There is nothing quite like vibrant flowers to brighten any room. In college, a friend suggested that instead of celebrating grade victories with sweet treats, we should buy just a few fresh flowers from the grocery store each week and arrange a colorful display for our dreary dorm room. We enjoyed this perk far longer than the momentary indulgent piece of chocolate … and it helped curb the “freshman 15!”
According to Abigail Thielke, who penned an excellent article on the subject in this issue, flower arranging is a 5,000-year-old art that reflects cultures around the world. I have always been intrigued about learning the art behind creating beautiful arrangements and thus successfully managing for each flower to stay in place instead of flopping to the side, facing the wrong direction or just looking like a tangled mess. I could also use a tutorial on this skill set for my hair in the mornings!
My first flower arranging workshop was with Marshall Foster, who taught several key techniques for aspiring beginners –– including the miracle of floral tape for keeping those stems where I wanted them and thinking in terms of color combinations, balance and shape. She also recommended selecting an odd number for each flower type. Interestingly, many of Marshall’s concepts overlapped with those taught to me by local artist Anne Hightower-Patterson in her watercolor classes offered at City Art. Anne also explained that using odd numbers in a composition prevents the mind from automatically counting the subject, such as distant birds, in pairs.
I would like to claim that after regularly practicing Marshall’s strategies, I became a flower-arranging aficionado ... but the truth is that I badly need to brush up on the basics. Whether you are just learning or have years of experience, review the fundamentals in Abigail’s article on page 64 and learn some insider tricks to create a masterful centerpiece for any occasion this spring. Florist Chad Ridenour offers how-to instruction with step-by-step photos, hopefully inspiring you to grab your clippers and head to the garden. Did you know that you can peel back the outer petals of a rose to give them more pop? This is just one of the many secrets Chad shares for creating fabulous arrangements with a dewy, fresh look.
You just might discover that you’re a budding artist!