Fake and Fabulous? The use and abuse of artificial flowers  

Dr. Kirsten Hardie’s presentation explored on-going research that focuses upon the phenomenon of artificial flowers: an area of design that appears to have attracted scant academic research attention to date, yet one that deserves greater scrutiny and appreciation it is felt.

Building upon research into plastic flowers that was presented at the ‘Provocative Plastics’ conference, Arts University Bournemouth (2015), this presentation shared recent and original research regarding the wider phenomenon of fake flowers and what appears to be their distinct fashionable status today.

It aimed to disseminate research that provides fresh perspective and makes new contribution to established bodies of knowledge.

The project looked to encourage delegates to discuss their experiences and perceptions of artificial flowers; to develop a consideration of the position of the fake/faux flower today.

The presentation explored the evolution of artificial flowers – why and how they were made, their design and their creators.

It considered how historically faux flowers were fashioned to mimic real flowers, skillfully crafted by outworkers – and how this tradition continues today.

The discussion considered key designs and the international manufacturers that have produced a myriad of artificial flower-types over the years to satisfy the demands of wide and diverse consumer markets.

The examination of contemporary artificial flowers, fabulous blooms created by key designers, considered how artificial flowers appear to stand proud in many domestic and public spaces.

The presentation questioned if fake flowers have achieved a new status and if they have finally shed their kitsch reputation.

The new materials and manufacturing processes that now create more robust, long-lasting – perhaps everlasting – beautiful but fake bouquets were explored.

The presentation was informed by the author’s empirical research and her extensive plastic flowers collection. The presentation was lavishly illustrated with fabulous fake flower examples – to encourage a reappraisal of faux flowers’ worth – a celebration of the fake.

You can read more about Kirsten’s work here.