With over 28,000 known species, the orchid is one of the largest flowering plant families on our planet. The elegant flower comes in various shapes, colors, and sizes, making them one of the most visually fascinating flowers in the world. With so much variety, it’s no surprise that their beauty has inspired the work of British artist Laura Hart. She’s crafted a collection of glowing orchid sculptures made from glass, titled Orchis Exotica.
Hart has explored many artistic avenues throughout her life, but she didn’t begin experimenting with glass until her fifties. She learned the basics through classes, but largely developed her own style through trial and error, working from her garage. “I’ve learned much, but I’m still a novice in the scheme of things and every day brings another delicious opportunity to experiment,” says Hart. “I enjoy dabbling with diversity and indulging a myriad of ideas and styles—fulfills the nomadic disposition—but most importantly, a half century on this planet has determined the focal point of my real passion; the artistic representation of some [of] the most fundamental, beautiful, and threatened organisms on Earth.”
Hart’s Orchis Exotica series captures the delicate form, bold hues, and pretty patterns of orchids, rendered in colorful glass. Each half-meter wide piece is crafted with a combination of 3D design software and traditional techniques. However, each glass flower really comes to life once illuminated with its bicoloured neon center. Hart decided to include these neon tubes to represent the flowers’ column—the fleshy part in the center of the orchid flower that holds the vital reproductive parts.
Dating as far back as 100 million years, fossil records show that orchids were the first flowering plants on earth. Hart’s series celebrates the orchids’ amazing ability to morph and evolve in order to survive. The artist says, “The astonishing mimicry orchids employ to attract specific pollinators provided essential evidence for Charles Darwin’s ‘adapt and survive’ theory of evolution.”
Scroll down to see Hart’s beautiful Orchis Exotica series and find more from her portfolio on her website.