Feeling deflated? Ant Hamlyn’s squished sculptures are sure to cheer you up

Inspired by flower pressing and optical illusions, the London-based artist's playful pieces are a brilliant example of clever and carefully considered craftsmanship.

Date
22 September 2022

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Flower pressing is a pastime often seen as quaint and charming – a practice from a simple, more appreciative time. But when looking at the pastime more literally, artist Ant Hamlyn observes something a little more complicated: “When we crush a flower to preserve its beauty, we essentially destroy it to conserve it,” he highlights. It’s this contradiction that Ant seeks to interact with – his brightly coloured array of pressed flowers and plants being “at once a celebration and a critique”.

A real “labour of love”, all of Ant’s pieces are meticulously drawn, cut and sewn by hand. The use of varied materials is important to his work, as he endeavours to create a sense of tactility and physicality. The artist's material manipulation is rooted in one of his biggest influences: stagecraft magic and music, especially late 19th Century and early 20th Century stage illusions. Ant explains: “the delicate interplay between materiality, scale and context are intrinsic to the simultaneous creation of mystery, familiarity and deception.”

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Ant Hamlyn: Venus – Flowerpress (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2021)

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Ant Hamlyn: Fly Agaric (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2022)

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Ant Hamlyn: Garage Flowers (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2022)

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Ant Hamlyn: Pink Flowering Cactus (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2022)

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Ant Hamlyn: Daisy – Flowerpress (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2021)

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Ant Hamlyn: Forget Me Nots – Flowerpress (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2021_

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Ant Hamlyn: Daffs (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2022)

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Ant Hamlyn: Red Dragon – Fly Trap (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2021)

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Ant Hamlyn: Calla Lilies – Flowerpress (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2021)

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Ant Hamlyn: Sunflowers – Flowerpress (Copyright © Ant Hamlyn, 2021)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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