ISSUE 14  |  Dutch Design

Anne Ten Donkelaar’s Flower Constructions

April 03, 2012 7:30 PM

BY Amara Holstein

The delicate pressed flower and paper creations of Dutch artist Anne ten Donkelaar function as three-dimensional gardens for the wall.

As a young girl, Donkelaar was obsessed wtih flowers: "I was fascinated by the many colors and forms they took, " she says. Now, she plucks and presses flowers in her home city of Amsterdam, then mixes the specimens with floral pictures she's cut out. She mounts the various components using thin pins of different heights, a technique that gives the resulting constructed collages dimension and depth. "The shapes of the plants themselves are the inspiration," she says. "That, and the fact that I'm always fascinated by fragile things." Indeed, in addition to her Flower Constructions, she has also created a series called Broken Butterflies in which she repairs, reimagines, and mounts deceased butterflies.

Above: The various flowers pinned behind glass evoke scientific collections of plant specimens, which is exactly what Donkelaar intended. "I wanted to create an imaginary herbarium of flowers," she says.

Above: "My favorite part of the artistic process is collecting the materials and creating the composition," Donkelaar says.

Above: Part of the beauty of these collages is that from a distance—and even up close—it's difficult to tell where the real flowers leave off and the paper portions begin.

Above: Rather than focusing just on the bloom, Donkelaar likes to replicate the whole flower. "If it doesn't have the roots, it isn't complete," she says. "It's like a person without a brain."

Above: Most of the works shown on Donkelaar's website have already been sold, but she is currently at work on a new set of pieces. Contact Donkelaar directly for more information and pricing.