Does this happen to you? You get this perfect creative idea. Then you agonize for days over finding the right material to realize it. And then suddenly you remember about that undefined piece of scrap you kept for 2 years in your storage (against your best judgment) and it is just the right ingredient! You know what I am talking about, right?
Same story here. I got a message from the Thursd team that there is a Statice grower in Italy, Distafleur
, who wants to present his flowers in a new light. The variety I uses was Statice Silvery Sun Birds™
. That was a really exciting challenge for me: I have my long-lasting love affair with this underappreciated flower. I was determined to make a mono arrangement with Statice. I wanted to show what this modest flower is capable of on its own, without letting other flowers taking away attention. This required a design with a big, dramatic movement, something with a sculptural feel to it.
I started sketching my ideas. I think of sketching as a superpower. All my advanced students have to sketch their bigger works. I ask them to draw an emotion. It is a less intimidating task than drawing a physical object like a flower or a vase. Amazingly it helps even those who were told by their school teachers that they are no good at drawing. They start loving the process of sketching and some even discover a new hobby in it.
For me there is no true art without triggering an emotion, floral art is no exception. In this Statice sculpture, I wanted to create a feeling of something feminine, like spring dancing gracefully through the meadows. Hence my first sketches were of a female character dancing. But that is too literal of an expression and it needed to be transformed into a less direct symbol. You can see the gradual evolution from a person to the dancing tree through the sketches. To pay tribute to the ikebana roots of my floral training I decided that it will be a dancing Sakura tree – Japanese cherry – the tree that attracts thousands of people for the cherry blossom viewing festival in spring.
Now that the idea was clear the technical side had to be sorted. The main advantage of the Statice flower is that it stays impressively well as a dry flower. You can build a sculpture with no water and it will last for years without changing color. I have a few of those sculptures for 3-4 years by now and they still look great.
To figure out the mechanics I made the next sketch. How do I fix this volume of flowers without losing the light impression? I needed something stable and elegant looking. First, there was an idea of a metal tree. But that would be too harsh. How about cutting a tree trunk into segments and re-attaching them to form a curve? But that did not fit with the idea of a natural dancing movement of spring. I was getting desperate for a solution.
But then, yes, you guessed it. I remembered that there was a tree, with a very nice twisted bark and curved trunk stored away after I used it at an exhibition 2 years ago. I picked it up from a garden maintenance crew that worked in the neighborhood. The tree was already loaded into their trash truck. I asked nicely whether I would be allowed to take the tree. They looked at me strangely. And then one of the gardeners offered me to take the whole truck of branches and trees if I wanted. After a good laugh, I took my precious tree and carried it to my studio.
Against the odds, this tree did not convert into compost. It got decorated with flowers and became a dancing sakura tree. Do you get a happy spring feeling looking at it?
At the end I'd like to thank the grower, Distafleur
, for supporting me with the flowers, and the Agora Group
for getting the flowers to me via Agora Brussels.
Looking for ways to extend the vase life of cut flowers? Visit my flower blog at www.ikebanaWEB.com
and download a free report “How to keep flowers fresh, longer” with the tips and tricks I accumulated over the years on how to process different kinds of material for increasing their vase life.