“After the fire brigades rescued the London Natural History Museum from German incendiaries, Albizia silk-tree seeds bloomed on their herbarium sheets, liberated from two hundred years of dormancy by the precise combination of flame and water,” writes Daniel Mason in an essay about thriving urban flora. The post-Blitz surprise, which became a beacon of hope amid WWII’s destruction, confirmed that nature is fiercely resilient and loyal to starting anew.
This moment is also one artist Nataliya Vladychko returns to as she sculpts spindly specimens in glass, capturing both their delicacy and strength in a single form. Beginning with a drawing or watercolor rendering, Vladychko translates the early stages of common crops like mung beans and wheat into delicate sculptures. The initial sketch determines the artist’s twists and turns at the glass burner and allows her to “concentrate better on the movement, plasticity, and colour composition I find appropriate for a particular model,” she says. “For me, the little plants are independent individuals who gain their own identity during the making process.”
Displayed on sheets or nested inside egg-shaped porcelain forms, the tiny specimens sprout wriggling roots, leaves, and vivid buds colored with deep reds and purples. “My aim in making a germplasm is not to mimic nature but to interpret how I see and experience it,” she says. “Playfully balanced compositions of glass germs that occupy their own space emerge. Admiration of the beauty and strength of a plant sets my visual process to work!”
Explore an archive of Vladychko’s botanical drawings and sculptures on her site.
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