Drawing straws

Last March at “Bouquets in Motion” the uber-creative workshops run by Master teachers Jane Godshalk and Cres Motzi, we learned to work with wires and straws.

As we tried to get the hang of it, I thought of using these lively materials for a judges’ exhibition class in “Shall We Dance”, a GCA flower show produced in October by the Rusticus Garden Club.  The class was titled “Jitterbug”!

In the workshop, Jane provided luscious materials for our designs – large phalenopsis orchids in a vibrant purple and lengths of fragrant jasmine vines.

These are the various annealed wires used to make the design’s structure.  The Y-shape is made from 4 short wires, tightly wrapped, divided into the two ‘arms’ and continuously wrapped.

A longer heavier wire is lined up against this form, and wrapped just as the Y was, making a longer open Y shape.

The long wire is covered by straws.  At the workshop, we used colorful plastic straws from IKEA.  The Rusticus Flower Show had strong black, white and red graphics. I searched for black and white straws online and found these paper ones on www.amazon.com.  It is easiest to bend them all first.

In assembly line fashion, from the pile of bent straws,  slip them over the wire at a right angle and staple.  I am using a florist stapler and stapling them as close to the fold as I can.

Straws, lots and lots of straws….the wire form is very pliable and can be bent into interesting lines. Once one section is stapled, I begin to think of the final shapes and their relationship.  The ‘stem’ end of the Y slides into dry foam or Oasis in a container.

To carry off the color theme red satin ribbon is wound in and out of the edge of the straws and held in place with glue dots (Michael’s Crafts).

Two black ceramic containers from Target (11”H & 9”H, available online) suggest two dance partners.  These hold two wire structures, with red satin ribbon winding in and out of the straws over which are lengths of white dendrobium orchid ‘leis’ strung on red wire.  Be sure the orchids are well hydrated so they will last.  I had mix results.

There are many wonderful decorative straws online which will create lots of jaunty ideas.  Coincidentally, the Rusticus GC’s judges’ lunch used the same straws in red and white!  Wouldn’t they be fun in a Christmas wreath, like striped candy canes.


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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