Dutch artist Juliette Warmenhoven’s beautifully crafted planters take a wry jab at modern culture’s obsession with mass-produced perfection. There’s a self-watering bonsai in a mini incubator and music boxes with sprouting potato plants that spin when you turn the key. Warmenhoven’s special light bulbs have baby blooms for filaments and leafy greens are showcased in molded plastic and fiberglass.
Growing up as the daughter of a frustrated flower farmer in the wake of the Dutch tulip craze, Warmenhoven became hyper-aware of the burgeoning struggle to generate fast-growing, perfectly uniform plants to keep up with the modern demand and visual expectation.
Warmenhoven’s graduation project, “Everyday Growing,” features these plants from her childhood canvassed in an array of cheeky “planters” and displays constructed from recycled synthetic objects, which otherwise would be considered plastic trash.
One of her most eye-catching pieces, called Couverse, is a self-watering terrarium inspired by an incubator. Since it only needs to be filled once per month, the system “takes care of the child” as Juliette has put it.
Another piece in the series is this music box shaped like a birdcage, which holds a twirling pedestal. In an unexpected twist there are potatoes posed on the spinning plate: “It highlights the hidden beauty of the potato, something people never consider,” she says. “When it sprouts they’re thinking, ‘Oh it’s rotten, we have to throw it away.’ But I saw so many different amazing forms.”
Although inspired by mass production, the objects in her collection are handcrafted from found objects. By learning through experimentation, she even created pieces that required special processes, such as the molding fiberglass and crafting functional incubator tanks. “In my work I emphasize the very small everyday things that get little attention because they often are considered to be too ordinary and common.”
“The first idea was to give all the attention to the plant,” Warmenhoven explains, “But then I wanted to show that culture and nature are equally important.” When faced with a rotating potato plant affixed to a salvaged music box, it’s nearly impossible to not understand her mission — or want one yourself.
Via Sight Unseen