Today, according to my calculations, is the one year anniversary of the day I embarked on this mad project. The gremlins in the head did win enough battles, so that my current rate is a little less than a flower a day, but I hope to rectify that soon.
It was easy enough to keep track of things when I was mailing them out in the order I received requests, but when I starting going out into the world and handing them out personally it became a little harder to calculate what I’d given away and what I still had to give. Fortunately, I number and date each flower as I draw it, so it’s not impossible, it just takes a little more work.
I don’t keep track of what happens to each flower by number, other than this one particular exception, because Flower #71 has a different story than any other flower I’ve drawn so far.
When I heard about Free Art Friday in Atlanta, my first thought was “That sounds like fun! I want to play, too!” The only problem was, markers and index cards aren’t exactly the most weatherproof of mediums. My attempted solution was to paint up an empty Coke bottle, place the flower inside, cork it and wrap the cork in foil in the hopes of protecting the delicate medium from the elements.
There turned out to be two fundamental problems with this bit of presumed cleverness. One was that it didn’t work. The other was that it didn’t work.
It didn’t work because I placed it somewhere where nobody was really looking. And it didn’t work because despite my best efforts to clean out the bottle and seal it properly, a bit of lingering moisture got in and when I finally extracted the flower from the bottle the results were not pretty.
I held on to it for a few months, trying to figure out what to do with it. I felt awful about the idea of giving it to someone in the state it was in and even withdrew it from circulation until I came to a decision.
This was my solution:
I shot video for as long as I could manage before I needed two hands to light another match. By the end of it, I was reduced to spiking it on a hatpin gripped with pliers and holding it over a candle like a toasted marshmallow.
It felt surprisingly liberating. Now I can let my flowers go and know that whatever happens to them, it can’t be any worse than what I’ve already done to Flower #71.
Click the magic link to learn more about the Ten Thousand Flowers Project.