Dutch artist Anne ten Donkelaar creates ethereal pieces of art that take after nature. Composed of real flowers (and sometimes, real butterflies) as well as two-dimensional representations she finds in books, she makes intricate collages that are kept and protected under glass, like marvelous specimens that deserve a closer look.
“A damaged butterfly, a broken twig, a bumblebee, some strangely grown weeds: I find all these unique discoveries in my path and then take them home to my studio,” she writes on her website. “Here, I take my time to explore the objects and try to work out how I can show each one to its best advantage.”
She collects her material from a variety of sources: the flowers she grows in her garden, second-hand picture books, and butterflies from the botanical garden in Utrecht. It’s these finds which inspire her work, allowing her to invent her own stories about their former existence. By protecting these pieces under glass, she gives the objects a second life, hoping to inspire people to make up their own stories about them.
“I hope it gives joy and that it inspires,” she said in an interview with Create Magazine. With more than 25k fans on Instagram, it’s clear that people are inspired.