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Meet: Tracey Deep, floral sculptor

Photo - Robin Powell

Tracey Deep uses nature as an inspiration for her living sculptures. Here we chat to her about her work and life.

You have never called yourself a florist, why is that?

I never thought of myself as a florist. I always called what I did living art, even when I was just doing flower work. It was all about shape and texture, all the things that are so important in a work of art. I was making installations or living sculptures, and it was all fabulous training for the inorganic sculpture that I am doing now as well. It seems like a natural evolution.


Photo - Chris Gleisner

So are the flowers gone?

I still do regular floral work, and in between I play and have fun with sculptural pieces that are a bit more permanent. These are pieces you could hang on a wall or suspend from the ceiling and they still have an organic sense though I use discarded materials and scraps of metal, woven with sticks or branches.


So nature is still the inspiration?

Always. It’s a seed pod, or the way the light hits the water when I’m walking in the park, or the shadows thrown by trees. I’ve always liked the odd plant, the imperfect flower, the dried branch. These things show an interaction with time and with nature. And I find the same sense in discarded industrial bits and pieces. I’m attracted to old things, things that had a life of their own before I came along and tuned them into something totally different. I have collected them over the years, and they lie around and then one day – bang – it works with something else. I love the objects that people look at and think nothing of. I have the lucky gift of seeing beauty in things others ignore.


Photo - Chris Gleisner


What plants seem to find their way into most of your living pieces at the moment?

It’s always beautiful bush flora: seed pods and eucalypt branches. They are so striking. Whenever I use them for a function or whatever people are surprised or taken aback – they haven’t looked at them closely before and seen the beauty. They still maybe get overlooked in favour of exotics. But to me our flora is exotic. I use them as the focus point, rather than mixed up in flower bunches. To me they are the jewel of whatever I might put together, the star of the living sculpture.


Photo - Chris Gleisner


What does summer bring that you love?

The light and the shadows through the trees. In my living art in summer I love keeping things light and free-flowing, with fresh greens. In summer we like to be surrounded by flowing energy so to me it’s about the light and a sense of whimsy.


Tracey Deep works from her studio in Chippendale in Sydney and can be contacted at

Text: Robin Powell

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Author: Robin Powell