Monday, March 23, 2009

Some like it hot. Pink.


The colour saturation in the last post's tulips really stayed with me, inspiring me to dedicate this post to several pink arrangements I've done.

Above, is a deep, deep pink magnolia that recently came in. I love how the blush of the petals contrasts with the yellow and green of the stigma, the central part of the flower. It's not so evident in this picture, but that stigma has dark lavender shading to it that adds a lot of tonal depth, and the petals in have a really subtle deep tangerine flush towards the outer edges of the petals—it's really quite lovely.


Here is an arrangement I put together recently. The vase is a 10" tall martini glass. Simple and elegant, a vessel like this works with many compositions of floral arrangement, and is best suited to more contemporary or modern styles. For this composition, I chose magnolia, burgundy roses, calla lilies, spider orchids, a variety of grasses, curly willow, phalaenopsis leaves, agave cactus and sedum.

Sometimes when putting together an arrangement, I'll get asked, "Which flower/leaf/branch do you start with?" The short answer is: it depends. When I'm working on a floral, I like to focus my thoughts on what is most important to me, as the designer, for that particular floral. Maybe I've just discovered a seductive rose and I'd like to show it off. Or maybe I'd like to create a floral with a lot of movement. Perhaps I'd like to make something ikebana inspired, so the quality of line will be my focus. I go with my instinct and begin with what feels the coolest, most beautiful, most joyful to begin with. Sometimes the first flower I pick up is the one I start with. Other times, I'll hold a few different ones up to the vase to see which one speaks to me.

In this case, I wanted two things when I started:
  1. To create a sexy arrangement with a lot of vibrancy and movement.
  2. To show off a really beautiful magnolia flower that was, in fact, the genesis for the arrangement's colour scheme.
I began by placing the calla lilies and the spider orchids at angles, arching away from the central axis implied by the martini stem, to determine the lines of the arrangement and establish that sense of movement, like a burst of colour ready to explode. Then, I placed the magnolia (and on the other side, the agave) in a central position, but facing at an angle, so as not to feel "plopped" in the middle of the arrangement. The magnolia and agave also give the eye a place to rest as it travels across the arc of the spider orchids to the complementary arc of the calla lilies. The grasses and phalaenopsis leaves went in next, filling in the visual space between the two arcs with colour contrast and contributing to that sense of explosion. Then, the roses were placed amidst the grasses, magnolia and agave. They create a nice textural contrast to the spikiness of all the other floral elements in the arrangement, and add a sense of inner depth and even mystery. The curly willow was a last minute addition. The arrangement needed something more directly vertical to reestablish the line of the martini stem.

The hot pinks and deep burgundies contribute most explicitly to the sexy look I was after. But from the fine spikiness of the grasses to the heavier spikiness of the agave, and the velvety softness of the roses to the smooth curvature of the magnolia, the range of textural contrasts adds a very sensuous "touch me" aspect.


Here is a view from the rear, showing the agave cactus in the centre, the roses on the left and the spider orchids on the right.

And now, a few more pink arrangements to round out tonight's post:


This one, in a large glass hurricane, features peonies, tulips, heliconia, lilies, magnolia, roses, gladiola and a leaf branch whose name escapes me at this moment. To hide the stems, I placed a smaller cylindrical vase on a block of foam inside the hurricane and stuffed the space between the vase and the hurricane with sheet moss.


Ah, roses. I have a weakness for domes of roses. Such a simple design, and yet so stunning. It was surprisingly difficult to pack all those stems into the tall vase. I'd started it as a hand-tie, adding roses and resting the bouquet on my work table as I progressed, but it eventually got too big to hold in one hand, and I had to stick what I had into the vase and content myself with coaxing more roses into the gaps. Preston Bailey would've worked with a dome of foam (rhyme!) on a platform or dish resting on top of the vase, with some crytals dangling underneath. When doing temporary displays, however, it's just not feasible to cut the stems of all those flowers.


This is an arrangement I put together as a proposal for a wedding centrepiece. The couple was getting married in the winter and wanted lots of reds and browns in the colour scheme. I felt the Japanese maple branches added a delicate, even lyrical quality to the arrangement, and give it a sense of size without adding much cost, or potentially obstructing the views of the guests. The feathery stuff in the lower left is amaranthus, and in the centre is a pink peony.


Here is another view of the arrangement, showing a peach peony and some deep pink (almost red) ranunculi.

I got a call from my friend Ryan today. It's a singular pleasure talking to him. He works in speech pathology, but got an English degree in his undergrad and he employs a refreshing precision in his language that inspires me to read and express myself more eloquently! It's easy, designing alone in the studio, to fall out of practice at conversation. I find myself saying "thingy" and "stuff" a bit too much these days. Perhaps this blog will help change that.

Let's add another one to the blog roll and sign off. Who wouldn't want to be Habitually Chic?

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