5 REFLECTIONS ON THE 'ORCHIDS, FLOWERS AND CRAFTS' EXHIBITION 'FERIA DE LAS FLORES' MEDELLÍN
From hats made of flowers to orchids planted in a baby's bath, suspended molas to pirate skeletons and reclaimed doors, these were the trends that stood out in 2018
1. All things millinery
The news is in and hats are back! I'm not sure if they ever really went away in Medellín, but almost everyone at the exhibition was wearing a hat. In fact, some of the plants were hats - and some of the hats were plants. Ikebana inspiration seemed to come from traditional Colombian hats such as the vueltiao (left), the way the palenqueras wear their wares in Cartegena (middle), and even the shape of antiquities from the Tairona culture (albeit alchemically transmuted and reborn as a glitter ball come handbag).
2. Reclamation is still in vogue when it comes to staging (just not housing...)
One of my favorite things about this exhibition each year is the way the designers use old Antioquian doors and window frames to suggest the culture behind the floral aesthetic. This year was no exception. Door frames were glossed in republican colors, fitting for this anniversary of Colombian victory in the Battle of Boyacá. These neon hues sat perfectly against the ruby, fuchsia, and magenta tones of the orchids bedding down around them. If only more Antioqueñians were reviving these old treasures as part of their homes and businesses!
3. Surreal wins the prize!
This year, things got André Breton-tastic. In the section of exhibition curated by community residents, there was an exquisite and dainty orchid in a baby's nursing bath. In the orchid court, there were flying hats which appeared to have no link whatsoever to the flowers tickling them below, and also a day of the dead pirate in Santa Elena full regalia. And in the ikebana zone, there was a flower oddly reclining in three intermittent vases, the stem perforated to reflect this. These were the spatial designs which caught the judges' attention.
4. Indigenous revival
I was particularly pleased to see the use of traditional artisan crafts being used in a novel way. Employed as colorful and enchanting chandeliers for the honeycomb ceiling of the botanical gardens, they took on new shapes and identities. The suspended Kuna community molas were my particular favorite, their visions swirling in the humidity created by the gardeners who attentively steamed the floor with hoses and care.
5. The Jardín Botanico is lovely at any time of the year
With every trip here, I am reminded of just how special these gardens are. Full of every shade of green and roots which don't want to let you leave, as you glance through the trees over the lake you can see up to the concrete jungle above her. There is an atmosphere in this paradise of tropical lushness which exudes utter peace - and we must continue to nurture it.
Oh! And one more thing...
...the silleteros and silleteras of Santa Elena haven't lost it! I was haunted by the simple beauty of this daisy head peaking through this silleta. What a lovely pillow it would have made.
♥ ORQUÍDEAS FLORES Y ARTESANÍAS is part of the EXPOSICIÓN FERIA DE LAS FLORES FERIA DE ARTESANÍAS at the JARDÍN BOTÁNICO DE MEDELLÍN. It runs from from the 7th to the 12th of August, 2018.
On Wednesday the 8th and Thursday the 9th of August in the Auditorium Salón Restrepo there will be a course in how to cultivate orchids. It runs at 10.00am and at 4.00pm.
How to get there: Metro station 'Universidad'.