Flowers Memory Language

Various Flowers Bag, 2022

Flowers exist in my memory as holders for aesthetic language and ideas. I will try to illustrate.

Here is a short list of items in my late paternal grandmother’s house adorned by flowers:

Apron Couch Carpet

Rug Table Cloth Paper Towels

Napkins Silverware Picture Frames

Bed Linens Napkins Collected China

Fancy China Regular Dishes Wallpaper

In the space of this home, flowers were bouncing around like laser beams inside a Yayoi Kusama mirrored cube. They were a mish mosh of differing details, color saturation and quality. Kitsch, as a form of aesthetic language, seems cheap at first.  But many a habitat and sensibility reflects that of my grandparents’ home of the 1970s and 80s.

As shorthand, a flower speaks to us and for us. Funerals, weddings, prom.  In fact, the language of flowers is called Floriography. A Victorian era notion, Floriographic meanings are assigned to various flowers and their colors and their bloom states.

The Rose, and its Floriographic meanings:

Dark red: Love, admiration. I love you and will love you forever. 

White: You are very beautiful. Secrecy and silence. Dignity and sincerity. 

Yellow: I am not thinking of love. Jealousy. 

Pink: I love you tenderly. 

Full bloom: Commitment. Rosebud: Shyness

And on and on.  What interests me is that other things don’t participate in memory and language quite so much.  Take hammers.  These are also quite easy to find in our society, as an object or image.  However, hammers are much more difficult to find adorning vases, dishware, pillowcases, paper towels, wallpaper, rugs, bed linens, eyeglasses, shoes, clothing etc.  We would not bring a hammer to a wedding, would we?

Flowers exist in my memory as holders for aesthetic language and ideas. Hammers, not so much.

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