Mark Langley "...Only in mirrors should one look, for mirrors do but show us masks. "


"...Only in mirrors should one look, for mirrors do but show us masks. "

To pick a flower - a lily. This one, simply plucked out and appropriated from an Aubrey Beardsley print ( The Climax) from the Oscar Wilde play Salome.

Experiments with black and white, positive, negative, mirror, acrylic, cutting, engraving. A simple cutout from the page of a book. An object that reflects today, while still echoing the history and the period shared by Wilde and by Beardsley. (As we know, they both died prematurely, in fact within a couple of years of each other).

Cath Baldwin - giving words new meaning






I was first introduced to the writings of Oscar Wilde in my teens by an English teacher at my secondary school who, cleverly, told me that the singer of the band I was currently obsessing over was heavily influenced by Wilde's writings. He then lent me various plays, which I read discovering for myself the delightful wit and humour contained within. A love of Wilde has stayed with me and obviously the sad link to my hometown of Reading has underpinned this. The opportunity to create a lily to pay homage to Wilde was enormously appealing and I have endeavoured to make something not only beautiful but that also has a slightly wicked and entertaining side. I have worked with recycled materials and in particular pages from an old book of children's verse, the idea of working new meaning into old appealed, much like giving words new meaning by altering the order in which they are read.

Val Thorne - through our experience




We filter things through our experience. When I think of Oscar Wilde I remember an eccentric student I knew at university who would wander the quad of 60's concrete dressed in full morning suit, spats, and a cane. Few people tried to get to know him, most ridiculed him. He was later murdered for being gay.

Oscar Wilde was flamboyant and eccentric. He was an easy target for gossip and the media. He was reputed to promenade holding a lily in his arms like a baby. It was symbolic of elevating beauty above utility.

Lilies feature in his work as symbols of pure beauty.

My lily features a stigma which is a wrapped male figure from which emerges a golden butterfly. The figure dives headfirst into the centre of the flower. The anthers crudely resemble male parts.

Linda Saul - Broken Rose






Broken Rose

The concept behind this lily is that the pointless locking away of a genius was a great loss to the world. The dark exterior of the lily is meant to suggest the oppression of Reading Gaol. Within the lily the gold pen and paper clips represent Oscar, and the interior of the petals his writing. I chose the story of the Nightingale and the Rose, which ends with the rose being run over by a cartwheel. I didn’t have a cart to hand so I substituted a Fiat 500 to find out what a run over rose would look like. Interestingly the rose ‘bled’, but remained surprisingly intact. I incorporated a photo of the rose into the image for this lily. The rose could also represent Oscar’s heart, he once wrote to his lover Bosie “my heart is a rose which your love has brought to bloom’.




C.3.3’s ballad

This lily is a response to The Ballad of Reading Gaol. C.3.3 is Oscar’s prison number, and the pseudonym he used when the ballad was first published. The dark rivulets are meant to be suggestive of the brutality and suffering of the prison regimen. CTW are the initials of Charles Thomas Wooldridge whose execution is narrated in the poem. The gold pen for the stigma represents Oscar and the stamen are prison bars.
 

Ahmad Alazami



Lily flower for Oscar wilde
Description: delicate lily made with a white steel wire integrated together with golden wires


Artist and designer Ahmad Alazami, Born and raised in Damascus, Syria. Now living in Reading.
Representing the feelings and situations of human beings living in a war-torn country.


And now delighted and honoured to be a part of this great artist meet up, and honouring a fine artist.

Jo Dennis - ‘yet each man kills the thing he loves’


The first two lilies are riffs on quotes from the Ballad of Reading Gaol.

One has dried lily petals encased in fine mesh of careful wires - ‘yet each man kills the thing he loves’. The dead petals are all that is left of the lily which had been carefully wrapped in a delicate cage when it was beautiful, full of life and perfume.

The other has drawn petals in different mediums and papers to suggest the prisoners’ attempts at remembering flowers or petals - the quote:
 ‘But neither milk-white rose nor red
May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
A common man's despair.’

The last one - some dangling dried petals with an envelope attached, inside a torn piece of paper with part of Wilde’s subtitle to his book The Critic as Artist - ‘Upon the importance of doing nothing’.

opening at Haslams last night


Opening night at Haslams last night and the first time all the artists' got to see their flowers brought together in the window display at Haslams on Friar. The installation was created by Marc from www.cherubsfloraldesign.com/
It was an  excellent evening with food supplied by Malmaison, a speach from Sarah Hacker and the chance for everyone to finally meet each other and look at the work.  Don Somner was there to photograph the evening and shared the two photos above.

lilies arrive in beautiful packages


A conversation in lilies

The Lilies for Oscar Wilde project is an art installation born out of a conversation between the artists and makers of Reading and Oscar Wilde. A conversation in lilies, one of Wilde’s favourite flowers. It is a conversation in aesthetic forms, and ideas. Each work is a search for deeper connections with Wilde’s plays, essays and with his experiences. This is the first time so many of the artists and makers living and working in Reading have all come together to make this collaborative work so it is very exciting and sets a precedent for future projects. Some are long-term residents of Reading, others born and bred here, and many have come here from around the globe to live and work here and make Reading their home. This is a truly multi-cultural and international town that is going places. There are over 80 flowers – a stunning tribute to Oscar. I think he would be moved and delighted. Visitors to the Lilies For Oscar Wilde installation this Autumn at Reading Museum will be intrigued and uplifted by the textures and complex layers of meanings behind each flower, and by how each artist and maker has engaged with Oscar Wilde, his life or his work. The personal stories and journeys of making behind each flower will be being revealed here on this blog and at LiliesForOscarWilde hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


introductory thoughts from Salma Caller

The Makers and Artists


Alazami Ahmad
Appleton Robyn
Baldwin Cath
Barbaresi Rachel
Beardmore Mike
Blake Elaine
Blake Georgia
Brockbank Sadie
Bunker Julie
Burns Charles
Caller Salma
Casey Hester
Castle Sally
Chong Kit Yan
Corder Kate
Davison Claire
Dennis Jo
Eley Sue
Fletcher Caroline
Gay Stephanie
Gillmor Emily
Greiner Jane
Griffin Lucy
Grimes Trish
Hemken Celia
Hildebrandt  Bernd
Hildebrandt Martina
Jacob Rosana
Jehan Huma
Jessop Lou
Jones Sue
Knight Sam
Langley Mark
Lunn Helen
McQuillan Joan
Mercier Chris
Montague Shelley
Moxom Laura de
Mundy, Sue
Nabarro Melanie
Newell Price Cathy
Parry Mary
Pembrooke Carole
Richardson Sally
Ryan Gwen
Saul Linda
Shave, Christine
Short Tony
Smalley, Roger
Stephens Carole
Thomas Jo
Thorn Ruth
Thorne Val
Whitfield Jenny
Wilson Tim
Zaheer Ayesha

Sally Castle - Recycled lily




Lily made from water bottles, drinking straw and a cocktail stirrer
Medium: Recycled plastic

Plastic bottles recycled as a lily? My rather tenuous link is an Oscar Wilde quote: "No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.”

Coincidentally, I have recently taken a few weeks break from lino cut printing and have been painting. I have been attracted to subjects involving the less obviously beautiful subject matter: discarded objects and mechanical structures seen in a natural environment. Making a recycled lily was a natural progression of
this vision.


Website: www.sallycastle.co.uk
Facebook: Sally Castle studio

Tony Short - Layer by layer a 3-D printed lily





Layer by Layer - A 3D printed lily. Modular for easy swapping of coloured elements.


Tony is an artist, typographer, designer, crafter and geek.

His artwork can be an eclectic fusion of mixed media paintings, digital art, 3D printing, traditional craft and multimedia technology.

With a keen interest in futurology Tony was always an early adopter of technology, computers and the Internet. In recent years this has impacted his work, opening his horizons and helping him explore innovative new ways to be creative. Tony enjoys investigating the way something works and how to reengineer it, combining the useful with something possibly beautiful. He is not only interested in the design perspective, but with one eye on the future, he is an active advocate of how technology changes cultures and creativity.

Instagram: tony_short
Twitter: tone001

Rosie Yacob - Decaying Lily & Scarlet Threads Of Life






Decaying Lily

I created a lily that interpreted the themes of decay from Oscar Wilde's ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray.’

“Decay fascinates me more,” Dorian says in the book. This was the quote that I chose as the inspiration to my lily. The lily a symbol of purity, it’s beauty decaying with the passing of time.

I created the lily petals out of polymer clay. I used foraged pieces for the stem. I settled on a moss covered branch that gave the feeling of decay juxtaposed with the smooth clay of the petal section of the lily.

To add to the sense of decay, and as a way to blend the branch and main flower head together I used delicate black pen lines, building up in intensity on some parts of the lily petals, to depict rot setting in and overtaking the lily much like the beauty of Dorian Gray in his portrait aging and overtaken by Dorian's transgressions.




Scarlet Threads Of Life

“He was trying to gather up the scarlet threads of life and to weave them into the pattern; to find his way through the sanguine labyrinth of passion through which he was wandering.”

This was the quote from ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray' that served as the basis for the concept of my second lily sculpture.

As someone who depends on regular blood transfusions, the words “scarlet threads of life" connected to me in a personal way. The importance of veins pumping blood throughout the body made possible and provided by blood through IV lines; supporting life. I interpreted this in my second lily by drawing red lines weaving into one another to cover the petals of the lily. Symbolising the veins and pumping life to the lily.