As a florist/floral designer of 38 years experience, i have often
had to meet challenges large and small. Most are mundane, involving logistics of time and budget, and some are more educational in teaching someone the realities of floral procurement and care, but this current one is something that really got my juices flowing! A truly creative endeavour, i don’t have to worry if it has to match someone’s decor, fits in a Bridezilla’s vision of the Perfect Wedding with 5 foot floral swans on a budget of $700.00, or any elder’s expectation that i should be able to just go out in the garden in January in Alberta and pick 14 supreme specimens of pink with lime edges roses (and do an arrangement for $25 with them).
The ffFlower Mine(s) is participating in a group business promotional day mid March, with photographers, videographers, body painters, body painted models and obviously us, the floral designers.
For the record, where i work is not called the fffFlower Mines: it’s just always been a descriptor of my day job—“dainty, clean, easy and stress free, giggle, giggle, teehee” it ain’t, as any floral designer will tell you if they are honest. It is however a creative job involving a lot more than merely throwing a bunch of flowers in a vase, with line, colour, shape, texture, spatial characteristics, mood, time, art and science all coming into play. I am always reminded of a scene in “Little Shop of Horrors”, Audrey tossing some white callas in a vase and sprinkling them with black glitter, for a funeral “arrangement”—GAH. Let’s not go any further!
As with any industry, the jargon changes, especially now with the “Millennials”, the “cool people” and social media. We don’t make corsages, wristlets, hair bands anymore: we make “Floral Body Jewellry”. So, in accordance with what 2 of the body painters are doing, i had to come up with 2 different styles/renditions of flowers that their particular models could wear. Since the flowers cannot be done AT the time, they have to be pre-made–as are MOST flower works. I worked up some sketches, submitted them for the final “approval”–hell, you’ll get what you get, within the parameters, because i’m the Artiste and this is my part of the Gig :)–and then had to think of the logistics in creating them. Firstly, flower knowledge aside, they have to FIT and stay on a naked body.
The first is an Alice in Wonderland theme, the Disney movie feel, not the classic or the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp versions. (Although it’s a pretty sexy version here!)
As i ran through the check list of what is needed for this one, i realized it would be just as easy to make those cards. More cool-ness 🙂 I also have to fashion the “fascinator” from some black tulle to attach two colours of rose to –i’ll be using Freedoms which are a deep red, and either Baccara or Black Magic which are a deep red with a black tinge to them. THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS BLACK ROSES! Forgot to add to the sketch that there will be some Pieris blooms as well.
The second is Asian themed.
When i was speaking to the body painters, we had to take into consideration the hair styles of the models as well. The first above would be easy to fit to whatever the stylist did, the second had me thinking that if we were using the hackneyed chopsticks through the hair bun (sorry, i know they aren’t actually chopsticks, and yes it’s a pretty look if done authentically, but it is a bit of a cliche you must admit….), we might as well go a bit structural, hence the horsetail (Equisetum, a dyer’s fave 🙂 ). It also gives the flavour of bamboo.
How am i to create these a day ahead without an actual body and knowing the size of various body bits? Press Madame LaToussa into service:
No doubt, this will be quite a conversation starter on a morning train, as i take her upper half and one arm to work to be my fitting model! Madame LaToussa has had a long and interesting life–from the 70’s, she was the “natural coloured” model in a flower shop window for many years for wedding work, and when the shop downsized in the early 90’s, they offered her to me. (To that point, she was snarkily referred to as “The Bitch”, as she was a pain to take apart, dress, put back together and move. Greyman named her when we met, a brain fart of some sort due to the aphasia he was suffering at the time, after a serious head injury. He still doesn’t know what he actually meant, but the moniker stuck.). A coat of black paint that has started chipping off now, due to her travels to Bowen Island BC, the Sunshine Coast BC, Edmonton AB, back to BC, and finally to Calgary! On her maiden voyage to my home, she was laid down in the back of a pick up truck, and we were stopped on the Upper Levels Highway in West Vancouver by the local constabulary who wanted to fine us and the “unsafe rider” in the back–he was even less amused when he realized the passenger was a mannequin.
The flowers have been ordered from the wholesaler, and on the 11th, i’ll be making the actual “Floral Body Jewellry”. Stay tuned.