Several of the lilies made for the Lilies For Oscar Wilde project are by artists and makers who are interested in recycled materials. Practical and mundane objects that have been transformed into objects of beauty. These 'used' materials, also often implicated in the destruction of our environment, that have been art-cycled, make for intriguing comparisons with traditional notions of materials and making. We often think that natural materials like wood, metal and stone are more appropriate for the making of beautiful things. But looking more closely at the recycled materials lilies you begin to get a feeling for a new aesthetic, another kind of opulence, ranges of textures and sensory delights that I think Wilde would have really appreciated. There is a paradox here, of course, in breathing new life into these often deadly materials.
Sally Castle's lily looks like glass, large, stunning, and translucent. It is made from two plastic bottles, straws, clear plastic tubing and a cocktail mixer stick. Sally remembered the thrill of seeing the cocktail mixer in the pub ! Just the thing. Sally's link to Oscar Wilde is a quote: "No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist." I imagine her in the pub staring at the cocktail mixer and seeing it instead as part of the anatomy of a lily.
Ornella Trevisan’s lily appeared suddenly like a dream on our screens. She simply said ‘I finished my lily yesterday and here it is, all waste and left over materials including sourcing from note books and wine bottles.’ Ornella has a background in science and is discovering that she loves to make art. Ornella says 'Diversity and integration are represented in my lily by each of the petals being woven differently (material as well as design) and together forming a flower in harmony. At least as wish or intention.' Ornella’s sensational transformative acts of making have made everyday materials transcend what we thought they could be.
Words: Salma Caller