Anna Leigh Clem

Floating Petals
Location: Somerville, MA
Nationality: American
Biography: Anna Leigh Clem is a photo-based artist working with book arts, text, sculpture, and other media to explore and portray her unconscious ruminations. Compelled by the secret worlds inherent in memories, dreams, and childhood, her work aims to... read on
Public Story
Floating Petals
Credits: anna leigh clem
Date of Work: 05/01/20 - 05/20/20
Updated: 05/24/20

Handmade, one of a kind paper sculptures created from family photographs
Pigment prints on cotton rag, set of 18, 8”x10” each

My childhood home and its’ garden in Hoboken, New Jersey, which no longer exist physically, represent a sanctuary that I feel I have lost in adulthood. By excavating family photographs and other materials from my early life, I have found that underneath the layers lies a deep desire for the refuge and freedom of imagination that I had in childhood and thought I would always have. It is this sense of loss with which I am grappling. In order to bring the pieces back together, my grownup imagination fills in the gaps like fresh mortar between old bricks. The resulting work represents an inner space that I am now seeding and cultivating, as I have found that the garden lives within me.

Floating Petals is a set of handmade paper sculptures created from a selection of family photographs taken within my childhood garden, combined with dried flowers and plant matter from my parents' present-day garden. Once shredded, the fragments of photographs were brought back together to take on new form. I found the process similar to the search for memories and the loss of detail as remembrance fades. The new paper looks like conglomerate rock, not dissimilar to what my precious memories, signified by the chosen photographs, have become after so many years of use. After being pressed, I intuitively shaped and wrinkled the paper, resulting in sculptures of likeness to hilly landscapes or abandoned handkerchiefs. Together, with petals of new and old, I have created my own gardens to explore.

By Anna Leigh Clem —


The Rings of My Limbs

By Anna Leigh Clem / Souris, Prince Edward Island — (2013) There’s a part of me that is ready to fall away. I keep searching for the whole, and still I..

I walk to break free of the fear.

By Anna Leigh Clem / Souris, Prince Edward Island — (2010-11) My accordion book I walk to break free of the fear. is an illustration of inner mind as sanctuary..

Floating Petals (book)

By Anna Leigh Clem — (2020) Handmade paper created from family photographs Pigment prints on cotton rag, artist's book, box..

The Perennial Garden (WIP)

By Anna Leigh Clem — (2012-2020) My childhood home and its’ garden in Hoboken, New Jersey, which no longer exist..


By Anna Leigh Clem — (2017-2020) Statement coming soon.


By Anna Leigh Clem / Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona — (2016) I dive into the canyon and begin to fly. Never have I soared like this before, not since my last..


By Anna Leigh Clem / Hudson Valley, New York — (2012-2016) A hole has more presence than a filled spot, and I have come to notice a few. They are..

To be oneself completely

By Anna Leigh Clem / Hudson Valley, NY — (2012-2014) When I step out the door to photograph, whether in my backyard or an unfamiliar landscape, my..

Where the Road Goes

By Anna Leigh Clem / County Cork, Ireland — (2011) While my stay in Ireland was brief, every passing moment soaked through to a heeding heart. It is..


By Anna Leigh Clem / New Paltz, NY — (2014) Teenage years are laden with fear, wonder, and self-doubt. In attempt to dissect that strange age as..

It will become something

By Anna Leigh Clem — (2011-12) As we move away from the purity of our births, we become complex and gnarled like trunks of..
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