It was early 2010 and several adminstrators of the Green School: An Academy for Environmental Careers, a newly formed high school in Brooklyn, New York, were planning for its first graduating class. My daughter was among those who would be receiving her diploma and I had been very involved with the school from the day she chose it at a high school fair. In keeping with its mission of promoting sustainable living environments, the focus of its first commencement ceremony was to use as much in the way of recycled materials as possible to reduce its environmental impact. In addition, there was next to no budget so everything had to be done on the cheap. That’s where I entered the fray, volunteering to create the floral bouquets that were to adorn the very front of the auditorium stage. In retrospect, I have to wonder what I was thinking, given that I had no experience whatsoever creating flowers, arranging them or anything other than growing them in my own garden. Regardless, I climbed out of my comfort zone and dove into it.
The project was a large one involving countless hours of my time in researching floral arrangement and securing materials from anywhere and everywhere I could. Countless more hours were spent in designing, cutting, coloring, creating and arranging each flower and leaf by hand. The result was six large floral arrangements measuring approximately two and a half feet wide and nearly three feet tall from the topmost petal to the end of the trailing vines that draped down over the stage apron. I had never done anything to that large a scale, always preferring to do small works of art. By my standards at the time, the project was a remarkable success and I learned much in the process. You can see the bouquets in the photos below.
This was a turning point for me. If nothing else, the project taught me, among other things, that I really enjoyed making flowers.
Fast forward to Spring 2017. I took my new flower making skills back to the senior center where I was volunteering and created flower-making projects for my weekly crafts class. Instead of focusing on making bouquets, I used the flowers we made to decorate the center. In time, the flowers we made became larger so I decided to create a wall installation and festoon some of the walls with them. The members loved it. It was an opportunity for them to show off their work and to enjoy the ambience it created. That’s when I decided I would make flowers every spring and show them off in a large display. Here’s a video of that first installation.
In 2018 there was no spring floral display because of an accident I suffered so I revived it for 2019. At our weekly crafts class, the seniors created large flowers for display. In addition, I created some double sided floral ornaments to hang from the ceiling.
In addition to those that were salvaged from the previous installation, this year’s crop of flowers have turned into an impressive and very colorful display. At present they are crawling across walls, creeping over doors and greeting people as they enter the main activity/dining room and the office suite/ meeting room areas. In all, I individually placed over 125 flowers, over 200 leaves and vines and several dozen butterflies on the walls of the senior center. It is a riot of color wherever you look.
You can see a part of the 2019 installation in the video below.
I’ve come a long way from those graduation bouquets and it’s been a wonderful ride. Can’t wait to see where I’ll be going next.
Until next time…
“Crafting is messy. Embrace the chaos.” – Gitana the Creative Diva