I just sent off a proposal to Margaret for two floral arrangements for Government House. These will go in the ladies and gents washrooms. We'll see what she has to say about the proposal, but regardless, it's really rewarding working with her. It's not often that someone gets to be a part of the visual evolution of such a historic building.
I stopped by Government House on Friday to see the spaces where the arrangements will be going and spoke with Gino, the manager of the building. Apparently, people are so convinced the flowers are real, that they lean in to smell them. (He wants to find scented oil somewhere and place a few drops on the arrangements to really further the illusion.) The arrangements also get touched (and tugged at!) a lot. I've set aside a few extra calla lilies to replace ones that some mischievous government employee accidentally tore at.
I'll wait until I hear from Margaret before I post too many pictures of the upcoming project, but in the meantime, here are some pictures I took today for the proposal.
Each image shows the floral elements I'd like to use for a particular composition.
Top, from left to right: green jackfruit branch, burgundy leaf, purple heliconia, green ladyslipper orchid, purple vanilla grass, protea (side view), protea (top view), purple dendrobium orchid, cream rose.
Middle, from left to right: eucalyptus, curly willow (dried), fuchsia dendrobium orchid, dendrobium leaves, mondo grass.
Bottom, from left to right: purple vanilla grass, frost grass, phalenopsis leaves, berry calla lily, eggplant calla lily, green tiger cymbidium orchid, staghorn branch, cream vanda orchid, red bird of paradise, cream rose.
The green tiger cymbidium spike in the bottom picture is particularly amazing (and quite expensive). Aaron and I went to the annual orchid show two weeks ago here in Edmonton and this spike is very very much like the real thing.
The large cream protea in the middle image is also fantastic. The weight of the head is a surprise to some, and adds to the realism. When they first arrived in the store, I found them garish, but then I saw one in an arrangement (a real one!) on this year's Homes for the Holidays tour, and it was love. It's only shortcoming is that the manufacturer wired the petals to allow designers to form them, but whereas they sometimes hide the wires between a sandwich of petal layers, in this flower they are exposed. And since this flower tends to be arranged facing outward, the wires can be a bit obtrusive in finished arrangement. Still, the subtlety of the colouring and the texture of the petals more than makes up for exposed wires.
These images remind me of the visual glossaries I see in Martha Stewart Living Magazine (like this one, this one and this one). I've been reading Martha Stewart Living for over ten years now, and the glossaries hold a special place in my heart. They're always so beautifully laid out, and it's so useful when you know absolutely nothing about a particular subject (but are very curious, as I often am) to have a visual guide to help distinguish between this green edible weed with a white stringy bit and that green edible weed with a cream stringy bit, or this silk ribbon with a satiny swirly pattern and that silk ribbon with a shiny swirly pattern.
If you have a free weekend, drop by Government House and take a look around. The building is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 11am to 4:30pm, and a tour guide can show you around at no cost. It's just south of the Royal Alberta Museum at 12845-102 Avenue. And afterwards you can visit the museum!
I'll post photos of the finished arrangements in the coming weeks. For images of other arrangements I created for Government House and the Government of Alberta, check back tomorrow.