As an art student at England's Newcastle University, Rebecca Louise Law wanted her nature-inspired oil paintings to invite viewers into a captivating setting, but didn't think a flat canvas was up to the task. "I needed new materials to create an immersive experience," says Law, 34. So she tapped into her roots for inspiration—"My dad is a gardener and grows thousands of flowers. It was crazy for me not to use them!" With help from her green-thumbed pop, she began hauling carloads of bouquets to her studio and sculpting 3-D installations that could spring from a wall or hang from a ceiling.

In the past five years, she's designed dozens of breathtaking pieces: a whimsical rose-garden-turned-wall-hanging for an upscale restaurant, pink peony garlands and chandeliers for a Jo Malone London fragrance launch and a grand suspended curtain at La Monnaie opera house in Brussels, where Law and a team of 50 strung nearly 5,000 blue and green hydrangeas (carefully tying each one to copper wire) above the stage. The work is painstaking, and it happens fast: "When you're using fresh-cut flowers," says Law, who handles an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 every year, "they typically need to go up within 24 hours. It gets intense."

Yet Law's favorite part of her work comes after the freshness fades. "Flowers have become some throwaway thing you buy at a supermarket," she says, "but all aspects of nature, even the decaying process, have value." In fact, her ideal project is one that would never stop growing: "I'd love to do a permanent installation in a church or a lighthouse that I can always add to," Law says, "where people can watch new and old flowers change and age over years and years"—and, yes, stop and smell the roses.


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