It’s always fun seeing how a drawing progresses, growing from a sketch into something life-like.
For years I’ve been drawing farm animals with the bright, fanciful designs painted on Swedish Dala horses—a combination of realism and whimsy that’s so fun to draw—and I recently had the idea to do similar with lady’s slippers. Only lady’s slippers—which are also known as moccasin flowers—would have to hearken to their native roots.
The Minnesota Historical Society has a large collection of moccasins dating from the last 150 years or so up to now, mostly of Dakota and Ojibwe origin, and photographs are available online. The intricacy of those moccasins is incredible; whether embroidered, reverse appliqued, beaded, or quilled, they are stunning pieces of workmanship. Translating that to a lady slipper was more challenging than I anticipated, particularly as lady’s slippers are not actually shaped much like moccasins and lack certain vital parts, like a vamp and cuff (which are often the most decorated parts of the moccasin). So some styles I may never be able to imitate on a paper flower, but I’ve certainly enjoyed the challenge.