Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 in review — March:
Flowers for a big fat (fake) Indian wedding

2013 was such an amazing year for me — crazy, busy, wonderful, but I didn't really have enough time make it a priority to keep up with my little record-keeping here. So I've decided to sit myself down and write a few posts about what happened last year.

March was exciting with Bouquets to Art happening and me having the opportunity to help the awesome team of Chestnut & Vine with the big exhibition centerpiece. I've posted plenty about that when it happened, so I won't recycle it here.

Classes were well underway at that point; in fact, by mid March it was already time for Midterms. I had signed up for Intermediate Floral Design, Advanced Floral Design, Flower & Foliage ID and Care, and Ikebana, although I ended up dropping Ikebana half way into the semester because my class load was just a little more than I could handle.

The Advanced Floral Design class is also called "The Wedding Class", because it primarily covers bridal bouquets and designs for ceremony and reception decor. The midterm project was a group design, for which each team got to choose a wedding theme and then had to design all of the pieces to go with that theme. Our group chose a big, colorful Indian Wedding as our inspiration, and we had so much fun designing ceremony garlands, centerpieces, and all sorts of floral decorations for our imaginary Hindu wedding couple.

Our lovely team in front of our display right before the class critique. Every group got to set up their designs in the classroom, along with an inspiration board that described other elements of the wedding theme. 

We went with a bold, vibrant color scheme of orange and fuchsia, accented with lime green. Certainly nothing for the faint of heart, but so perfect for a festive Hindu wedding!

Barbara designed this beautiful chair or pew decoration with orange tulips and ranunculus and fuchsia anemones and nerines. I just love the bold, asymmetric design.

Not only did Julia create a gorgeously patterned pedestal for the wedding cake out of button mums and spray roses, she also baked and brought in a delicious chocolate cake for us to share!

Chelsea took on the centerpiece. The gold-painted Fiddleheads are such perfect accents to the overall theme. And wouldn't you just love to sit down and find this stunning napkin decor in front of you? Those speckled Vanda orchids are amazing.

I created this decorative floral panel to adorn the Welcome Table of our imaginary Indian wedding. The carving of Lord Ganesha rests on a low, Pavé-style design made out of carnations, ranunculus and hypericum berries.

Julia was in charge of crafting the traditional ceremony garlands worn by bride and groom. So beautiful!

We worked really well together as a team and just loved our bold, colorful designs. It's one of the great things about class that you can experiment sometimes with styles and designs that may not necessarily be in high demand or easy for you to sell to clients. This way, you can stretch a bit creatively and try something outside of your comfort zone.

So much for March, stay tuned for April!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 in review — February

2013 was such an amazing year for me — crazy, busy, wonderful, but I didn't really have enough time make it a priority to keep up with my little record-keeping here. So I've decided to sit myself down and write a few posts about what happened last year.

February had a couple fun social gatherings in stock. There was a Superbowl party at our friends' house, for which I made a football-themed floral centerpiece, and the hubby and I rekindled our love for homemade Southwestern Eggrolls (here's the recipe).

We celebrated a dear friend's birthday at Oakland's Jack London Square. I gave him birthday balloons that said "Happy Birthday" and "About 38 or so" (the guy at the party store who put the letters on the balloons just loved it). You won't see a picture of said balloons though, because I did not buy the little weight that you're supposed to tie the balloons to — I figured we're all adults and a grown man can hold on to a handful of balloons. Well... let's just say that the balloons got away, and next time you tie a bunch of balloons to a chair, make sure it's a good knot.

I got to volunteer at a fantastic floral design seminar with the team of Waterlily Pond in February, and boy am I happy I did. I have since worked several amazing events with them this past year, and am looking forward to more in 2014. Here's one of my favorite arrangements from the workshop, "Black Swan":

That was February, in a nutshell. Only ten more months to go!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 in review — January:
There is sunshine after the gray

2013 was such an amazing year for me — crazy, busy, wonderful, but I didn't really have enough time make it a priority to keep up with my little record-keeping here. So I've decided to sit myself down and write a few posts about what happened last year.

In January, I spent a week in Germany visiting my parents. It was seriously the darkest, grayest week of my life. And I'm not talking about my mood -- I had a great time and did lots of fun stuff with my folks. But, during the entire week I was there, I never saw the sun. It just barely comes up over the horizon that time of year anyway, but in January 2013, new records were broken and even at high noon everything felt dim. This was pretty much the color palette of my visit there:

So when I came back to California, and within days saw this growing on the side of the street, I was very, very relieved.

Poppies are one of my favorites. They remind me of my Mom's garden in the summer, we always had some grow around the pond. And it is one of the most amazing things to see how those beautiful, large, vibrant petals emerge from the small, green, fuzzy bud of the flower. They are all crinkled up for a while, like tissue paper that was stuffed in a box. I think it's amazing how nature figures these things out.

The rest of January was pretty uneventful. Stay tuned for February!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kitayama Brothers Gerbera Festival 2013

I attended my first ever floral competition this past weekend! I competed along with some of my fellow CCSF floristry students at the Kitayama Cup — a fun, not-too-serious competition these wonderful local growers hold for their annual Open House and Gerbera Festival.

We got to choose from an amazing selection of cut flowers and foliages, and had to create an arrangement and a mixed bouquet in 60 minutes. It sounds like a lot of time, but it flies by much faster than you think — not finishing in time was my biggest concern. But I did, and while my designs didn't place, I had so much fun and was just happy for the opportunity. (And honestly, proud of myself for not being a complete nervous wreck walking into it: I usually don't handle pressure very well, to put it mildly.)

This competition was a trial run for our CCSF Floral Design competition team, as we will be competing next week at the annual symposium of the American Institute of Floral Designers in Las Vegas. Almost a whole week packed with lectures, demonstrations, receptions and parties for all us flower geeks!

After the judging was done, the arrangements we made were auctioned off to the Open House visitors to benefit the Santa Cruz State Parks. Quickly seeing multiple bids for my designs was a great feeling, and I can now proudly say that I 'sold' my first floral creations. Onwards!

P.S. Many more pictures of the day and competition are on the Kitayama Brothers Facbook page.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Bouquets to Art 2013 Centerpiece

Every year for Bouquets to Art, one lucky floral designer is chosen to create the exhibition's centerpiece, which is typically a large scale floral installation in Wilsey Court, right in the heart of the de Young museum. This year, the committee chose Svenja Brotz from Chestnut & Vine for this project, and commissioned her to create a piece inspired by the Dutch Golden Age, to go with their current exhibition of Dutch paintings from the Mauritshuis, including the famous “Girl with the Pearl Earring.” Svenja created an amazing, 16-foot tall structure filled with the most beautiful yellow roses, gerberas, cymbidium orchids, anthuriums, football mums, carnations and craspedia, accented with gold-painted succulents. The piece featured a stunning solid slab of monkey pod wood on one side, and high-gloss polished metal on the other, and was a real show-stopper.

I had a wonderful opportunity to help Svenja and her team with this piece, and am still totally in awe about how smoothly it came together and how stunning it looked in the space. Below are a few pictures from the installation, and the de Young created this cool time-lapse video of the construction process.

The 16-foot tall golden column really stood out in the restrained architecture of the de Young's central foyer, and created a focal point opposite Gerhard Richter's huge black-and-white mural “Strontium.”

During the opening gala, the piece was artfully illuminated and glowed like a beacon of yellow golden light. It also cast really interesting-looking shadows on the museum foyer's dark floor.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to help out with this breathtaking arrangement, and watching visitors marvel at it on numerous occasions throughout the week was just too fun. Have a good week, everybody — perhaps think about your own larger-than-life creative ambitions!
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