‘Flowers are a Powerful Symbol’: Interview with HOLLA BOTANICS

vor 3 years

Honoring Mother Nature, one little bud at a time

HOLLA Botanics came on my radar this Spring, at a time when all of Berlin starts going a little stir crazy (especially this year), craving days in nature, the sunlight, natural beauty… In March, on International Women’s Day, Michelle Gornick launched a beautifying endeavor and proclaimed a manifesto entitled ‘In Female Power We Trust’ – her first public project was to adorn the Käthe Kollwitz monument in Prenzlauer Burg with hundreds of flowers, bringing together a Kiez of all ages to spend some moments relishing in feminine grace. Then on Mother’s Day, she offered ‘flower bombs’ to the public: little packages of flower seedlings, meant to be thrown into cracked concrete and overgrown plots of land that deserve a bit more beauty.

Nature gave me inner peace. It healed the broken parts of me and gave me a deeper grounding and new perspective. There is a lot that nature can teach us. Flowers have a graceful sublimity. They are so resilient and sensitive at the same time.

Fräulein: What is your mission at Holla?

Michelle Gornick: Holla is the mother goddess of nature, of protection and healing. In her name, in the name of flowers and the power of femininity, the mission of Holla is to create floral statements and designs with respect and awareness of our one mother nature.The conception of HOLLA BOTANICS is to empower a new wave movement of floral pleasures and unify with natural resources.

Flowers are a very powerful symbol. I want to create with this, in the most natural way. Placed as floral installations with social, political, or artistic statements, you can send out a message. 

I see it as an international language you can communicate with, not against. Basically, I want people to become connected with nature through my actions and create more consciousness for the importance of living in harmony with Mother Nature.

Did something specifically inspire you to create this initiative?

In general, for me, it’s a passionate and authentic way to express myself as an artist, person, and soul. The things I do should have a greater sense behind it, otherwise it feels like a waste of time.   Working with flowers is a very sensual way to deal with a topic non-aggressively, but still make a strong statement. 

I pursue to live in a peaceful mindset, especially because this was not always my way. The younger me was quite impulsive, and rebellious. I learned that it is a one-way street. Anger brings you nowhere.  Most of the time, it causes damage and loss. Don’t get me wrong – it can be a good engine, but sometimes you must change gear to bring out the proper conception for that which you are fighting.

Nature gave me inner peace. It healed the broken parts of me and gave me a deeper grounding and new perspective. There is a lot that nature can teach us. Flowers have a graceful sublimity. They are so resilient and sensitive at the same time. 

Once you cut a flower it starts to die – it will gradually fade.  When it has just been cut and placed, there is a moment of wonder. Nearly spiritual. It is about impermanence, which makes it so precious and special. This is what life is about, everything is changing all the time. From the moment you start to accept this fact, you can fully enjoy all the stages of evolution and life itself.

What is your favourite park in Berlin?

The Garisonfriedhof in Mitte. It’s not really a park but a very old former cemetery. A quick escape, like a little green bubble in the middle of Berlin. I go there and lay in the grass for hours, and it’s never packed, which helps me to really connect and enjoy nature. This secret garden is very quiet and peaceful, and I never leave without a solution.

Do you have any tips for a good day trip for us to get into nature (be it inside or just outside of Berlin)?

We have plenty of green around the city. My tip is choosing a direction and just get there. Go with the flow. There will be your personal spot: maybe a forest, a field full of wildflowers, a hidden lake. Just get lost in nature. With or without a route, you will be more open to the experiences, with all of your senses and you can enjoy the moment to the fullest. Find your souvenir of the day (I always do this when I am walking in nature). Have a nice picnic and have a swim naked. Those are the best day trips. This makes a difference to a crowded lake experience, and gives you a lovely mother nature recharge.

What are your favourite flowers and herbs?

Every season comes with beautiful and varieties. As a big lover of our giving flora, I cannot really name my favourites. There are way too many!

Out of emotional and nostalgic reasons I can choose one very special flower to me: the bleeding heart, which was the favourite flower of my grandmother and probably the first flower I consciously came in touch with. It is a pink pendant blossom in the shape of a heart with a little trop hanging down. This flower is always a very touching memory of my childhood and those many things my grandma taught me. It is also called “lady in a bathtub “. When you turn around the bleeding heart and pull the blossom carefully, it becomes a little lady in a fancy pink tub. Even though this flower looks so cute, it is quite poisonous so watch out! (Granny’s advice 🙂

Are you plotting any future projects/takeovers?

The most important thing for me now is to find a space/atelier where I can create and work on my projects. I want to go deeper. I am planning to work longterm on growing my own flowers. The flower market is a dirty business with a lot of room for improvement. It’s a long process, but I would be very happy to be a part of changing this game.

I want to go ahead with my green art projects, like the flower dress installation on Mother’s Day, or the seed bomb action. I have given away more than 1000 flowers and produced around 2000 flower bombs for a greener city. Those are from the heart projects, but they cost a lot.    

Besides, my big visions, I have smaller concepts, too. I am making an installation “Flowers for Peace“, which I want to drop at the start of June. In addition to that, I am very open to any kind of collaborations. I love to exchange and create new ideas and interesting, challenging concepts.

What are some small ways we can show our appreciation and love for Mother Nature, in our day-to-day lives?

To have a basic respect of our one Mother is a good start.
Do not leave your trash around and treat her well!
If you walk through nature or any greenery, touch the leaves softly.
If you feel like it, talk to the plants. Give the tree a hug. They will appreciate it, even if it is not our speed or level of communication! They are living creatures and it is proven they react to interaction in a positive way.  And at the same time, it is a great benefit to the human soul. Being surrounded by nature reduces our stress levels and gives uplifting pheromones. Being around plants is the best organic anti-depressive you can get.

Mother Earth is paradise already, we just have stop messing her up. In the end, to protect Mother Nature, means to protect ourselves. This is what people really must understand. Be giving to Mother Nature and show her some love whenever you can in every way you can.

Aside from beautifying spaces, you also celebrate strong and powerful women. To you, what does a powerful woman look like?

A strong female power is never a look: it is an attitude, a vibe. It is about the mindset of female empowerment and the understanding of your own rights and boundaries. I have met some very different strong women in my life, and to me they all had one thing in common: unbreakable strength, which does not mean that they are necessarily tough, rather they are deeply brave and resilient while still being highly sensitive. Actually, just like flowers! It is about this delicate balance between power and fragility, which is really just ultimate. Every strong soul has already suffered in life. Transforming suffering and rising up from your own pain makes the difference. This acceptance builds a grounded aura and creates pure authenticity. Determined yet gracious. A soul with complex chapters, through them, less fearless and more aware. Unintimidated because you trust in your own value. This makes a powerful woman to me.

Follow HOLLA BOTANICS on Instagram

Interview by Janna Shaw
Photos Courtesy of HOLLA Botanics

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