I felt called to make a Green Lady, but as the figure manifested, I realized that masculine and feminine in plant life are not necessarily as distinct or obvious as in human life. At least 90% of all flowering plants have bisexual flowers containing male and female organs, although others—like date palms, edible figs, willows, cottonwoods, marijuana—have only unisexual flowers (separate male and female individuals), and others are a mixture or even change their sex under certain conditions. And what about a Green Man? Is he/it closer to plant or human? But I digress.
For whatever reasons (botanical or otherwise), my attempts to make a Green Lady just didn’t work. Her lovely organdy skirt looked absurd, as did her hand-stamped and painted green silk skirt, which later became a pair of fashionable pantaloons. But they still didn’t work. The clothes were too “human.” This was a Green Person, not a prom queen. So I tried again, finally creating a skirt with multiple slits to resemble foliage in a forest. There is something slightly feminine about the figure because of the silk skirt and because of the beaded flowers I used for its eyes and mouth. But be wary of thinking it is “just another pretty face.” This figure holds secrets of its own!
The face was modeled after the head of a Green Man I saw in a bush on a hillside in San Diego in February. I was out for a walk, and I glanced at a bush—and then I looked again. And again. I clearly saw the leaf-covered head of a Green Man, complete with a ski-jump nose. A simulacra, I thought at first, but it didn’t disappear when I approached it from a different angle. I was astounded. I called my husband to look—and he also saw the head. I took a photo with my cell phone, but the quality was very poor.
I kept thinking I would blink and the face would disappear, but it didn’t. In retrospect, I wonder why I was so surprised to see the Green Man. After all, did I really think it was just the product of artistic imagination?