“Nargis” in Hindi (नरगिस)
“Daffodils” in English. “Narcissus”
In Eastern culture (including, as referenced by Rumi), these flowers represent “eyes”. In various connotations. Also related to bestowing wealth & prosperity to the receiver of the flowers.
When Karina and Magan got me a bunch of Daffodils when they came to see my first ever art exhibition in February, I wasn’t aware that Daffodils were called “Nargis” in Hindi. Aditi of PureGhee Designs, who was one of the exhibition partners, was the one to tell me about Nargis.
Thankfully we had a spare water bottle to use as a flower vase during the exhibit, and the flowers went into it immediately. Once I was back home, I transferred the flowers into a wide glass vessel – not a vase in the traditional sense – but it would had to do.
The flowers started to wilt after a few days. Since I am always brimming with ideas – most of them unsustainable for a one-person creative studio – I had a few ideas about what to do next with these flowers.
I pulled them out of the water and let them air dry for a couple of days, which is when I noticed that one of the flowers had started to grow mold. This was not on my “ideas list”. The oil heaters had not been cleaned and packed away yet – it was still mid-February – and I went ahead and turned one on at full blast and put the flowers on top of it. The action of the air and the heat turned the flowers crispy within a few minutes. I repeated this 4-5 times over the course of the next few days till I was satisfied with the crispiness.
Meanwhile, I had read up a lot about the flower, its significance in mythology and history as well as where it is grown. A lot of what I read resonated with who I think I am and the things I identify with. Which was one of the reasons why I was so hell bent on preserving these flowers. I pressed a few in my scrapbook – these too developed a bit of mold and I spotted a tiny critter when I opened the pages to check on them after a couple of weeks.
This particular variety, Narcissus Tazetta, grows locally in India. One of the more fragrant varieties of the Narcissus. Used by parfumeries – I LOVE fragrances too.
Far too many parallels with who I am and the things I love. Most thoughtful bunch of flowers ever.
PSA : Toxic to animals & humans if ingested. So, if you have pets &/ little kids, keep these out of their reach.
Last week, I decided to finally do something about the pressed flowers and the dried ones. It being a lockdown and all. Perfect time to accomplish unfinished tasks – and I have a LOT.
I varnished the flat pressed ones in my scrapbook. This was to prevent any more interaction with air or other materials. No more humidity or insects. Before I created artwork with the dried flowers, I wanted to photograph them. Maybe a self-portrait? I wasn’t sure. I slowly built a simple set and tried a few frames before I finalized a picture that I liked.
What type of artwork I’m going to make with the dried flowers is something I’m not yet sure of. I’m thinking of slathering some thick acrylic gel medium onto a threadbare round canvas and pressing the flowers into that. In at least 3-4 layers so that they flowers look like they are suspended – similar to what insects caught in amber look like – but the gel I will be using will be mostly transparent and with no tint. I do not want any tint because the flowers themselves have a delicate, almost monotone color and I am not keen on losing that.
The only trouble with the above idea is that I might not have enough heavy gel medium in stock at the apartment and because of the lockdown, it is going to be a while before I can order any more. I have not dismissed this idea entirely but I am afraid to look into my stock. Trying to postpone my disappointment.
That is the story of the Daffodils, so far.