Learning New Tricks: Floral Arranging
I’ve always aspired to be one of those effortlessly creative people with an eye for design and color. Sadly, those things just don’t come easily to me; choosing paint colors for the walls in my house was a spectacular trial-and-error affair. Believe me when I tell you Benjamin Moore’s Incense Stick is too dark for your living room walls–even if the room is huge, wall space is minimal, and the room is drenched in sunlight for most of the day.
Because of my wont of an artistic eye, it was with some trepidation that I agreed to join a friend at a floral arranging class offered in Hoboken through a social website. Spending time with Jen always promises entertainment (or danger)–another recent outing together culminated with me fainting dead away at Shea Stadium (Yeah, yeah, City Field. Whatever.) and being rushed to the stadium’s ER via wheelchair.
Jen’s motivation for taking this class had something to do with her recent engagement; I think she envisioned coming away with the skills necessary to whip up her bridal (and bridal party) bouquets and centerpieces. The main thing we learned in class is when it comes to wedding flowers beyond a fistful of daisies, hire a professional.
The instructor doled out little plastic containers and instructed us to run two strips of double sided carpet tape around the circumference, spaced two inches from each other. We then grabbed branches of magnolia and stripped the leaves to use as covering for our containers. Using the tape, and later raffia, we affixed leaves–shiny side face down–to the container.
Next, we were instructed to take three or four stems of various flowers and greens–roses, hydrangea, some type of kale, berries–and strip them of leaves and thorns. Our instructor, who worked for many years in Europe, then attempted to impart to us the French Spiral method of arranging flowers. This method is the one favored by Martha Stewart and many crafty people the world over.
If done correctly, flowers arranged in the French Spiral will stand upright on a table (and later in a vase or bowl). This style of arranging is sometimes used for bouquets, too. Sadly, this method was a bit tricky to master as it involves using two hands to literally turn the flowers, all while adding new flowers and making sure the bouquet is aesthetically pleasing. Too much pressure for yours truly!
We enlisted the help of one of the instructor’s assistants, and he took pity on our attempts. He worked with both of us to more evenly distribute the flowers and to tighten up our spirals. In the end, mine was actually pretty and is still sitting on my kitchen table in fair condition 10 days later. (I think my flowers didn’t wilt because it’s 58 degrees inside my house.)