“The nos­tal­gia and beauty is in­cred­i­ble— ev­ery time I look at them and see the hand -writ­ten dates, lo­ca­tion and species names, it takes me back in time to when they must have been hand col­lected”

Philippine Tatler Homes - - GOOD TASTE -

are a col­lec­tion of pre­served plant spec­i­mens; Dat­ing back to the Vic­to­rian era, herbar­i­ums are col­lec­tions of pre­served plant spec­i­mens; these can be whole plants or parts of plants. The prac­tice is es­sen­tial for the study of plant tax­on­omy. Dry­ing, press­ing and mount­ing the plants or flo­rals are key to cat­e­goris­ing and record­ing plant spec­i­mens as well as record­ing his­tor­i­cal data of spec­i­mens that may change over time. Blest prefers clean­ing and us­ing the whole plant or flower, keep­ing it all in­tact to­gether with the root sys­tem which is part of why she is fas­ci­nated with the full form. She then mounts the pieces on pa­per and frames them. More re­cently, she mounted her lat­est col­lec­tion on per­spex giv­ing the ef­fect of “be­ing sus­pended in air and in time”. These unique pieces of art for the home are en­tirely dis­tinc­tive from one another, em­body­ing life, his­tory, colour, place and time. “Press­ing flow­ers cap­tures them at the cusp of their de­cay. There’s a beauty in the preser­va­tion of that moment,” Blest says. Each piece is more than a dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ment; they ref­er­ence a day in his­tory and a spe­cific col­lec­tion point while be­ing in­stilled with the plant species’ unique­ness. A pressed plant or flower can be styled ef­fec­tively on its own – es­pe­cially the larger pieces – or to­gether as a se­ries of three or four. Lean­ing the per­spex frames against a slate grey wall or a plain-coloured back­drop works well with­out hav­ing to hang them. Con­sider group­ing them to­gether with a large house­plant to cre­ate a botan­i­cal cor­ner in your home, or plac­ing them on a shelf at eye level so guests can marvel at the in­tri­cate de­tails found in ev­ery piece. Styling them with a col­lec­tion of books or on a book­shelf is equally rec­om­mended. Blest has worked with many dif­fer­ent species. Of­ten the work can be te­dious, as dry­ing and avoid­ing mould or break­age is key to han­dling these del­i­cate crea­tures. The slip­per orchid is her favourite to work with. “I love the dis­tinct lonely sin­gle stem struc­ture,” she says. Blest be­gan press­ing plants and flo­rals as a way to record and cap­ture their beauty when pho­tog­ra­phy was not suf­fi­cient. But if the ques­tion of fleet­ing flo­rals and plants is still on your mind, just re­mem­ber these verses by Ar­gen­tinian poet An­to­nio Porchia in his book Vo­ces: “Flow­ers are with­out hope. Be­cause hope is to­mor­row and flow­ers have no to­mor­row.’’ Blest’s works brings new hope, show­ing that beau­ti­ful blooms can tran­scend time. Avail­able at hay­den­blest. com; select pieces also at Casa Capriz.

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