It was such fun to put together the program for the Walters Art Museum – Art Blooms (see last post, Archives). Just as other artists often revisit their subjects and rework the themes (think Monet’s haystacks), we floral designers often take a design and rework it in a different form. These re-workings allow some creative thinking to piggyback on an interesting design.
Remember “Supercalifgragilisticexpealidocious”? Several people in the audience came on stage and showed me photographs of it on their phones! So sweet! On my initial viewing of the stage, it looked huge. I thought perhaps some ‘stage décor’ might liven things up. The stage décor I was thinking of was from the design above which I had just removed from Philadelphia.
I didn’t bring home the whole fence but only the rear column, cutting off the rest of the wired screening before I left. And presciently, I did keep the purple willow structure and the dried allium and willow balls.
Of course I thought it would be simple to just add a little more willow around the back of the column. Wrong. In the end, I made a collar of chicken wire to act as a kind of frame for the willow. This way the willow component would slip on and off over the column. I deconstructed the original shape into four sections piecing it with additional willow, using cable ties (bright red above). Once it was set, the willow came off and got another a coat of Rust-Oleum Ultra-cover 2X spray in glossy grape.
I haven’t one photograph of this onstage that isn’t invaded by something else but you can see how the alliums and willow carry the design down the rather totem-like pole. Again I used lime anthurium, purple dendorobium orchids, hot pink phalenopsis orchids and some large philodendron leaves. All the materials were luscious and beautifully fresh from Potomac Wholesale. I think the effect of the vertical design is completely different. Of course the setting and lighting are different too.
“The Hemicycle”, 1841 by Paul Delaroche, is a long narrow historical portrait of 75 of the great artists of all ages, standing in groups in a mural in the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. The creams and whites of the architecture set off the multicolored robes of these worthies. The three, less-clothed(!) gentlemen in the center on thrones are the architect Phidias, the sculptor Ictinus , and the painter Apelles, creators of the Parthenon. The Walters has a copy of this mural. In my interpretation of this painting, I chose what appealed to me the most – the undulating waves of jewel-like color of the robes. In the detail above, the colors are not as brilliant as the original. I also chose to design vertically.
I tore strips of brightly colored artists’ papers in pink, cerise, yellow, orange, blue, green and purple. Tearing the strips against a metal ruler creates a hand-made wavy fibrous edge, softer than with a scissor.
As this design was going to be displayed at the Donor’s Party the evening before the program, I finished it completely front and back and packed it up. The ‘mulch’ in the container is twisted yarns. Moss is not allowed in the museum.
When it was installed in the gallery, I added the Gloriosa lilies in groups of three, front and back. They were inserted into test tubes covered with the same colorful looped paper and attached with decorative wire, which is meant to be seen. Brilliant golden yellow goat wool yarn was threaded through. This won’t smell or shrink if it gets wet. Also wires decorated with yarns in hot pink and emerald green were threaded through the papers. These wires are found at Michael’s Crafts. This was my favorite piece. It becomes a sculpture on its own once the flowers fade.
A huge thank you to everyone at The Walters for such a delightful event. It was a privilege to be the speaker. Thank you, Eric, for making the DVD of my program. Now I just have to have the courage to look at it! Congratulations to TheWomen’s Committee for 24 years of Art Blooms.