Flowers are forever
Teresa Gresher shares her collection of floral clay creations
SUN CITY – Where can you find everlasting orchids, permanent rose petals, and tiny trees that never age? Teresa Gresher can find this very phenomenon in her own home, where flowers are forever.
This is because Gresher, a Del Webb resident, is a professional sculptress who creates clay floral creations by hand under her company name Sai Floral Arts. The word “Sai” refers to the appearance of the clay art, which implies color and delicacy.
“Everything, from the roots to the trunk of the tree to the branches, leaves, and flowers, is made entirely out of clay,” Gresher said. “It’s unique. You can never craft the exact same flower twice.”
Gresher uses these hand-crafted flowers and other clay-made plants in myriad creations. Her work takes the form of miniature sculpted plants, floral jewelry, and wedding bouquets, with her specialty being miniature clay Bonsai trees.
“I create it, shape it, and hand paint it. Then I arrange it,” she said.
For Gresher, who sells her artwork at local craft shows and also works with real plants as a floral arranger, sculpting and nature are her passions. She explained that her creative process was an important factor.
“First of all, you have to be in the mood to create. You have to have a feeling and a passion for it,” she said. “I also put music on in the background.”
Although she has always considered herself an artist in progress, Gresher discovered her love of clay floral art while living in Japan, where this type of artistry is popular.
“Since childhood, I have been captivated by nature. When I was a little girl, I loved the outdoors and I loved flowers, and I wanted to make them last forever. Then, when I lived in Japan for four years with my husband, I discovered this art form and just fell in love with it,” she said.
While in Japan, Gresher graduated from a Japanese art school and then brought her newfound artistic calling back to the United States.
“Many years have passed since I lived in Tokyo, but the techniques and passions still live on,” she said. “I believed that studying this clay art would open a window to a country, a culture, and a language that was new to me, and it did just that.”
Upon Gresher’s return, she maintained her involvement with the art form by teaching various workshops at a Japanese school in Arlington Heights and at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Some of the students she instructed in the U.S. are now art teachers in Japan. While Gresher did discover floral art overseas, she feels that the art form has remained just as important to her since returning home.
“Being in Japan, I found a place where I could learn the art form,” she said. “And now, I can do this for the rest of my life.”