What inspires your bouquet-making? The changing palette of flowers and foliage outside our doors is a constant spur to pick and arrange, but sometimes we need a nudge from store bought flowers or a neighbor's garden to kick-start creativity....to keep ourselves interested and our work fresh.
Last weekend I started with a couple of big bunches of solid yellow sunflowers from Trader Joe's ($5.99 a bunch) chosen because they so perfectly match my favorite Le Creuset pitcher, and because they were large, bold, and inexpensive, important ingredients for a bouquet I planned to make for an art opening in Langley.
Here they are on their own in the yellow pitcher, combined with some flowers from the garden in a kitchen still-life.
The next morning, I went out clippers in hand to find fragrance, color contrast, and some airier foliage and flowers to combine in a big bouquet for Museo Gallery's September opening party.
It's all about the yin and yang of playing off the strongest element in a bouquet, adding some fluff and fragrance...I'd spotted some intensely violet, seriously ruffled dahlias in a neighbor's garden the night before, and asked if I could pick a few. I added tall, skinny Verbena bonariensis, an artichoke, rudbeckia, spent green flower pods, burgundy fountain grass, and flat-topped golden achillea to the mix. And tall, curvy white wands of honey-scented Cimicifuga 'Brunette'. I think gathering the raw materials is my favorite part of the process.
This is certainly the best moment, when everything is cut and waiting. All is potential and possibility....just be prepared for editing, discarding, making a mess, trying again, discarding, more editing, and plenty of waste. A cup of tea, a broom, dustpan and good music help.
Here's the final bouquet in place at Museo.You need a really heavy vase to hold and balance out the weight, both actually and visually, of the fat dahlias and thick-stemmed sunflowers.
The painting is one of LIsa Snow Lady's scenes of architecture and landscape in Langley and around Puget Sound. Her mastery of light is so beautiful...sunlight falling on old buildings and gardens....her work is complimented (speaking of yin and yang) by organically shaped and brilliantly colored glass vessels by Takuya Tokizawa - and yes, some would work beautifully as vases. The show continues through September...it'll be lucky if the flowers last 'til Thursday...