“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.”

Bhagavad-gita (9.26), Krishna

american-beauty The Shock and Beauty of Flowers begs the question: Which is the offering and Who is the recipient of Such A Moment of Adulation and Beauty?  I have never been able to separate myself from the imagery of flowers, it has permeated my way of seeing and working in the world from a young age. When I was 15, I followed the heady smell of insence on South Street in Philadelphia to an elaborate, be-decked archway of a bookstore called The Garland of Letters. Over the archway was the above quote from Krishna, which has become a mantra for me.

Inside this oasis in the city, the shop was filled with floor-to-ceiling esoteric books, crystals and ritual objects. I bought my first “Krishna Consciousness” magazine there, fascinated by the illustrations and cursive Sanskrit as much as I was inspired by the simplicity and wisdom of the quote over the door.  The idea of doorways and entrances that transport is another idea central to my creativity.


Who was this dancing Krishna God of Pleasure, with his naked girlfriend, flowers, gardens,music and dancing?  I wanted in. To be immersed, inspired and work with flowers, explore the intersection of humans and flowers. The Pleasure, Imperfection and Perfection of flowers has always been a force.  Just as a child will pick a small piece of grass or leaf and offer it to an adult with complete wonder and innocence…this is the fresh place of Adulation and Creativity that I love to create from.    the-young-daughter-of-the-picts1

Images of women covered in flowers run through history.  Here are two of my favorites.
This image of a woman Celtic warrior became the image of my company which styled events and individuals.  She is from the Pict tribe, where the women were tattoed all over their body and led the regiments of soldiers into battle.  This painting is by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgue, entitled “Young Daughter of the Picts” (1585) from the Paul Mellon collection.
talitha-gettyAmore recent example, about 200 plus years later, Talitha Getty lived a flowered and plush life, ending it all in the full flower of opiates.  Women, like flowers, can embody such warrior power or such seducing temporality.  Thus the fascination, right?

Another fascinating shop of curiosities that inspired me was on the banks of the Delaware River in the town of Lambertville, New Jersey. Called Passiflora, it was the labor of love of two painters from Baltimore, Bette Bains Saum and Ted Saum. Bet Saums is a colorful, gentle and super creative soul whose flowers are loved by everyone with an eye for the fantastic and transcendental in Princeton and the area. Ted filled the shop with antiques, curio and hot DJ mixes and music from all over the world.

Bette and I created flowers for the homes and celebrations of Princeton residents. We styled these advertising shots for Passiflora for ads and an advertising insert which ran in The New York Times.

vow-to-be-different ladder1 passiflora


Other potent influences for this flower obsession include Ernst Haekel, whose book, Artforms in Nature, is the result of his studies as a scientist and his discoveries of unknown and bizarre species. ernst_haeckel_and_von_miclucho-macl The images rival anything gorgeous from an acid trip. You can find Ernst Haekel downloads of imagery online. artforms-in-nature 425px-haeckel_orchidae1 MARY POPPINS
Women as seductive flowers and flowers becoming women is the stuff of fantasy. I always remember Nellie-Rubina Noah, The Eldest Daughter and wooden doll, illustration in my 1937 issue blue Mary Poppins book (it was actually my mom’s book). She, Uncle Dodger and Mary Poppins put Spring into the Cherry Tree Lane Park by climbing ladders and adding birds, flowers and butterflies. This illustration… nellie-rubina and the famous floral carpet-bagger “pop-in” carried by the East Wind, (this image is from the original book as well)… mary-poppins …these images were the inspiration for this illustration I did for the cover of a catalogue for Blue Fish Clothing, a free form organic cotton collection avidly collected by its fans for the loose shapes and inspired hand-block prints. flower-girl3 blue-fish-catalogue
and this recent illustration of mine…because the greatest gift this love of flowers has given me is an earthy appreciation and thirst of the sublime and transcendent…happening and available every moment.
written by Jade Dressler
illustrations by Jade Dressler

2 Responses to “FLOWERS 1”

  1. O beautiful! I didn’t know you were from that place, so am I kind of…

    I love your writing —

    I have linked to you.

    I must try that place in Lambertville next chance I get.

    • 2 jadedressler

      Thank you Lucy! I know! We are kindred spirits! Don’t let the big fur hat fool ya, there is a little poet inside. Indie Perfumes is definitely one of my favorite blogs. xo

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