroundings,” Rawlins writes. “There’s a freedom in knowing everything I’m doing is temporary.”


While we’re showcasing only a small selection of Rawlins’ flowery portraits of women, she also uses the same technique to make organic mosaics depicting landscapes, objects and animals.

You can purchase photo prints of Rawlins’ art on the Sister Golden website, which she runs with her daughter Brooke.


Source: Mother Nature Network

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