Looking at the beautiful bouquets of Ukrainian artist Olesya Galushcenko, it’s hard to believe that all the flowers aren’t actually real but made of hard porcelain.
Olesya Galushcenko is a hydraulics engineer who got into porcelain flower making as a personal challenge. Seven years ago, during maternity leave, she decided to take on an artistic project that involved using her hands, and a decorative flower bouquet caught her eye. The artist was self-taught, so she refused to pay for classes and decided to learn the craft herself using free internet tutorials. But they only served to get her started because she soon realized that polymer clay wasn’t the right material for the degree of realism she wanted, so she decided to experiment herself and soon discovered that cold porcelain met her requirements.
“The author of the works that impressed me was self-taught and my motto is ‘if someone else could do it, then so can I’,” Olesya told: – “And that’s how it all began. But in the end, the tutorials did not satisfy me, because everything turned out to be too decorative, and I wanted realism.”
While experimenting with porcelain, Olesya realized that in order to achieve almost perfect flower replicas, every little part of the flowers she was copying needed to be perfect. So she started taking every flower apart like a naturalist and making molds of every element, from the petals to the stamens and pistils, out of toothpaste.
After making the molds, the talented artist creates the frame of the bouquet from wire covered in tape. Everything is then carefully coated in porcelain and assembled in the stunning arrangements you see in these photos. The porcelain masterpieces needed about a day to dry.
Provided the artist works from early morning until late at night, she can create one peony in a day, while a sprig of lilac takes about a week. Because of the work involved in creating a single porcelain flowers, Olesya Galushcenko’s creations are not exactly cheap, but there are always buyers lining up to buy her works, and there’s almost always a waiting list of customers.
“Once I was commissioned to make one hundred porcelain tulips, but the customer could not buy them out due to financial difficulties. I put them up on my website and they were sold out in a day or two,” Olesya said.
Each porcelain flower that comes out of Olesya Galushcenko’s hands is one of a kind, and, if properly cared for, can last forever. She recommends keeping them out of direct sunlight and excessive moisture, vacuuming them and carefully wiping them with a damp cloth.
While Olesya describes the process of creating ultra-realistic porcelain flowers as therapeutic, she admits that the painstaking wok has taken a toll on her body, especially her eyes and her back. That is to be expected, considering how much time she spends working on her beautiful bouquets. Still, she does have the satisfaction of being the best at what she does.
“Today, judging by the reviews of other ceramic florists and my observations of the works of the masters, my lilac is the best in the world,” the Odessa-based artist said. “Almost everyone uses artificial stamens, simplifying their work and replacing the concept of manual labor. I make absolutely all the elements with my own two hands.”
Despite receiving countless offers, Olesya Galushcenko refuses to teach classes or make tutorials on how to create stunningly realistic porcelain flowers, because she believes that once she has shared her secrets, the charm of her art will be lost. “Firstly, I believe that every master should go his own way, study different materials, and not work according to any one methodology,” the Ukrainian artist said. In general, it is enough to learn how to mold clay and observe nature, to disassemble flowers by petal. Also, if I already share my secrets, the exclusivity of my products will be lost.”
By Olga Bejuà / 2020 ART D&F Magazine