Flowers from the Frontline
Flowers from the Frontline, Series 1-5, 2022 Phoebe Walsh. Recycled Sterling silver and resin, pressed flower pages. Wildflowers and botanicals collected by Olga Morozova.
The Ukrainian war flower series, Flowers from the Frontline, finds beauty and growth in a time of destruction.
Phoebe Walsh has created a series of 5 miniature pressed flower books in recycled sterling silver to record the story of one park, Popudrenko, in a time of war.
Two days after Russia declared war on Ukraine, Phoebe was inspired by the Garden Museum’s collection to create a series that worked with flowers picked from the new frontlines in Ukraine. She recalls feeling strongly about what was happening in Ukraine, ‘I wanted to create something to continue a conversation of the war unfolding, but with hope; a reminder that while life may be fragile, is it resilient.’ Wildflower pressings made by Jane Lindsay in 1956, from London’s WWII bomb sites, along with flowers picked from the Eastern Front on the battlefields by WWI soldier George Marr, resonated - both in the museum’s collection.
Over the course of eight months, Phoebe wrote to artists and gardeners in Ukraine via social media to share ideas of the project, and enlist those to help in the search for flowers; ‘I am looking for a Ukrainian Gardener or Artist who might be able to press a flower or botanical material, to send to the UK (now or at a later date.) I would use your flower, and eternalise it in a miniature pressed flower book, to record the atrocities of this time.’ In March, Kyivan artist Olga Morozova kindly responded and agreed to collaborate with this project, although the ground then was still frozen and flowers yet to arrive.
Olga hoped that by the time the wildflowers blossomed, peace would arrive. At first she found the task of hunting botanicals for the miniature books challenging, “it was a very interesting process for me to look for small flowers… I am a muralist by nature and usually see the whole without details.” Alongside the Herbarium, left, Flowers from Frontline Series I-V, Main cabinet, Olga’s painting studies of Popendrenko park, Stories of One Park, can be seen on the opposite wall.
After touring, the Flowers from the Frontline Series of miniature silver books will be individually auctioned to raise money for artists in Ukraine. Contact email@example.com to find out more.