Japanese flower-pressing art on display at HCH

By By Cliff Seiber / American Press

Japanese art form done by a Russian artist who lives in Many is the latest exhibit on display at the Historic City Hall Arts

and Cultural Center.

The exhibit, “Second Life of Plants,” opened last week and will remain up through April 6.

Rita Ford, a native of a small town in Siberia, is self-taught in the art of oshibana, using dried flowers in fine art works.

She lived in St. Petersburg for 17 years before coming to Louisiana in 2007 to marry Ralph Ford of Many.

“I experiment to see what looks good,” she said in a telephone interview with the American Press. She has studied old books in the Russian language to train herself in the techniques of making collages with plant material.

Most of the plant material Ford uses comes from her own garden. Other plants such as fall foliage are collected from forests.

The flowers are dried to preserve their color, and she then uses watercolors to provide backgrounds.

“Every leaf and every flower is already a piece of art,” she said. “The botanical artist uses the texture as well as the colors

of the plants in their paintings.”

Ford will be in Lake Charles on March 1 for a joint reception for the opening of another exhibit at Historic City Hall, “Pueblo

to Pueblo: The Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery.” The reception will be 5:30-8 p.m.

She won an honorable mention in a juried competition at Gallery One E111even in Leesville last year. She also had an exhibit

in Natchitoches and will have another there in June.

Oshibana is about 600 years old and was practiced as early as 1873 in America, said Ralph Ford, who did some research on the