Friday, September 23, 2016

How important are the flowers?

President Obama meeting with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq on Monday.CreditAl Drago/The New York Times


In a 20 September 2016 meeting between the Prime Minister of Israel, US President Obama and PM al-Abadi discuss world affairs over beautiful mounds of cymbidium orchids.  Flowers reach into all the corners of society, silent witness to conversations, discussions, decisions, good and bad; I wish they could speak to us, and share their accumulated wisdom...

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Creative Walk...

I live in a lovely place, directly west of the Teton Mountains, on the edge of the state of Wyoming, directly south of the Centennial Mountains of Montana, and east of the Sawtooth, and Lost River ranges. On a good day, I can have a vista of all of them, for sunrise, sunset, and rarely, the aurora borealis. Large, magnificent images inspire thoughts of creation on a grand scale. Whether looking at the Grand Teton from afar, or from the top of The Wall just above snowdrift lake, it is a marvelous mirror of the dynamics of formation and erosion.

On a particular day in the summer of 2010, I was compelled to witness dramatic vistas, one after the other, within a 24 hour period of time. We often see desert wildfires, or at least the smoke from them. But this particular day, with intense southwesterly winds, the sun setting in the west, and a massive buildup of exhaust from a lightning-caused fire on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory land, I tried to document the energy of the elements as they gathered in force, converging on the evening sky...


The bend of the grass and trees--wind in its fury, the fire-filled clouds, and the earth pushing the clouds of smoke up and away saturated the end of the day with run away energy.


Next morning, a strong thunderhead unleashed its fury, cleansing the sky, and challenged the sun for attention.


The sun, though obscured by the cloud, eventually won over the sky. All power comes from the sun, and the elements respond to its command.


In a primal pond, the same image is reflected, for all the bugs and larvae to ponder...

Even the simple surface of the canal exhibits the wrinkles of the wind, and the shadow of fire clouds.

Some of the most intriguing sights are underfoot--here a close-up of the dried pond earth reflects the image of greatness, with forms of mountain, plateau, and river--all in a space less than the half the size of my number 13.

No matter where we live, there are beauties bedecked in ripples and ridges. Sometimes just taking the time to peddle, paddle, and ponder inspires the creative flow of new ideas. I am blessed to have such a palate to paint from, the daily vistas, the drama of the elements, and the peace to calmly walk through them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Portland Rose Festival Grand Parade float design excursion

BYU IDAHO floral students and faculty get to play before the parade!


In June, for the past three years, BYU Idaho Floral Design students and faculty have travelled to Portland, Oregon, to help do the floral design work on floats for the Grand Floral Parade. It has been a great place to practice the training students receive, and we have been able to perform quite a service as specialized volunteers for the event. If there were no volunteers in Portland, there would be no parade. As it is, there is a small army of help that shows up. This year most of them were Mormon missionaries serving in the Portland Oregon area on a full-time 18 month or two year volunteer mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. There were dozens who showed up to help glue, pin, paint, stick, cut...
There are many other loyal volunteers from the greater Portland community who likewise give time to help make the event beautiful.

One of the rules about the parade floats is that all surfaces must be covered with plant materials. This requires some pretty detailed and creative use of seeds, bark, leaves, fruits--in fact just about anything that has the right texture or color ends up on a float.



These volunteers are covering the letters and surface of a sign with seeds. This sign alone took hours to complete.


Volunteers are detailing these signs for a float supporting the local Hispanic community


¿ What do poppy seeds and popcorn have in common...


with dried pineapple...


and candied mango?



Can you see where they were used? Notice the belly covered with ground dried red peppers.

Many of the volunteer time is spent on scaffolds, here several missionaries are covering leaves.


Volunteers pin fir branch tips onto a foam base. You can see the square container caged and ready to accept flowers in the left center of the photo.

And here is the same float nearly complete.


The dragon is spectacular already,


but look how much a few flowers can add.

These boots are made for walking, but the rose parade calls for ROSES!


and then a little more of the patriotic mix of colors.

Many flowers are placed in water pics to help them last and stay securely on the float.


Here they will give an illusion of waves of water.

This one is almost ready for the judges.


Every stem that is inserted in a cage on a float has to be glued in place, as well as inserted in floral foam. No that is not honey!


Here we are after days of work, we take a quick walk before the parade begins, after the floats have been driven a few miles over the freeway (we have to design for the wind), then we jump in the car and drive more than a dozen hours to get back home to Rexburg that night.


Thanks to the 2010 BYUI design crew, ready to head out.
We also send a team to the Pasadena Rose Parade to help with some of the much larger floats there. That will have to wait for another post...
...and, by the way, the floats we worked on won the top honors two years in a row!!!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

A little about our open house at BYU Idaho

The Bridal Bouquet Workshops 2010



One of the most enjoyable parts of our annual spring flower and bridal open house is the bridal bouquet workshop. We have three different workshop levels. Workshop A is for the beginners, and gives the student a chance to make a bouquet in a bouquet holder (lomey, oasis etc.). As it is usually the first time the student has made one, this bouquet will be simple; yet we try to have every bouquet different from the others, so the challenge is to come up with flowers that will open the door to a different look for each bouquet. There are about 20 or so in that workshop.




Workshop B is for those who have completed the first level, and are now challenged to design as a group, using the exact same materials, but each producing a bouquet that is completely different from the rest of the group. Groups usually consist of three students. They have to
agree on all the materials they use--everyone has to use everything, but not necessarily in the same proportion. This makes for a very interesting comparison of design skills and creativity.




Workshop C challenges the advanced students to create a more complex bridal bouquet using some type of armature or highly structural component such as a wire grid, then carry the bouquet around during the open house, and answer questions about the design as our visitors walk through the open house.





The creativity, the variety of materials, and the spontaneity are quite exciting.
More in another post about the open house itself.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

thueson shakespeare wedding

On the 10th of April, 2009, I was given the privilege of designing the fresh floral component of a great wedding event. My good friends, the Thuesons, asked me to help with the flowers for their daughter Katelan's wedding. The venue is the new Rexburg Idaho Henry's Fork Stake building.



In the foto above, the booktable, and in the fotos below, there are several views of the backdrop.








The main flowers used for this event are heliconias. I brought them in from Ecuador, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. The pincushion protea (Leucospermum) were from a grower in Ecuador. The orange Anthurium were grown in Trinidad. Following are some fotos of the centerpieces, cake etc.








and here are the bride and groom in front of the buffet piece.



the corner was dark when I was taking this shot, but you can spot the buffet in the corner





there are some fun details in the buffet piece, birds I found in the LA flower market, green cymbidium orchids from the Netherlands, the other cymbidiums are from the student greenhouses at the Cal Poly San Louis Obispo campus--I picked them up while we were on a student field trip there the week before the event. The green dendrobium sprays were from Tailand.


The beehive gingers are a special treat direct from Hawaii. In this large piece you can see the heliconias well too. The tall parrots are from Hawaii, the intermediate heights were from Ecuador, and the shorter ones were from Costa Rica. There is also some Chamaedorea cataractarum palm from Florida, and some boronia, added for fragrance.





Here is the groom's family!


and here is the Thueson immediate family. I missed the larger group picture. They are a great family!


I think that this large piece was the favorite one to do. It was a therapeutic experience, and brought much enjoyment to those who came to the wedding reception.


This was a blast to do, and the whole evening was pleasant. In the background, and around the room, I also placed a dozen live palm trees for added atmosphere. There were four each of Spindle, Majesty, and King palms.