As an artist and natural history collector, Crystal Floyd’s assemblages tell stories that evoke a sense of time and place. Consider her work, “Release” an arrangement of butterflies set free by a white porcelain hand extended from a mossy vase. In a drawer covered by Plexiglass, the piece seems familiar, yet somehow dreamy and disorienting.

Floyd’s studio at the CoRK Arts District hosts a fascinating collection of butterfly wings, petrified mushrooms, geodes, snakeskins, dead beetles and armadillo skulls. She attends mineral shows, but primarily gathers found objects from salvage yards, thrift stores and garage sales. Odd things like dentures and a dental articulator sit next to a Magic Brain Calculator, broken dolls, tonic bottles, handwritten notes and other ephemera on her shelves. Floyd hunts objects with an “open radar,” letting intuition guide her, and receives many as gifts from friends and family.

“This is a way for me not to end up as a total hoarder,” Floyd says. “Sometimes I don’t know what the things will be, but I know I will end up using them.”

Similar to a collage, assemblage is an artistic form of three-dimensional elements on a surface. In Floyd’s case, it’s often a box or a drawer. Floyd is self-taught. Her artistic interest sprouted as a child accompanying her mother, a muralist, while painting.

Often, her work calls for a delicate touch. She gives brittle butterfly wings a gentle steam bath, so she can manipulate them and pin them down. Bug tape works to help hold dead beetles in place, while she pushes a pin through their abdomen.

“It’s just something I’m interested in,” Floyd says, referring to her passion for life sciences and David Attenborough’s natural history programs. “I guess you could say I’m paying homage to nature.”

Crystal Floyd’s work is on display in the Connector Bridge Cases at the Jacksonville International Airport through September 30. For more information, visit her website at crystalfloyd.com

 Think Outside the Box:

Crystal Floyd’s tips on how to creatively display your memorabilia at home:

 

• Choose a theme, like a vacation, special person, pet or new baby, to guide your choice of materials and create a cohesive project.

 

• Select a clear or simple presentation box that won’t compete with the assemblage of collectables.

 

• Use a variety of shapes, colors and textures.

 

• Embrace the imperfections in found objects.

 

• Create a design plan and give it thought before gluing or pinning anything down.

 

• Apply the rule of thirds, placing important elements off center to create balance and engage the viewer.

 

• Use an asymmetrical pattern and uneven number of objects to create interest.

 

• Insert a handwritten letter or note as a common thread to tie the subjects together.

 

• Photograph the project to view the contrast and how the objects play off one another.

 

• Let it sit over night or a few days so you can see it with fresh eyes. Don’t be afraid to edit.

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Crystal Floyd’s work is on display in the Connector Bridge Cases at the Jacksonville International Airport through September 30. For more information, visit her website at crystalfloyd.com

 

 

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