In Memorium : The Floriographer on Sympathy Flowers and “Nanoo Nanoo”

I have been a little stuck on my blog as of late- all the change that I *thought* would be liberating and allow for more composition and construction has just would up leaving me tired and feeling without direction.
I guess 10 months of 70 hour work weeks *did* take a little toll- huh..well, lesson learned!
I have a whole list of seasonal lovelies that I want to show you pictures of and tell you stories about but this week I feel compelled to write about sympathy arrangements. I had an order for one from a client and it gave me cause and pause for a little rumination about the nature of my work and how deeply personal it can be.

We wanted the piece to be respectful, gracious and reflective of the loss but at the same time be a celebration of this mans life, it was a beautiful conversation and gave me the tools I needed to create a suitable piece.
In the midst of pulling containers and designing I read the news on Facebook that Robin Williams had made his exit and I was wrecked- I instantly started to cry and audibly muttered  “No,no,no,no” as I looked on Google to see if it was a hoax.
Much to my, and millions of other peoples dismay- it was not, it was true- it was true and it was terrible

All of this melded with my thoughts I have on creating sympathy work and I find this blog entry wanting to say so much more than the usual “heylookatwhatidocomeherebuythis”.

As a kid raised on Mork, Popeye and Garp ( my grandparents NEVER monitored what I watched on Cable, it still is one of my favorite movies)  and an angsty teenage artist who deeply, deeply connected with Dead Poets Society, this did not feel like a salacious Hollywood death.
This felt like the loss of a friend, a neighbor or an uncle- it felt personal. To have it revealed that he took his own life and have that pull the curtain on his pain and suffering, well- it just made me feel so sad for this poor man who brought so much to the world, so much that I gobbled up. It made me feel a little greedy and ashamed.

I am profoundly grateful for the amount that I got to enjoy his talent. I took myself to go see Dead Poets Society with the money from my first paycheck from my first job at Mikes Drive In. ( I also bought a bottle of LouLou perfume and the cassette single for “In Your Eyes” with John Cusack on the cardboard sleeve..it was a big day)  I was starting high school the next year and I walked away feeling so inspired and less alone- I bought books full of Whitman, Emerson and Thoreau and I scrawled their lines all over my PeeChees in calligraphy– all because of that movie. A year later in Denver on a hot summer night I watched it on cable and said “I want to be an actress.” it’s even written in the Childe Hassan day journal I bought at the Denver Art Museum earlier that week..that year I started a new school and well…the rest is history.
That movie changed my life, twice.

So thank you Mr. Williams, you gave a  sad 14 year old hope and passion with the “Carpe Diem” you introduced in to my life and I took to heart your urging to  “make your lives extraordinary” and for that O Captain, this 39 old thanks you.

 

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So, now we return to flowers- we will all face Death and loss in this lifetime and as a florist- I knew that a long with designing flowers for many of life’s great occasions, I would be called on to create work for the last big party, the “final bow” as I have come to call it ( in honor of the Eddie Vedder song “Man of The Hour” from Big Fish).

I have found it to be one of the sweeter parts of my work- I have had people say “oh isn’t it sad?” and yes, in a way – but it is also so very filled with love- in fact in some ways it is most love filled work I create. Memorial Flowers serve two purposes: to pay tribute to the person who passed and to give a beautiful gift to their loved ones. Of course nothing alleviates the pain but there is something to be said for things of beauty being a gift of grace and comfort while mourning.

I always design with the person in mind and I create with their story so significant flowers, colors, numbers, hobbies and interests are always welcome in the order. Because we are Spellbound we also use Floriography to include flowers that signify “Strength”, “Grace”, “Optimism”, “Peace”, “Remembrance” and “Lasting Love”.
One of the things often requested in memorial arrangements is living plants and flowers- the sentiment being that sending something that will wilt and die seems a little insensitive and it is important  to be as sensitive as possible when it comes to someone who has experienced a loss. I find designing with plants a little limiting so I have found a place in my design where cut flowers can intersect with re-plantable components.  it’s a way to gift gorgeous cut flowers and a gift that can live on because life goes on for the living….

Here are some examples of my work. If you are in need of significant flowers I urge you to give me a call and tell me a story, I will make you something thoughtful and lovely.

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