Draw it into being.


This is Iris Apfel. I drew Iris in my final Secret Message Society Zine, a project that I worked on faithfully for 69 months straight. In the final zine I wanted to pair women with flowers, playing off of the Emerson quote, "Earth laughs in flowers," and insinuating that there is great beauty and liberation in a woman that has learned to laugh. I do believe the purest laughter is earned. The imagery of flowers is how I chose to portray the laughter of women.

In starting this project I knew very little about flowers, so I got a few books from the library that had a variety of flowers and beautiful photographs. These were a great drawing resource.


Through the course of my research I landed on the Iris as my favorite flower. There is something about the petals that form in threes. There are generally three petals that fall down and splay outward and three that grow up. It is an intricate flower and billowy. I like the tall stalks and the delicate showy explosion of the bloom.


I didn't end up drawing an Iris flower in my zine, but I did draw Iris, and I like that little play on words.

Off and on I have thought about Irises during the Winter. I dreamed about planting my own come Spring, but knew I probably wouldn't actually be up to the task. Occasionally I had to look up the name again because I would forget what they were called. "Oh yes," I would remind myself, "an IRIS is my favorite flower." I finally was able to remember the name when I made the tie between the flower and the Greek Goddess Iris who is also known as the Rainbow Goddess. (As an artist, what better Goddess to associate with then the one who deals in colours?)


We have lived in our home for four years. Each Spring it seems like something different blooms here or there in the yard. There have always been these green stalk plants along the fence line in our front yard, and the first time I mow each Spring I see them and think, those sure look like something that would produce a flower, but they never do. I had decided there were ornamental greenery. Until this year, when I walked out my door to leave for school one morning and gasped because there were at least 5 tall purple buds, extending their chins up to the sky. Even then I wasn't sure what sort of flower they were, I was just so stunned that they finally made a flower!


When they opened completely I was blown away. My yard had decided to gift me my favorite flower. It as if I drew them into being.


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