New magazine Future Fossil Flora is dedicated to exploring our relationship with flowers in these contemporary times, all the while drawing on traditional botanical illustrations and texts. Each issue chooses one flower as its theme, and ahead of the launch of Issue 1, we got a preview from creator Kaley Ross about how The Poppy Issue is coming together
Why have you decided to start Future Fossil Flora?
Future Fossil Flora is a combination of many passions of mine - flowers, art, literature, books and magazines. I connect certain flowers to many fond childhood memories, and as a photographer they have been my muse and inspiration. A little over a year ago, the idea came to me to create a magazine focused on art and culture, and the idea to centre it around flowers was a spin off from my personal photography projects. I have always loved traditional botanical illustrations, and wondered how artists see flowers today with modern styles and different mediums. This spark of inspiration evolved into Future Fossil Flora, the modern botanical study.
How did you come up with the name?
During one of my many wanderings through bookshops on Charing Cross Road, I was in the rare botanical books section and came across a series called Fossil Flora. Upon opening one of these massive volumes I found illustrations of plant fossils, which I thought was so interesting. The words stuck in my head, as I had been thinking of how best to title the magazine to get the concept across - one of the main purposes of printing this magazine is to document how we see flowers in modern times. If someone comes across the magazine decades from now, they could hopefully get a glimpse of how flowers are seen today, what their cultural significance is and how they inspired artists and writers. With this in mind, the title Future Fossil Flora was born.
How is it different from the other green-fingered magazines out there?
Many wonderful plant magazines that are out today tend to focus more on the gardening side of things, or lean towards more literal stories connected closely or loosely with plants and flowers. We are focused on the creative culture of flowers. This shows up in poetry, fiction stories and creative essays, various mediums used by artists to show us their version of a modern botanical illustration. Each issue will feature one flower, with so many different perspective of that flower and its influence around the world.
What other magazines have influenced you in terms of content?
The White Review, The Plant, and Kinfolk. By either their approach to content, stories and visuals, creative ways of coming up with a unique angle for a story, and generally a love for nature.
Who have your design influences been?
Traditional botanical books (I have a book called The Wild Flower Book published by National Geographic in 1933 that I used for reference). Future Fossil Flora has a really simple design, intentionally created to look like a book more than a traditional magazine with intense graphic design and typography. It was important to me that it felt like a traditional botanical book, with a gold foiled title on the cover, beautiful printed marbled paper on the inside cover, quality paper stocks, and yet the content is totally modern.
The first issue is themed around the poppy – how did you decide on that particular flower?
I began by thinking of what flowers would be relevant around the time that I originally (and naively) thought I could be going to print with the first issue, which at the time was the month of November. Of course the poppy was the first flower to come to mind. I considered a few others but ultimately the poppy stuck in my brain and I couldn’t get her out. I also reasoned this flower is quite symbolic and extremely influential around the world, and would be an easy launching point to began explaining the concept with potential contributors and inspire them in their work.
Can you talk us through your personal highlights of this upcoming issue?
I would say my personal highlights include two beautifully abstract series of art work that I think really capture the essence of what I envision to be a "modern botanical illustration" by Yasemin Topcam and Nina Flagstad Kvorning. Along the same lines for the written work, Oscar Gaynor’s piece Sleepless and Circular and Joyce Dixon’s Red, Or a Closed Eyelid paint vivid pictures in my mind and are unique takes on symbolism, the physical properties the poppy, and cultural significance of the flower. Another highlight for me is one of the most political pieces in the magazine, which comes from Tara Aghdashloo, who wrote a fictional story about an Afghan girl who becomes addicted to opium.
Check out Future Fossil Flora on their website here.