Flourish (Ceterach Officinarum)

Alt: Ceterach Officinarum
Alt: Ceterach Officinarum
Completed April 2007
Tremough Campus, University College Falmouth
University College Falmouth
Percy Thomas Architects

Project Description

Large scale drawing created by adhering 15,000 tiny lenses to the glazed elevation of the design centre at University College Falmouth.  Each lens acts as a pixel in an overall drawing of the rusty back fern.  The piece of work references the original site of the building, the function of the building as a creative learning environment and the specific character Cornwall.  

Flourish is created specifically for Tremough, it is designed to exist quietly, respectfully accommodating others creativity as they work within in its site and providing a backdrop for contemplation. At the same time it invites the audience closer, to experience the illusional qualities of the work as it frames the exterior world and constantly changes with the dynamic of the environment. Within each lens there is a microcosm of life beyond the institution, an invitation to consider the world outside.  Each lens contains a unique and ever changing miniature world, yet at the same time this is a piece that is the sum of many individual parts.  It alludes to the strength of individuals working as a whole, within a framework, structure or system. 

In many ways this is also a piece about potential, opportunity and tenacity.  A complex piece created from 15,000 tiny lenses by a team of 16 people for a period of 18 days that has elevated the humble Rusty Back Fern to a position of importance, demonstrating the potential of the ordinary to become extraordinary, a metaphor for the potential within us all.  This tiny, often over looked plant has been allowed to flourish through the lenses but originally it was clever enough to take advantage of opportunity;

“We may be assisted in our enquiry by a recent occurrence at Tremough. A plant of the scaly fern (Rusty Back) was found growing on the walls near the stables. At first the problem of its presence seemed inexplicable, but when I learned that one of the servants had been cultivating the fern indoors, and that at the seasonal cleaning the carpets were thrown across the wall onto which the wanderer  grew I took my clue and concluded that to some adventitious clause we were indebted for the presence of the fern in the valley” 

Frederick Davey, self educated naturalist working between 1868 and 1915 writing in his book ‘Flora and Fauna of Cornwall’.