"It basically started out as an art project," says Per Cromwell, inventor of the Flower Shell, a 12-gauge shotgun shell loaded with seeds for poppies, peonies, and cornflowers. "I got the idea that it would be interesting to use something meant to be lethal and used to be bringing life into the world. And then I realized that it actually worked."
Cromwell, who also co-founded Swedish design outfit Studio Total, spent the summer testing and refining the Flower Shell. Eventually, he found the right proportion of gunpowder as to not burn up the seeds, injected them into the ground, and watched his creations come to life.
Naturally, Cromwell launched an Indiegogo page to take his project mainstream. He's not an avid shooter, he says, and borrowed his friend's gun in order to develop the project. But now that he's sold out his first couple of boxes, he's realizing that there's much more interest in the Flower Shot, especially overseas. Two days after launching the Indiegogo page, he's gotten interest from companies in the United States that want to manufacture the product on good 'ol American soil.
"It seems like the interest is biggest in the United States," Cromwell says. "And it's kind of a tricky thing to ship live ammo, and seeds, for that matter."
It's a beautiful concept. But it can also probably hurt people. One of the interested parties that has emailed Cromwell is a Miami-based security company wondering how the seeds might affect a human body. ("I'm a little bit intrigued just to find out what they have in mind. They were talking about all these eco-friendly things," Cromwell says.)
When I tell him guns can be sort of a polarizing issue over here, Cromwell says he sees ownership of hunting rifles as acceptable, but military-style weapons (like some semi-automatic rifles) as baffling. Sweden, he notes, has very strict laws regarding this distinction.
Perhaps, though, the Flower Shell will turn would-be hunting enthusiasts into avid gardeners. "I'm very, very glad and surprised that these shells have got so much attention, and very positive feedback," Cromwell says. "I'm very much looking forward to going over to the United States over the Christmas break and talking to manufacturers to start up a small production." It's likely, he says, that Flower Shell will launch towards the end of February.