Today I sculpted 20 ceramic orchid flowers. They take forever although I am getting quicker as I get more experience with the form. Thinking I will do one for each year of Ellis Rowans life. (1849-1922). So by my calculations that would 73 years plus 10 percent for the usual clay and firing wastage. At least 83 to be made.
So I only have 63 to go. Hmmmmm.
The orchids are to be attached to wire and hung from a scaffold type construction. The idea behind this piece is to signify the impact of construction as civilisation encroaches on the natural habitat of the orchid.
Northern Queensland is very much different today from when Ellis Rowan was fortunate enough to be able to journey and paint some of these most beautiful of flowers.
Some interesting information from the Orchids Society Council of Victoria Inc website –http://www.oscov.asn.au/articles3/austnat.htm “Australia is relatively rich in its native orchid population with over 750 different species. Two thirds of these grow in the ground – the terrestrials, and one third on trees or rocks – the epiphytes or lithophytes. The major populations occur along the eastern seaboard in New South Wales and Queensland, in Victoria and south-eastern South Australia and in the south-western corner of Western Australia. Some species extend across northern Australia and others to the west of the Great Dividing Range but few are found where the rainfall is below 400 mm per year.
A strong Asian and New Guinean influence is found in the orchids of northern Queensland. This decreases as we move south and is totally absent in southwest Western Australia. Between southeast Australia and Tasmania there is a similarity with species found in New Zealand. Many terrestrial species and in some cases whole genera are endemic to Australia. Many terrestrials grow with a specific fungus in a shared relationship. This is referred to as symbiosis. If that particular fungus is lost, the orchid dies, which explains why so many terrestrials are difficult or impossible to maintain in cultivation……
Some species are threatened with extinction due to man’s encroachment into their natural habitats. Hopefully, adequate nature reserves will be established for their preservation. Where appropriate, the collection and cultivation of some of these unique gems may be necessary if they are to survive and be enjoyed. Selected outcrossing of choice clones is also very appropriate and superior clones are resulting from this approach. Native orchids are part of our natural heritage and together with recent advances in hybridisation for colour, shape and multiple flowering time, combined with their delicate perfumes and massed flowering displays, they provide a most desirable addition to any collection. “