I've been meaning to write a post about my obsession with hydrangeas for a while now but I've found a void in explanation until recently. You may be wondering what the big deal is with dried flowers and what they represent/why I use them in almost every photo these days............
The story starts when I was just a girl living on East Adams Street in Taylorville. I had a neighbor named Mildred and she was probably about 80 years old or more. We would visit and drink tea together for hours and never run out of things to talk about. I suppose this, then, was my first infatuation with an older person of any sort. She had such a story and a history behind her life and I was so interested to get to know more about her. She would keep my dolls to babysit while I was "away" and also she'd bring out milk for my cat when she'd climb up in Mildred's tree. We'd sit on her front porch and wait for my cat, Kelsey, to finally climb down. To get to the point: Mildred had what I used to call a "snowball" bush in her backyard that fascinated me even when I was little. I used to make potpourri in jars with the small, beautiful flowers that'd fall off the tree and decorate my room with them. I truthfully forgot about how much I loved hydrangeas until I was cleaning trash out of my front yard about three years ago with my friends Shelby and Rita. We stumbled upon three or four clusters of dried flowers by our white picket fence and thought they were so beautiful. I immediately became interested in them but didn't quite know what that meant or where it would take me.
Fast forward a bit: I transferred colleges and moved to Champaign-Urbana two years ago and discovered the abundance of hydrangeas in this town. I became obsessed with the natural color of the dried hydrangeas and how a dead flower can be so impossibly beautiful. I had never been so obsessed with a flower before in my entire life. The beauty in death really opened my eyes to another spectrum of self expression I'd never thought about before. After this realization, I started to develop major plans involving them with an art show last year. The art show is still currently in the planning process, but I did start spray painting them when I was appointed VP of design and decoration for College Fashion Week. My idea was to spray paint the hydrangeas and decorate the main runway event with them in spring colors. From here on out I just enjoyed using them as props for photos because they are just so beautiful and unique.
Then I became obsessed with placing them in hair. Here's a photo from a photoshoot I styled called Dried Nature this past winter. I loved the look of the dried grass and the dried flower petals resting in their hair. This was also used as a theme in my Paulie Antiques runway show last Saturday.
Back to Mildred: She passed away one day and I felt so sad and lonely. The feeling was so lost and hopeless... I had lost a great friend who knew so much more about the world than I ever thought I would know... but I still had her hydrangea bush in her backyard to remember her by. Even when the flowers dry up and die for the winter they are beautiful. This, truly, was the beauty that I saw in death at a young age. Every time I look at a hydrangea I think of the beautiful, huge hydrangea bush in Mildred's yard and how she taught me so much about being a person. I will never forget her.
It's a continuing obsession that don't seem to be ceasing in interest to me any time soon. Do you have an obsession with a flower or a place? A smell? A color? I'm interested. I get really carried away with my obsessions! I want to hear about yours! XOXO