Dr. Kirsten Hardie’s professional output

Fake and Fabulous? : the use and abuse of artificial flowers.

Conference – Published 14th Apr 17

Abstract

This presentation explores current and 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 understanding and appreciation it is felt.

This presentation shares recent, new and original research regarding  the wider phenomenon of fake flowers and what appears to be their distinct fashionable status today. The presentation aims to disseminate research  that provides fresh perspective and makes new contribution  to established bodies of knowledge. The session aims to engage delegates in discussion of their experiences and perceptions of artificial flowers; to encourage a consideration of how we may position the fake/faux flower today – examination  of where does the artificial flower live and what functions does it serve.

Initially, concisely, the presentation explores the evolution of artificial flowers – why and how they were made and their design shapes and creators. It considers how historically faux flowers were fashioned to mimic real flowers, skilfully crafted by outworkers – and how this tradition continues today. The presentation then discusses 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 presentation then examines examples of contemporary artificial flowers: the fabulous blooms created by key designers as artificial flowers appear to take proud place in many a home, hotel or shopping mall. The discussion questions if fake flowers have achieved a new status and finally shed their kitsch connotations. The presentation examines the new materials and manufacturing processes that now create more robust, long-lasting – perhaps everlasting – beautiful but fake bouquets.

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

Presented at Arts University Bournemouth Research Conference, April 2017.