Monday, June 22, 2015

How to have sex with a flower: the art of hybridization

Nectarine Dusk by Beth Surdut
If you think this going to be about sex as you know it, you're going to be disappointed, although giving these luscious little hand painted hibiscus pieces might lead to a really good time.

 Hybridization is about sex of the floral kind. Beautiful colors, the right scent, some pollinator action, and the appropriate reproductive organs make flowers ripe for pro-creation. There's even a peduncle involved, which is the piece of the stem that's attached to the flower, not some totally creepy relative who should be locked up. And, as if life isn't already confusing, the stigma, florally speaking, is the receptor of the female flower's reproductive organ.
 Hybridizing is the act of "crossing" flowers to obtain a seed pod. This creates seeds that are completely unique, and, just like humans, the offspring can be even better looking than their parents... or just different. You get to be your own mad scientist with a cotton swab and sperm donor.
Peachy keen by Beth Surdut

Turns out that flower sex is best in the morning. Sperm dries up in the heat of the day and no amount of boom-boom pills is going to make that pollen functional.  Choose a good looking male (flower), pick up his/its pollen on the cotton swab--the more sperm, the better. Rub that sperm onto the female stigma (sooo much more fun than a stigmata). In dry climates, maybe a little shpritz from a mister--this is not a euphemism; I'm talking a bottle with water and a sprayer. 
The goal is to create new seeds and a plant with a resulting flower you can name after yourself or your pet or your kid, if you are so inclined.  There's even a special place for you, the floral yenta/Dr. Frankenstein, to record the parents. It's called a stud book. No, not making this up. 
Know that crosses do not always come to fruition. Just like humans, sometimes the seed capsules do not mature during the 60-90 days of waiting. Who knew flowers could be so sexy? But let's be clear, this  is all about  the seed that will become the plant that will produce the flower, maybe. 
Roxanne's red dress by Beth Surdut

I'm not that patient. Instead I painted my idea of hybrids on silk using fiber-reactive dyes and gold-flaked resist. The images are approximately 11 inches (not so square) and 15.5" square framed and glassed.
$175 includes domestic shipping per piece. If you purchase the gang of three, I'll give you a discount and no, you can not trade sex for art. 

Monsoon:Quench My Thirst,  43" x 32" $2100

1 comment:

Unknown said...

As always Beth, you find a way to make what could be a very pedestrian exercise into a charming, slightly racy, very entertaining read!